I thought a good entrée into the new spirit tasting series for Drink Up Columbus would be a spirit that is itself a good entrée into the world of spirits… and yet is not even a “spirit,” per se. I’m talking about Wild Turkey’s American Honey. Now, in a world full ultra-rare spirits packaged in a Baccarat crystal decanter and older than the “dog ate my homework” excuse, my decision to kick off the series with this particular liqueur might seem odd; however I think there is something very special going on with this whole new family of spirit-based liqueurs that are making “real” spirits accessible to legions of new whiskey drinkers.
Packaged simply in an unremarkable bottle, American Honey is an attractive light caramel color. While pouring one gets a slight hint of citrus on the nose.
Upon tasting the immediate sensation one gets is a silky mouth-feel that stops well short of being syrupy. That feel gives way almost instantly to a powerful rush of whiskey flavor that dominates your mouth without that alcohol heavy burn that keeps many people from enjoying whiskies in the first place. The honey that sweetens this liqueur stay in the background, serving to mellow the burn while accentuating that beautiful bourbon taste that can only come from some time in oak. The aforementioned strong whiskey note tapers off, giving hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Perfectly acceptable for after dinner, it is right at home on the rocks or as the core ingredient when desiring cocktails that don’t take themselves too seriously, while not taking themselves too lightly either.
To date I have introduced this liqueur to seven friends or family members, none of them whiskey drinkers. Without exception, each one of them now drinks American Honey regularly.
While many of the spirits coming up in this series will be harder to find, Wild Turkey’s American Honey is available almost anywhere in Columbus with a liquor license.
3 oz. Wild Turkey American Honey
6 oz. Grapefruit Juice
2 dash(es) Angostura Bitters
1 sprig(s) Rosemary
Combine American Honey, grapefruit juice and bitters in a tumbler with ice and stir. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Creative commons photo credit: mecookie