Bourbon, brandy, and whiskey–a few of the so-called “brown liquors”–are enjoying a surge in popularity. Although those new to the cocktail scene may forgo bourbon in favour of vodka, this dry and spicy spirit is more versatile than you may think.
Matt Bryan, mixologist for the McEwan Group and head bartender at Bymark (66 Wellington St. West; Toronto, ON; (416) 777-1144), was our guide through the world of bourbon during the newly-launched Liquid Lab series. As he explained, in order to wear the designation, the liquor must include corn (at least 51%), rye or wheat, malted barely, and water. It must also be aged for at least two years in a new, white American oak cast–used only once.
He then took us through an interactive tutorial on making the three bourbon cocktails listed here. Easy to assemble and to pair with the complementary dishes (spicy shrimp; creamy deviled quail eggs; a variation on the famous Bymark burger), it was a wonderful introduction to America’s native spirit.
The Old Fashioned
The classic bourbon cocktail, traditionally stirred with a spoon and served with it.
A strong sipping cocktail, this is one that looks innocent but packs a mighty punch.
A newer bourbon cocktail created by mixologist Sam Ross while listening to (what else?) M.I.A.’s hit song, ‘Paper Planes.’ A good choice for those who prefer a lighter, sweeter drink.