Four Roses Kentucky bourbon available in the U.S.
Yes, that sounds odd but it is the truth. For an explanation, and a further background on Four Roses, please read my two prior articles: Four Roses Bourbon: Back in the U.S.A. and Four Roses Bourbon: A Unique Distillery. I've previously visited the distillery as well as met Jim Rutledge, their Master Distiller. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and drink with Al Young, their brand ambassador, historian and archivist at a media luncheon at jm Curley. We enjoyed a bourbon cocktail and four bourbons, including the Yellow Label, Small Batch and two different Single Barrel offerings. All were worthy bourbons.
Four Roses has produced about 100,000 cases so far this year, with three more months to go, which is better than last year's case production of about 82,000. They still do not use any GMO corn, sourcing their corn from southern Indiana. They also obtain their rye from Denmark and malt from Minnesota. Looking toward the future, one of their big questions is whether rye whiskey is a fad or not. To get involved in producing rye, it would take an investment of at least seven years, so it would be a risk however Al believes rye is likely here to stay.
The Four Roses Yellow Label is excellent for cocktails and Al looks for a cocktail "..where you don't lose the whiskey." I fully agree with that sentiment, that in a good cocktail you still should get the flavor of the alcohol, like whiskey. It is easy to mask the whiskey but then you could have used any type of alcohol in such a cocktail. Instead, find flavors to complement or contrast with the whiskey, rather than try to conceal it.
jm Curley, located on Temple Place. Previously, I have heard much positive feedback about this restaurant and bar, and just somehow never found my way down there. However, after my luncheon, I am going to make sure to return again soon as I enjoyed a very pleasant experience there. Though many might see it as primarily as a bar, it certainly doesn't give short shrift to its food.
Their lunch menu is small, including only two salads, three sandwiches and two sides. The salad/sandwiches are priced $7-$10 and the sides are $2-$2.50. The dinner menu is larger, with their four main entrees priced $14-$22. There is a bit of a Southern flair to some of the dishes.
Before lunch, we started off with a version of a Scofflaw cocktail, prepared by Kevin Mabry, the Bar Manager at jm Curley. The cocktail used the Four Roses Yellow Label, a Spanish Cava, dry vermouth, and some pomegranate juice. It was served from a punch bowl, didn't hide the taste of the bourbon and wasn't overly sweet. It is the type of cocktail that probably would be very popular during a holiday party.
We ended our lunch with a tasting of jm Curley's special Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. They designed their own bourbon recipe for a personal barrel and it was 123 proof! Though that sounds intimidating, the bourbon comes across as very balanced, and you wouldn't guess the alcohol content from the taste. It is no where near as hot as you would expect, coming across instead as a smooth and spicy bourbon, an impressive spirit that you need to try on your next trip to jm Curley.
Check out Four Roses Bourbon at your local liquor stores and bars, and also check out jm Curley, for lunch, dinner or drinks. Maybe I will see you there.