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Episode 52 with Lynn House

by Doug Radkey & David Klemt
October 12th 2021
00:49:28
Description

Lynn House, national spirits specialist and portfolio mixologist for Heaven Hill, drops by Bar Hacks to speak with host David Klemt about the second annual More

Welcome to the bar hacks podcast, engaging interviews plus tips and strategies to navigate your bar or restaurant business towards sustainable success. Now here's your host hospitality industry, veteran journalist and editor. David clamped Hey, welcome back to the bar hacks podcast. We have a very fun and informative one for you today. We have lin house from Heaven Hills and she is the national spirit specialist and portfolio mixologist. How's it going? I nailed it. I didn't even get your title wrong. You totally nailed it. Thanks. Yeah, things are great. Uh, it's, I live in Chicago. So it's like fall ish. So we're still getting some warm weather cool at night, which is like perfect for sleeping, harvesting, canning, Not traveling, which is the hardest part right now. I normally travel 38-40 weeks out of the year and I've only traveled one week out of the last 22 months.

So it sounds like you're keeping busy though. You said canning and harvesting personally. I'm keeping very busy and I have to also say professionally I'm keeping very busy. I mean we've all transitioned into this like new virtual world and I think going forward, we're going to see kind of a hybrid between what we did in person and what we're doing virtually. But you know, I can be in, you know, even us scheduling today, I'm like, what time zone is David? It's like, like I could be in four time zones in a day and do a multitude events, which I actually couldn't do when I was just exclusively traveling to one market. So I'm staying very, very, very busy actually. I think surprisingly more busy than I ever anticipated, making your role changing a little bit as far as how the pandemic has influenced it. Tell us about your journey to your current role with having help. Uh it's been a long journey. I started working in the beverage industry just putting my way through college back during the eighties and I literally works that cheesy high volume bar where it was just long island sts and Really ridiculous shots like 151 set on fire and Blue Hawaiians.

And I worked there for three years. I mean it was great because I could attend classes, I was a theater major, so it gave me time for rehearsals, when is the show? And during my free time I could just work because of restaurants like 24, so that's where I started in the industry and I always tell people that I kind of met my people, it's like the priesthood in a sense where you're like, this is a calling. I got to hang out with like the craziest individuals of Miami University in this bar who we just, we were night crawlers. We, we didn't like cubicles, we didn't like necessarily constrained way of life and that was my first bite into the beverage industry. Um, my degree is in theater, so I was a professional actor, which meant that I spent most of my life as a professional bartender and waiter because that's what you do in between acting gigs and I had some really great acting gigs but a gig would end and I'm like I have to go back and make money and I always go back to the bar and restaurant industry.

Um I would start to kind of age out of the category that was getting me a lot of roles which meant I bar tended and waited tables smart. I would also have a pretty significant bar injury, I shook my tendon off so it's tennis elbow, but we can do it as bartenders as well. And um I bar tended for about seven months in a soft cast and it was very painful but you have to pay the bills of like I have to figure out the next level. And at that moment Heaven Hill was creating a brand new position and it was national brand educator for Palm A which is a pomegranate. Look forward that they make and very rarely do you get an opportunity to have your starting position with a company as a national position. It's definitely regional or semi regional or state, you know, but I interviewed in got the position which was great but my background at that point, I had already been studying a lot through bar smarts, the Advanced academy of culinary Mixology.

Um the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service, I was part of the first graduating class of U. S. B. G. P. And so I already fallen in love with cocktails and cocktail construction and I was just like I can't just talk about one thing in this portfolio. So I took an initiative when I was out to like add other things from the portfolio even though I didn't necessarily have the green light to do it and after a year and a half the powers that be came, they were like okay we get it, you want to do more than just represent one spirit. Like there's this huge portfolio, I want to represent the whole portfolio and the next level position with National Brand educator where I took over charge of the liqueurs and some of the boutique whiskeys but I still kept saying there's this huge portfolio, I want the portfolio. And so two years ago the very long title that you introduced, they're like okay you just keep doing it and you keep showing initiative.

And I self taught myself a lot of things about our portfolio and how different spirits were made within our portfolio. And so for the last two years I've been the National Spirit Specialist in portfolio. Mixologist for the company. That's kind of a long story short my story, I just like how you're like that's great but I'm gonna keep doing what I want to do until you basically quote unquote, let me do it pretty much. That's actually like it's really funny and we do, we have to write our reviews and Heaven Hill, which is crazy because it's never something I did as a bartender, as an actor or whatever. They just told you you did this X, Y, Z. And part of our review process as we get to write our goals and my goals five years ago I went to portfolio and within that five year stretch point I got it. So, so before we dive into the whiskeys because part of the reason you're on here is for a holiday coming up. We're not going to get into that just yet.

But what are some of the biggest challenges as a national educator you face when it comes to the spirits world? That is a very loaded question and there's a lot of things I know there were in a podcast. So this is not visual, obviously you can hear my voice. I'm a woman, I'm a black woman. Um and there have been perceptions over what women and what women of color have as far as understanding spirits, particularly dark spirits. My mom's whole side of the family is from bowling Green Kentucky and I've been drinking whiskey since I was three weeks old because yet put the baby to bed, you rub it on the gums. I always tell people I didn't have cough syrup until I was 10 because my mom just gave you a shot of whiskey and lemon, it was a hot toddy, you know. So there is a perception and I think that's just from publicity media and some marketing things. So that has been interesting because I have definitely, I've walked into trainings there and the way my name is spelled is actually masculine.

So on my mom's side of the family were also part french, so I don't have any. So when you see Lynn L Y N N with no t you almost expect a man to walk in and here comes this little short pixie spitfire girl and they're like, oh, are you gonna talk about whiskey? I'm like, I guarantee I've been drinking whiskey and brown spirits and brandy longer than you. My family made moonshine. My mom's side, I grew up learning how to go out and pick dandelions to make dandelion wine, peaches for peach, brandy, apples, for apple, brandy. That was from a young kid. And so I think that perception just from a gender standpoint specifically that I won't understand spirits has been something to overcome. I also think that from an educational standpoint, something that has been interesting to overcome is when we look at how we drink in the sixties, seventies and eighties, it gravitated towards quick and fast. So it gravitated towards white spirits in particular vodka Where Whiskey, people don't even understand that we're drinking a lot of whiskey right now, but we are historically not drinking by volume, the same amount of whiskey that we were in the 40s and 50s, right?

We became a vodka culture and I'm talking about like per person by volume. And so there is a whole big place to grow and a lot of people got scared about dark spirits. Um It made them think you're old, it was your grandparents drink. Um it was gonna be too bold, too tannic, too spicy. And so one of the things that I love to do when I'm out market is just dispelling the myths and the fears of brown spirits. And I do so many cocktail classes with a lot of consumers as well as trade and just show them how secondary flavors, how a simple whiskey sour and how you can modify it and make it your own and then let them graduate towards more spirit. Focus cocktails can actually dispel some of the myths that they've been taught that you know, it's my grandfather's drink, it tastes like a cigar guards, which is cigar is great. I love smoking cigars, but it's going to be something that I can't handle. So are there other misconceptions as far as even like myths, were people like, oh this is what bourbon has to be or I don't like rye because I've heard, you know X, Y.

Z. Well I think Ryan is a very still in this country misconstrued spirit. Uh it fell out of fashion and there's reasons why rise difficult to make, it's a difficult brain to work with, it's very oily, you lose a lot of it during fermentation, you lose a lot of it during distillation and it can go rancid when it's aging because of those high oils. We also think of rye bread and think about how many people eat wheat bread, you know, white bread or rye bread. It is pungent, it has got a lot of flavor and we definitely went through several decades of these super sweet flavors and scaring towards imbibing super sweet spirits and he became scared of spice and spices. Okay, right, spices life. Right. And so for me, I always love introducing people to ride and then I start introducing them to our high proof rise like our Pikesville that's six years age and it's 100 and 10 proof and they're like, oh, this is super suitable and like you just have to get out of your mental perception.

Like it's going to be this big bold scary thing that I don't know, it makes you feel like your grandparents, how can operators and bartenders overcome people's objection to, I don't want to try whiskey. I don't like whiskey or I don't think I like whiskey. And then inevitably almost every one of those people finds a whiskey that they like, I think it's just approached as a way to overcome those perceptions because you know, those perceptions are from taught lessons or behaviors or they drank their, you know, they did drink their grandparents old bold spicy thing and they were like, uh um, but it's through education and it's also I think it's the approach that's a return to just true hospitality that you aren't talking above somebody, you're inviting them into your bar and you're inviting them into your space when I ran beverage programs. And I've always been a whiskey drinker because my family's from Kentucky, my other side, my family is from Tennessee, so I wasn't scared of it, but I understood when people sat down at a bar and they were just like we we've been drinking vodka, you know, we've been drinking miller lite as you were saying earlier, all these kind of lighter and sweeter spirits and cocktails, bottles and James.

Like we went through the whole, I'm a generation of the wine cooler, I think we're back at that with the R. T. D. S. That we see out there, but you know it just was sweet and light and so I would just ask them like what do you like? Do you like citrusy? Do you like pineapple? Do you like berries? Do you like this? And it's pretty easy, particularly when you go back to classic cocktail structures, you look at an old fashioned structure, a punch structure, highball structure, a julep structure. It's pretty easy when you actually understand that foundation, how to take what they like and just infuse it. And I remember I had a moment where I had five women come in and they're like we want whiskey cocktails but we don't drink whiskey? I was like, oh boy and I was slammed so I didn't really have the time to investigate what they want was kind of like, I just really need you to pick out what you want, you don't know. And This went on for about 25 minutes. And then finally I was just like, do you like fruity?

And they're like, yes. And I just made whiskey sours and I put pineapple juice in it because they made it frothy and pretty and fruity and fruit forward and they probably had about four rounds of them throughout the course of dinner. They're like this is great. And they were like, and then it invoked the conversation of what other whiskey cocktails can you leave me? I'm like, okay, if you like this, then I can walk you about from something that's a little less fruity and maybe less the whiskey shine because now you learn that the whiskey is not going to kill you, you know, and then you can move on. And so I just think it's about hospitality. It's also about education, it's about listening and paying attention to your customer and honoring what your, if your customer wants something sweet, give them sweet, if they want better, give them bitter. And once you've built that trust, then you can create the conversation to take them down the path that you think they should go down. I didn't write this one down, but now that you said you have family in Kentucky and Tennessee, have you ever found yourself in the middle of a Kentucky versus Tennessee whiskey debate?

I have not because part of the family is also very religious. I find myself more in the debate that I like work with whiskey. All right. A lot of sense. Yeah but you work for heaven Hills. Are there any releases that are coming up for anything in their portfolio that you can share that we should be on the lookout for. So we're in fall we're in the fourth quarter october november december and this is always a very exciting time for us during our whiskey portfolio we have to spirits um Elijah craig and larceny both bourbons. Larson is a weeded bourbon. Elijah craig is a high rye traditional american bourbon reduce free releases a year and this is our release for the third time. I just tasted the C. Series and it's beautiful, it's like 1 20.2 proof So it's nice it's habit it's 12 years old.

It's had that extra age. It's lost a fair amount of angels share. So those flavors are really concentrated behind it. This is when we release parker's heritage parker's heritage is always released during the fall and that's a single release for us each year and it's a different expression. This is a heavy weeded expression this time and that's delicious. But yeah that's where we're at right now you know and just as far as the company itself, we own Caroline's, we just recently did Caroline's cold brew. It's a creamed irish whiskey, cold brew. Really delicious and perfect for this season right now. And then there's just things that we have in our bucket seasonally. I always like to throw out Sacred Bond which is a collaborative product between myself and Bernie Lovers who is our global whiskey ambassador and he and I collaborated on this and it's the only bottle in Bond, great brandy in the United States and we're in brandy season so that's great but there's always fun things down the pipe for us.

But yeah look for our C series and the larceny and the Elijah craig and look for parker's heritage. You mentioned some big proofs and some some weeded whiskeys. Are there some trends either whiskey or overall cocktail that you're excited about that you're seeing taking hold or things kind of still too early to returning to where like trends are starting to emerge. I mean I think this year we saw with as far as trends obviously to go cocktails was a very interesting phenomenon and that's really hard to manage. I think the margarita was the number one cocktail. As far as to go cocktails, it's recognizable and it's easy but we saw a lot of whiskey going out into those cocktails to to go Manhattan's to go old fashioned boulevard Ayers I think ingredients that many consumers at home may not necessarily have readily at hand, but they've gone out to their favorite bars historically and they really love those cocktails. So we've seen a lot of that, we've talked a little bit about the old fashioned and old fashioned week is big for us.

I know we're going to go more into that, but it really goes back to just a classic style of cocktails and the classic formulation of cocktails. And I think the biggest trend that I have seen happen, whether it's to go cocktails or RTD ready to drink cocktails, Everybody's re embracing classic cocktail formulation because that's stood the test of time and that's what's most recognizable. But let's analyze a crime we mentioned old fashioned week and I think people are probably going to pick up, we're gonna be talking about old fashioned week here. But what sets Elijah craig's bourbons and Ryes apart from other producers. You know, it's well, first of all it's a for Elijah craig itself, it's an in house innovation. So Heaven Hill, we have spirits that are acquisitions and then we have spirits that are innovation and Elijah credit was created in 1986 by parker beam who was our second master distiller and just one of the most amazing people that you can meet firsthand just super genuine.

I mean he's a beam of the beam family, His father Earl beam was our first formal master distiller, you know, his son craig went on to take in his, you know, um steps afterwards. So there's been a great relationship between the two families and we are a family owned company. And so there's been a great relationship between that. But parker just had an amazing palate and parker. If you had the opportunity to know him, he would tell you that his sweet spot for Bourbon was between 8-10 years. That's where he liked his bourbon. Has he got super hot summers traditionally In Louisville, but it can get kind of cool and he liked what 8-10 years did as far as an aging process. Elijah Craig itself draws its name from a historic figure. Um Elijah Craig was a minister in Bourbon County, which at the time was actually part of Virginia, it was actually part of Kentucky 1789.

So that's why you'll see that predominantly displayed on the bottle. But in 1789 is when he formally established his distillery and he is known as the father of modern bourbon, he is accredited as to why one of the legal rules of making a bourbon is that it has to be aged in a toasted or charred new american oak barrel. Right? So when we make whiskey, it's as white as vodka when it comes off the still it is that barrel that gives you color, it's that barrel that gives you the salinity. It's that barrel that gives you tertiary flavors like chocolate and baking spices and stone fruit and tropical fruits and in the laws of bourbon, we could do nothing to manipulate the flavor except for influence our mash bill and Elijah craig is a high rye mash bill at 78% corn, 12% Ryan. The rest is barley. We have a high proportion of barley over 10% in this mash bill because we do natural fermentation at Heaven Hill, not enzymatic fermentation.

There's nothing wrong with enzymatic fermentation. It was just our master distillers line that thought there's some byproduct flavors that I don't want. So that's why you'll get biscuit notes in Alaska craig because of that high amount of barley, you'll get spice, you'll get viscosity because of the high amount of rye and then there's a high amount of corn. So you get that sweet butterscotch in there as well. And I think that's what makes it kind of special. So it's inspired by the person who is credited with having formally charred barrels to create his whiskey because other people were trying their barrels, but it was his whiskeys that he sent from bourbon county that were stamped that arrived in new Orleans that people like, well like this brown whiskey, we want the bourbon whiskey because a lot of people were also using green barrels to shift their whiskey and so there's a great sense of history in it. There's a great sense of integrity.

We work with primary producers of grain within About a 100 mile radius of Heaven Hills. So we're not by MGP. It's, it's, it is, it is farmer to bottle and we've had those relationships for decades and what's also unique because you mentioned the Heaven, the Evan Williams, Evan Williams, so many brands, the Elijah craig rye is, and that's a newer release for us. We just released that within this past year and we make five signature mash bills at Heaven Hill and one of them is a rye mash bill and that's the mash bill that we use for Rittenhouse and we use for Pikesville, but with the Elijah craig, what you're going to get is the same that you're going to get with the bourbon, which is an extra age. So the youngest barrels are eight years old, the oldest barrels, we're going to be 12 years old and we've gone for a flavor profile of 10 to 10.5 years. Again. When you think about parker's beam sweet spot for whiskey, he was like that 8 to 10, he thought it was just a sweet spot and it's done in a small batch process, Which is not a legal TT.

B term. Um, it's really a stylistic term per producing house and at Heaven Hill, it's 300 barrels or less. So we are more specific and pay more attention to the barrels that are going into the rye. Um, going into the small batch and then also going into the barrel proof, which will, is always 12 years of age. I did not know that it was so difficult to make rye, I had no idea that it could easily rot or that there was such an oil property that it could really affect the process that they have to get my hands on some right? I remember talking to parker when I was first, you know, hired, which was a really great opportunity that I didn't get to spend some really good quality time with the and we talked about like rise and like Britain house at the time and at that point in time, you know rai was not super popular, it fell off during prohibition and we only made, I think we only distilled a handful of times a year, the rye and he was like win because he had that thick, you know, Kentucky accent, he's like, he's like we dump more ride than we make, you know, because it would go bad, it gets really frothy and so you have to be super careful with it.

Obviously now with the popularity of right, we produce a lot more producing it not bi annually, were producing it daily at this point In time so high they're just a quick message before we get you back to this episode, if you're looking to take your bar restaurant or hospitality business to the next level, I mean to profits of 12-15% or more. It's time to take action. Let's start creating your road map to success with our proprietary strategies, tools, resources that will inspire your team, activate your potential and lead your hospitality brand to margins. You never thought possible, visit Korg hospitality dot com right after this episode. For more information now, back to the bar hacks podcast, we definitely jump into your old fashioned week now. So what is Elijah Craig's involvement with old fashioned week? So old fashion week is a really special week to us. You know, I mentioned that we're a family owned company and independent, um, we don't operate like a lot of the other companies do, we don't have public shareholders.

You don't see a lot of big advertising for us. I think Major league baseball and bass fishing are like the two biggest thanks that we do remember promotional since there's other things that we do with other brands, but you know, we're very nimble and Mac Shapira, who is the second generation of the family and the ceo of the company, it's like, we just want to produce great products of the great value, so we don't put our thumb on that, but we are also very cognizant of the fact that, You know, we've been around for 85 plus years now and that is because not only love of our consumers, but the love of bartenders and trade and those who choose to work with our brands, there's so many amazing brands out there and so were so appreciative of those who choose to work with it and you know, there have been some other charitable weeks that are very notable, but a few years back the team was starting to talk about, we'd love to do an old fashioned week, we just think it's the quintessential cocktail, particularly for whiskey, particularly for american bourbon.

It literally is the definition of a cocktail, right, spirits, bitter sugar water, and we just in our portfolio, this is the brand that really represented heritage for a multitude of reasons. And last year was our first year that we launched old fashioned week and a way to create an avenue to give back to the industry was really important. So we partnered with the, and I always mess it up. It's another acronym for the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, I think I got it right. This time we partner with them and soda and his entire team, they have actually been around for a few years and they have raised funds and grants that directly went back to those in need in the beverage industry and during covid and the pandemic, particularly the first year, you know, we were shuttered in home, there are so many businesses that were closed, there's so many businesses that aren't coming back And it was really important for us.

So last year we set a goal of raising $100,000 through this, people can post and talk about it and we've got restaurant celebrating and they're donating portions to this and we achieved that goal of $100,000. So this is here too and it kicks off October 15 and it goes through October 24 and again we're just, we're, you know, we're celebrating Elijah craig, we're celebrating this great american classic, but we're also celebrating the trade organization that has been hit really hard and still so many people are struggling. So what's great about this organization that we've partnered with is you know, they really support everyone in hospitality, you know, back of the house, front of the house, bartender, bar back server, people can go and apply for grants that will help pay rent, help get medical care, help, put food on the table and that's really important for us to feed a sector of the community that's fed us for so long.

How can operators participate? Is there a website portal and they can sign up their bar restaurant? So your barn restaurants, our local sales team is doing a lot of work with that, but you can definitely reach out on instagram I think is the best way at elijah craig. Um, and then hashtag old fashioned weak and we are very responsive with getting new information, will also put out on facebook, like you can type in on some of the sites like your zip code and find out who's supporting it. But then just a general consumer at home can like Post their photo of an old fashioned and it could be our signature old fashioned, you're taking an old fashioned and we're gonna donate $5 to this charity for every photo that we see. So it's promoting awareness for them and obviously we want you to tag in the restaurant workers community work for workers community foundation as well. I don't know why it's like acronyms are so hard for me.

So what is the recipe for the signature old fashioned? So for the signature old fashion, what we recommend is usually the elijah craig small batch bourbon. So again 300 barrels or less, it's 94 proof and it's a blend of 8 to 12 year old barrels. So we've gone for a 10 year old flavor profile and it has a About 1213% Ryanair's, it's gonna have some spice, some bodies and viscosity. So what we recommend is start with a half ounce of simple syrup. I recommend simple syrup as a sugar cube because sugar cubes can be inconsistent in size and so you can get more or less sugar than what you want. So just a really simple 1-1 equal part sugar, water, simple syrup. The great part about simple syrup, you can make, it will hold for three months in your refrigerator so you can make lemonade sweet tea, other things or just have a delicious old fashioned every night. So a half ounce of simple syrup, two ounces of elijah craig, small batch bourbon. And then I like to do a split between angus store bitters and orange bitters because that little hint of centrists opens up the right, right and orange really play well with each other.

So I do two dashes of Angostura bitters and two dashes of Regan's orange bitters because they've got a great orange flavor, you're gonna put this over ice, you're gonna stir this, please don't shake it, you're gonna get like a really weird, you know, bourbon and branch. If you shake it, you're going to stir this and then you want to get a fresh glass with fresh ice because you want to start that delusion process all over again, strain it over. I personally like to take a little swath so kind of a wide zest of orange and just express it over the top. You can leave it in there, you can toss it if you want to. Cherry, I'm from the midwest, so I don't know how to drink a bit old fashioned without a cherry in it. But real cherry is not dayglow cherries, there's, you can go to the liquor store and you can get brandy cherries, bourbon, cherries, like, sorry, no cherries, just don't put that crunchy dygalo thing in there because that's how like formaldehyde and bleach infused and you do that and it's just, it's a delicious cocktail to sip to enjoy um if you want to do variations of it, you can change out the bitters, you can put chocolate bitters, cherry bitters creole bitters or you can change out the sugar things that I have done to like kind of update it.

I'll make a apple cider syrup, give it anatomical take. So the same principle is making a simple syrup, just apple cider for the base instead of water with sugar. Cook it down sometimes I'll just take my favorite jams, like a peach jam or cherry jam and put those in the microwave and convert them into a syrup and then that could be that sweet in there. So some people like a little speeder, some people like a little more busier, but that's the base I want you to start off with, I think it did touch on them, but people do think this is a really easy cocktail to make, but I'm sure you have come across just horrific examples in your travels. So what are the biggest mistakes that you see, what can people do to make sure they're old fashioned is perfect. So this answer may be a little controversial because I am from the midwest. So I actually grew up with the muddled orange muddled day glo cherry and if you wanted a sweet old fashioned, you gotta handful of sprite threw it on top of it and if you wanted a dry old fashioned, you've got a handful of soda that's like the Wisconsin old fashioned and that's what I grew up with if that's what you like, that's what you like, I'm not going to tell you that you don't like what you like, enjoy what you enjoy.

But I think the one thing that you really want to make sure is that that spirit is singing and the complexity of the spice flavors and the barrels coming through so that it's not over water down, so don't shake it, stir it and it's not over sweet. So measure your sugar either a quarter to a half ounce, depending on how sweet you like it. And then you can create your own recipe and you always want bidders in their bidders is the salt and pepper of a cocktail and I cannot tell you how many old fashioned I've had. And like there's no bidders in here and it's very like sugar, water, whiskey, it's a sling, right? It's not a bitter sling and I'm like, you always want that bitter, it's just like why you Sprinkle that little bit of salt on your food or squeeze. That limit on top of it. It helps wake up all the other flavors and it also helps bring the ingredients together. They're going to ask this either. But then you said the word split and I remember before everything kind of got closed and even in Vegas things slow down, I walked into a bar, one of my friends was working and I was watching him and it really intense debate while making a drink over and over and this person was asking for A ridiculous amount of split base.

Like it was, I think that I lost kind of like eight, Oh my gosh, that's horrible. Let's get your opinion on split based cocktails and how to actually do them correctly. Oh, that's a really interesting question. I am traditionally like kind of a spirit based loyalists as my own personal palette. I do get when people do splits of like a bourbon and awry because they want more of the sweet, but they want some of the spice and oil. And I mean if you look like a classic cocktail of yukari, that's essentially a split cocktail, right? It's like an old fashioned, but split, you know, Bennett dictators, you're sweet, you still have your bidders, but then you've got a split base, but I have had similar situations where I've been on the road and people are like, oh, we make our house blend whiskey and I'm like, um, okay, and then I'm like, well, what do you do? And they buy, you know, cases of like six different producers and blend them together and create their own split whiskey.

And I'm just like, hi, you know, and I'm like, and it's, it's not about being competitive and being with anybody else in that base, but I'm just like, there's so much integrity in the industry and whether it's our spirits or somebody else's spirits, People are doing really great work, like I can understand a split of styles maybe, but I also have to say that simplicity is more and the more you add is something the muddier it gets, you know, I'm a huge, I love to cook at home and I love cooking italian food a lot and I have learned that my tomato sauce has gotten better, the simpler it's gotten, you know, I agree, it's just gotten better where I'm like, I used to put like have 20 different kinds of spices out and done it and now I'm just like garlic, you know, garlic basil, tomatoes, salt, pepper, that's it and it is, it has gotten better, it's become more balanced, it evolves better.

And so you know, I think just sometimes just because you can, doesn't mean you should, but I get back on track because I said the word split and I was like, okay, I fast because I know I was watching an abomination when I watched this thing get made and I know it works because they kept dumping it because my face, I needed, the bartender was like, I can't do it, I can't do it well, the rest of the bartenders are watching too and just raised eyebrows and what is going on over there, so I had to ask the person left and he was like, I don't know what that was because I thought I made him pay for all of that, It was quite a bill for a drink that never turned out. So what is your favorite way to enjoy bourbon? Your favorite way to enjoy a rye. My favorite way to enjoy a bourbon awry really depends upon what it is. If it's something that's like higher proof, I'm like a big ice cube and just sip and savor and let it open up and let the dilution slightly happen.

So in our portfolio, The Henry McKenna, 10 year old single barrel bottled in bond is probably my favorite bourbon in our portfolio. As happy as I am that the world has discovered this. I'm also miffed because it's harder for me and I work for the company right? But it is one that I always enjoyed like end of the day and like a nice large cube at home. I have the molds at home, you know, and I put it in and Pour two fingers and just sipped and savored. I really enjoy that. I love a rye Manhattan. I think that the sweetness of sweet removed and the spiciness of right really lend themselves nicely together. It's like liquid barbecue sauce. Right? So I really enjoy Orion Manhattan fact, if I'm out and about, you'll see me drink either rye Manhattans or rye boulevard es very, very frequently kind of the same principle that spice lends itself. Really nice to the secondary ingredients for bourbon.

I mean I am a huge old fashioned person. I have probably about 30 bottles of bitters back here. So how I make. It just kind of depends on the mood, but I want something a little more citrusy. Little spicier traditional, you know like 10 bottles of inga stora. Oh my God, can I go through enough angus europe? But I like that and I, but also a huge fan of a good bourbon whiskey sour, if it's made correctly, how does someone make a bourbon sour for you then? How does that? Well, they cannot have too much sweet and it cannot have too much citrusy, it's got to be a good balance. Um it's a very simple recipe. It does need to have a little bitters on it and I am absolutely a proponent, 100% of an egg white in there to bring it together and give it texture. There is a bar in Seattle Black Cat made me probably one of my most favorite whiskey sours I've ever had. I'm like, what do you use? Like simple, just equal lemon.

A good, simple. I use cane sugar, egg white, they used our Evan Williams. So a good base, just two ounces straight and some nice bidders on top. I'm like, it's sublime, it's great layers of flavor, it's not too acidic, it's not too sweet, it's not too like bold in your face. Spirit wise, it's just, it's like a, I think a great cocktail should be like a great glass of wine, just layers of flavor big wine when we're not recording it, we talked about how people really can't treat a whiskey tasting like a wine tasting. But while I've got you here, I definitely want to leverage all your expertise. How should someone approach a whiskey tasting? Like how or how do you teach people how to taste whiskeys? Absolutely. So how I approach people, how to taste whiskeys is first of all, understand it is not wine. Okay, first and foremost, the big thing that's going to come into play is, is the amount of alcohol the A. B. V. Wines are gonna arrange from 12 to say 17% on a high side.

They generally sit around 14% alcohol whiskey by law can't even start until it's 40%. Right? So what people need to understand when you're tasting is you actually aren't tasting with your mouth or your tongue, that's more sensation in the identification of bright, sweet sour, salty umami where you're actually tasting is in your nose, you're a factory system which An average person can identify about 400 different scents in there knows you're super tasters have more taste buds and they have more, you know, sensitive olfactory systems, but that's 400. That's pretty, pretty good. What happens is if you, you know, I'm saying I've gone to so many wine tastings where they're like squirrel squirrel, squirrel and you see them just like bury the nose of the glass and do this like horrific overly lofty, like, you know, sniff. But if something is 12-14% alcohol, you can get away with that.

If it's 40 to 50 to 60% alcohol, alcohol is a volatile substance. It's going to blow out your olfactory system And it actually takes, I believe 20-30 minutes to reset, which means for the next half hour or so you aren't tasting anything appropriately. So I always like to tell people think about it. Got friends to fish, family of fish, think about catching that fish on the line, I call it bows bass mouth or trout mouth. You want your mouth slightly open so you look like a hooked fish because you want to create an oxygen flow that's going to cool off the olfactory system. And instead of with wine where you plunge your nose into the glass, what you want to do is have your mouth slightly open because it's gonna start getting flavors and it's gonna start triggering your olfactory system and you're gonna bring that up and once you start getting aroma, stop, do not plunge your nose into that glass and do the wine inhale because you're gonna complete, not that you won't taste flavor, but you're going to skew your olfactory system.

So as it comes up and it stops and kind of like, what am I getting and that's where you're gonna get this top esters from a whiskey. So that's where some of your fruits gonna come, That's where you're going to get some things like vanilla owns some of those lighter flavors and that's important because that's going to inform you about what you're gonna taste. Then you're gonna take a sip, swish it around, spit it out right, because you wanted to cut your mouth, You really don't taste well until like the second you should do the same thing with wine anyhow. And then you're gonna want to take another sip and start to feel its texture and pay attention to what your nose is getting. You'll start to get some secondary flavors. That's where you're gonna get baking spice, maybe some saltiness if there's some salinity in there. You know, particularly when you're dealing with scotches which have a ton of salinity, um and you'll start to get some tertiary flavors that come from the botanicals and ingredients that are extracted from that barrel. If you, depending on how many whiskeys you're taking, you can so inclined to do a little swallow at that point in time because you want to feel how it feels going down and that's going to tell you where the fuse soils are.

If you have a lot of burning up here, there's too many useful oils in there and it's not been a really good cut. But if you can kind of just feel like that slow warming and then it hits you here in the chest. We call that actually a Kentucky hug bourbon kind of tree. So that's a Kentucky hug, that's just your grandma grabbing you, warming you up but you aren't burning in between. That also tells you a lot about the integrity of it. But the main thing I can tell people is do not plunge your nose into that glass and do you give it some time to breathe and give yourself some time to breathe and cool your olfactory system off. I am guilty. I think occasionally of getting my nose too close to the, to the whiskey or other spirits when I'm, when I'm doing a tasting. So I would definitely keep that in mind and I did not know about the fuselage oils either. So I looked a lot, you feel the esters and your nose, you feel the oil in your throat. So before we go, what is a bit of trivia about Elijah craig or if there's another brand you want to talk about in the portfolio that most people just don't know.

Oh my gosh, a brand of trivia. Oh, I've got a really good one. Okay, so Evan Williams. First licensed distiller in Kentucky, Like 1st Mayor of Louisville. Um, which is why that was established in 17 83. And if you look at any of our bottled in Bond's, you'll see ky distiller's license number one because we own that license. We own his license and so in a bonded warehouse, you have to Produce your spirit. All at one location. You have to document that on the bottle. There is a whole bunch of things bottled in Bond Act goes back to 1897, it was our first piece of legislation for anything that was a consumable. And so I think Evan Williams and that's a flagship brand. It's an innovative brand for us and understanding that, that's why if you look at our bottom bonds, there's DSP ky one is because we have that license and he was the first licensed distiller in Kentucky before we go, how can people connect with you on social with Elijah Craig and how can they participate in old fashioned week?

The best way to connect with myself and Elijah Craig I'm gonna say is instagram crazy how social media has just become like used to be called someone email them cinema facts, right? No longer, I'm liquid lady Lynn no e on instagram so you can follow me, you can message me. I'm pretty good at getting back most of the time, depends upon the week. Elijah Craig is a very active instagram account as well And there will be lots of information also, we have a facebook account which is instagram as well. So you can go and sign up on those and we will continually like really daily between now and the end of the month. Just putting out information how you can participate in old fashioned week, how you can support the restaurant workers community fund, which is again for us really the most important part of this message is that we want to raise another $100,000 again. That's our goal to specifically go back to the specific organization that is doing so much for a community that has supported us for so long.

Thank you so much for being on, I learned a lot and whenever you want to come back on, let me know uh you let me know, we'll talk to you, I'm home right now. So now it's really always a good time to get me. Thank you so much. All right, cherries, thank you, David. I really appreciate it. Thank you for listening to the bar hacks podcast produced by Korg hospitality and hosted by me, David Clement. If you like what you're hearing, please rate, review, subscribe and share. Follow us on twitter at past bar hacks and instagram at bar hacks. Talk to you soon.

Episode 52 with Lynn House
Episode 52 with Lynn House
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