Amid his work as an innovator in the fields of art and science, Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance man, once famously observed, “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes.” Although da Vinci spoke these words more than 500 years ago, at the dawn of modern history, the sentiment shows a fully present mind and a deep respect for the natural ways of the world, two traits that were alive and well when whiskey was first documented in 1494. It just so happens that this appreciation is having a renaissance in the world of whiskey today, with a new class of modern makers reviving the spark of creativity and curiosity that is at the heart of this spirit.
Since the early days of commercial production at distilleries, the categories of whiskey have been strictly regulated. Irish, scotch, bourbon, rye . . . four behemoth styles that bear centuries of rich culture and properly respected formulas. But with an overwhelming amount of variables at play and an eager and increasingly savvy thirst from the public, it stands to reason that, eventually, tradition-tinkerers would challenge the staid boundaries of whiskey and set out for a “new world.”
Unique grain blends, newly imagined aging processes, and creative flavorings are just a few of the trends we’ve been seeing throughout the “New” American whiskey movement in the US. Due to such imagination and variety, it doesn’t quite neatly pack into one consistent category, but it does make an ideal centerpiece for the forward-thinking recipes in our New Frontiers Box.
Join us on this expedition of cocktails and your “New” American whiskey will flow like Leonardo’s local Italian waterway—with a respectful nod to pioneers past and an inspired, adventurous eye to the future! Subscribe now through February 29th to get yours—it’ll ship the week of March 2nd.
Much like the organisms that are able to draw moisture from the air for hydration, a process exists in the cocktail world that too relies on absorption—the melding magic of sugar and citrus peels called an oleo saccharum. The version pulsing through Andrew Olsen and Ryan Maybee’s Hygroscopy ’til You Droppy gets its fruit flavor from grapefruit and blood orange and pitches in plenty of bitter and sweet complexity as part of a winter cordial. Add whiskey, top it off with a dousing of ginger beer, and get set for a very refreshing cooler of a cocktail.
After honorably serving in the US Marine Corps., Andrew became beverage director for Jacob Rieger & Company, a distillery in Kansas City. Andrew’s wealth of knowledge and experience have come from working not only at various restaurants and bars but also for multiple spirits brands and portfolios.
Ryan is a certified sommelier, a certified specialist of wine from the Society of Wine Educators, and, in 2012, became the first person to complete the Bar Master Certification from Beverage Alcohol Resource in NYC. The following year he partnered with Andy Rieger to revive Jacob Rieger & Company.
During a productive four-month jaunt from Texas all the way through the Pacific Northwest, Chelsea Santos made lasting memories with her fiancé and intensified her love of the great outdoors. There was also the added bonus of having collected a diverse group of flavor inspirations along the way, many of which are brilliantly on display in her Fibonacci on the Fritz. From the campfire-ready warmth of apple, cardamom, smoked maple, and walnut bitters to the sunny duo of fresh lemon and orange, this cocktail sees whiskey playing host to a sequence of tastes that cover a lot of terrain.
Chelsea is a bartender at San Antonio’s Hotel Emma. When she’s not out exploring nature, her favorite things to do behind the bar are pairing unlikely flavors together and getting guests to try something new!
The neighbors might not be pleased, because Greg Mayer is turning it up with the Crank It to 11, an old fashioned that takes the rock of whiskey and adds in the roll of smooth cherry flavor. With its combination of black cherry syrup, cherry bark vanilla bitters, and hickory smoke, the cocktail’s supporting ingredients mirror some of whiskey’s traditionally most oft-detected tasting notes. Light it up and take in a truly loud and proud side of the spirit!
Greg began his career in the hospitality industry working in kitchens as a line cook and transitioned to roles behind the bars of many hot spots nationwide. Now based in NYC, he’s the National Brand Ambassador for LHK Spirits and in-house cocktail counsel for Shaker & Spoon.
Let your taste buds do the adventuring next month as you stick close to your home bar with a “New” American whiskey. It won’t be long now until extraordinary cocktails are poured and New Frontiers are explored!
The Shaker & Spoon Team
*not vegan: Cock’n Bull Ginger Beer