Skip to main content

Vintage Spirits

Calabrese and his vintage magic...
There is an interesting article in the New York Times about vintage spirit [click the link]. And as usual in the Times, the article is quite good researched and accurate.

It is true - that current wisdom says, that spirits don't change in the bottle - but truth is: distillates are changing in the bottle - however much, much slower than wine.

However there was one major mistake: the inclusion of Chartreuse and Crème de Menthe.


Fact is, that distilled beverages are changing so slow [or better said, they are so stable], due to the lack of decomposing material. There is ethanol and water - and very small amounts of other substances - which usually a carrying the aroma. However liqueurs have sugar and cold infused substances [means that the botanicals are infused in the alcohol without subsequent distillation]. There is definitely more matter in these beverages than a bottle of gin or whisky.

But is it worth it, to pay sometimes hundred of thalers for cocktail made out of these beverages?

I believe, that there will be differences in the result - however these differences are subtle. Most spirits were never as good as today -  considering it qualitative a cocktail will objectively be better with modern spirits.

However there is always a fact, that [hidden from all marketing efforts of the spirit industry] neutral grain spirit became chemically much more pure in the last couple of decades. The notion, that 50 years old gin is maltier than modern gin of the same brand, can be easily explained with this fact.

There is also another thing: the converting of starches! I don't really have a proof - but I presume, that until the middle of the last century, grain spirits used barley amylases [out of barley malt] to "sugarize" the starches - I guess nowadays most of the amylases are delivered by the bio-tech industry [that means no more malty hints in beverages which use neutral grain spirit].

Paying hundreds of pounds for a vintage cocktail, which might be not even authentically vintage [usually the different ingredients are not coming from one specific era] is in my eyes quite absurd.

But it seems like a trend. I leave it to you, my dear readers, to make your own opinions - please don't forget to post it...



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to use citric acid - and why you might not want to use it anyway!

To be honest, I shied away of this topic, because I think, people can misinterpret this - big time.


I don't want to be part of the problem - I want to be part of the solution! But when Chris, over at A Bar Above discussed this subject- I literally could not resist to join into "the discussion".

Here is the video:





I - however take a bit slower approach than Chris.
What is citric acid?
Chemical Compound
Citric acid is a weak organic acid with the formula C6H8O7. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and drinks.
Wikipedia Formula: C6H8O7
Molar Mass: 192.124 g/mol
Melting Point: 153C
Density: 1.66 g/cm3
Boiling point: 175C
Soluble in: Water
Why is it controversial?
In my "mixology world" it is controversial, as citric acid is the stuff, which makes the nightmarish sour mix [preferably in powder form] sour. Yeah - citric acid is the main ingredient in one of the most controversial [and in the modern craft bartending wor…

Is Jack Daniel's a Bourbon Whiskey?

So Jack Daniels want to make us believe, that it is not a bourbon - but it meets all standards of a bourbon - only it is better?!

Half of it is true: Jack Daniels meets all qualification points for a bourbon. And yes it is true, that they add one more step - the charcoal mellowing. However this doesn't make it not a bourbon.

Well - point is, that the question is not really adequate. The answers to the rather vague question: "Is Jack Daniels a Bourbon?" is driven by semantics and interpretations.

What you could ask is: Can Jack Daniels rightly be called bourbon?
And the answer is: yes, it can. It meets all points to be even a Straight Bourbon [however please note the differentiation to Kentucky Straight Bourbon - as this is again a regional denomination, which Jack Daniels obviously doesn't meet].
The video is explaining exactly the laws. Before Jack Daniels also stated very proud, that they are sour mash. This was a bit... misleading, as most American Straight Whisk…

Secrets of Darcy - this is the best way to create sugar syrup

I am a "rich syrup guy"... not a "simple syrup guy".
This is, because it is better to be able to control dilution by yourself - not by he setup you have got.

I had also a pretty straight forward method: adding 1 kg sugar into 1/2 liter of cold water and blend until dissolved (be carefully, not to blend too long with a high-performance blender, because it would heat up).

The issue here: it takes some time - because sugar doesn't "like" to dissolve in cold liquid.

A lot of bartenders are adding sugar into hot liquid. This isn't a good idea either: due to hydrolysis the sucrose is converting into fructose and glucose. This makes the sugar thicker and sweeter - but also makes the result less consistent (as you don't meticulously monitor all details (time, temperature, pH, etc.). Further the thickness of the glucose worsen the ability of the syrup to mix in cold liquid (speak a cocktail).

Darcy, of artofdrink.com has a profound chemistry insight a…