Bourbon & Whiskey Reviews Feed

Spruce up your drinks with home made syrups

By Mike Thayer

Vanilla Syrup
A vanilla syrup to have with my morning coffee

Regular readers know that I'm into flavored whiskeys, such as Revel Stoke Vanilla flavored whiskey .  I'm also into flavored coffee (hazelnut is my fave) and flavored tea (peach is SO good, but so is an Arnold Palmer). Heck, I like to flavor a simple glass of water, usually with a squeeze of fresh lime, sometimes I'll use one of those RealLime squeezer things and lately, it's been On The House Sweetened Lime Juice.

But I got to thinking, why pay extra for a flavored whiskey?  Why pay almost $4 for a bottle of sweetened lime juice?

Make your own sweetened syrup to add to your adult beverage, coffee, tea or water.  It's a great add to a smoothie too!

Today I'm making my own syrups, so far I've made a lime syrup and a vanilla syrup and they taste delicious.  They will keep in the refrigerator for better than two weeks and I'll have an assortment of syrups to choose from, spending pennies on the dollar compared to buying some kind of beverage that's already flavored or a store bought syrup.  I've got lime syrup for cocktails and to simply flavor a glass of water.  I've got vanilla syrup to flavor coffee, tea and yes, cocktails.  Seriously, why buy a vanilla flavored whiskey or vodka at $20 for a 750ml bottle when you can buy a Texas fifth (1.75L) for $14 and add a simple syrup to it?  Making your own syrup and adding it to a drink, be it a cocktail, coffee, tea, smoothie or water, saves you money without a sacrifice in flavor, and it doesn't take much time at all to make it!

Formula:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flavoring

It's an easy formula, if you want more just double the 1-1-1 configuration.

Directions:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Continue to cook at a rapid simmer (that means you have to stir constantly for those of you who live in Haysville) for about 8 minutes.  You want the syrup to thicken up a bit.  Remove from heat, stir in the flavoring and let cool.  Once cool, transfer to a squeeze bottle (available at Dollar Tree for $1.25) and refrigerate. 

Adding one Tablespoon of syrup to any kind of drink changes the flavor profile in a very good way.  But it does add about 50 calories to whatever you're inhaling so if you're counting calories, you may want to either cut back on the sugar, or use a sugar substitute.  Flavor results will vary, but play with it, it'll still be good and cost saving.  That's next on my experimenting, cutting the sugar with some Monk Fruit sugar substitute which I hear is pretty good.

The flavor options are pretty much endless too...  The flavors of orange, lemon, cherry, mint and yes even chocolate would work well with so many drink options.  Don't limit yourself!  Have fun with it.  I haven't quite worked out the Hazelnut flavor for my morning coffee yet, but I will be making an attempt with Nutella here in a bit, and I won't have to add any sugar.

Spruce up your drinks with home made syrups, you'll thank yourself for saving some money AND delivering some great flavor that you did yourself.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

 

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Cocktail Mixer Review: On The House Sweetened Lime Juice

On The House Sweetened Lime Juice
Great with cocktails, but don't stop there!

By Mike Thayer

I enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine, but if I'm going to participate in cocktail hour, it's usually with a whiskey drink and my go-to is whiskey and water with a squeeze or splash of lime juice.

If I don't have fresh limes on hand, then I usually have some form of lime juice at the ready, be it RealLime in the little squeeze bottle or something similar.

Today I'm trying On The House brand sweetened lime juice.

With only 3 grams of sugar per serving, this mixer provides a nice lime juice flavor with a touch of sweet.  I would compare this to Master of Mixes Lime Juice and would put it on par with that competitor.  It tastes every bit as good as Master of Mixes and while you do lose the squeeze bottle feature - yes, you have to pour with On The House - you get more lime juice bang for the buck with the On The House stuff.

And it's not just for cocktails either! Use is to create Mocktails like mojitos, margaritas, and limeades. I like to use it often when drinking ice water, because yes water can get boring. And don't stop there! It's a nice finishing touch on grilled fare, it's particularly good on BBQ, hitting the meat with a few squirts when letting the meat rest before serving. Also excellent on street tacos, hit 'em up before applying your favorite taco sauce.

Costing me $3.49 for a 25 ounce bottle, I'm giving On The House Sweetened Lime Juice 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, it's a repeat buy and deserves some space in your mixer arsenal.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Mixer Review: Master of Mixes Lime Juice


Whiskey Review: Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine

Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine
Pie filling with a kick in a bottle

By Mike Thayer

So I recently ventured away from enjoying the more traditional flavored whiskeys such as Jim Beam Orange (Great for making an Old Fashioned) or Ole Smoky Peanut Butter which in my humble opinion is better than Skrewball!

Lately I've been into trying Moonshine, a.k.a., "White Whiskey."

White Whiskey is "new" whiskey, as in a raw, unfinished product, "unaged." White Whiskey skips the aged in oak barrels step so what you get is naked grain alcohol - Moonshine!

Looking for a different flavored Moonshine to try and liking the flavors Ole Smoky puts out, I picked up a Mason Jar of Apple Pie at my neighborhood liquor store. 

Here's the description from the Ole Smoky website: Moonshine is as American as apple pie. So it only made sense to blend pure apple juice, ground cinnamon, and other spices with our whiskey to create Ole Smoky® Apple Pie Moonshine. This delicious combination of flavors can conjure up memories of warm apple pie on a cool summer evening and goes down just as easy.

A taste of apple pie without the crust, Ole Smoky has successfully put pie filling with a kick in a bottle.  Delivering apple and cinnamon flavors from nose to finish I did find it to be a bit on the sweet side but the white whiskey base keeps things balanced.  When I opened the jar and sniffed, I thought this might have a bit of a syrup consistency to it, but it's doesn't.  At 70 proof it's not sugar water with a kick, it's clean, it's warm and pretty smooth for a moonshine.  Best as a chilled shot or served on the rocks.

Costing me about $19 for the reusable Mason Jar, I'm giving Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  I'm having fun sampling the Ole Smoky line up of flavored moonshines and this is worthy of a repeat buy.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Best Apple Flavored Whiskeys from worst to best


Whiskey Review: Georgia Moon Peach

20220114_123359By Mike Thayer

So I recently ventured away from enjoying the more traditional flavored whiskeys such as Jim Beam Orange (Great for making an Old Fashioned) or Ole Smoky Peanut Butter which in my humble opinion is better than Skrewball!

Lately I've been into trying Moonshine, a.k.a., "White Whiskey."

White Whiskey is "new" whiskey, as in a raw, unfinished product, "unaged." White Whiskey skips the aged in oak barrels step so what you get is naked grain alcohol - Moonshine!

Looking for a different flavored Moonshine to try, I picked up a Mason Jar of Georgia Moon Peach at my neighborhood liquor store, Everton Liquor at the corner of Harry and Rock.

Here's the description:  Kentucky- Moonshine Georgia Moon Peach is another reason why the state of Georgia has its nickname. World famous Georgia peaches give the classic corn whiskey blend a new, fresh picked flavor in every sip. The smell of sweet corn accompanied by peaches in a mouth watering invitation.

Some folks might describe Moonshine as harsh and that would be a reasonable description if we were talking home made, unregulated or otherwise made without a license Moonshine.  That backyard stuff is commonly 'bottled' at 150 proof.  Yes, harsh.  But Georgia Moon Peach is a commercially made White Whiskey and at 70 proof, makes for a smooth chilled shot or better yet enjoyed on the rocks.  You get the pleasant peach notes in the nose, it delivers Georgia Peach in the sip, no harshness at all and you get the warm white whiskey finish going down.  Peach is a great pairing with Moonshine.

Costing me $13.99 for a reusable Mason Jar, I'm giving Georgia Moon Peach Moonshine 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's reasonably priced and a super change-of-pace flavored whiskey, it's a definite repeat buy.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Drink Review: Ole Smoky Sour Apple Moonshine

 


Mixer Review: Master of Mixes Lime Juice

By Mike Thayer

Master of Mixes Lime Juice
Good sized squeeze bottle

I enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine, but if I'm going to participate in cocktail hour, it's usually with a whiskey drink and my go-to is whiskey and water with a squeeze or splash of lime juice.

In the past I've just used a straight squeeze from a sliced lime and included the slice with my drink.  Sometimes I would use the RealLime brand juice from the bottle.  But realizing I didn't have anything lime at home during a recent trip to the liquor store, the liquor store guru working that night recommended Master of Mixes Lime Juice.  I had never used the stuff before and with my liquor store guru never having failed me with a recommendation I bought a bottle of it to try.

Made with key lime juice which is sweetened ever so slightly with pure cane sugar, this is a great add to any cocktail calling for lime juice.  It delivers on tart lime flavor with a touch of sweet.  And it's not just for cocktails either!  Use is to create Mocktails like mojitos, margaritas, and limeades.  I like to use it often when drinking ice water, because yes water can get boring.  And don't stop there!  It's a nice finishing touch on grilled fare, it's particularly good on BBQ, hitting the meat with a few squirts when letting the meat rest before serving.  Also excellent on street tacos, hit 'em up before applying your favorite taco sauce.

Costing me $3.29 for a 12.7 ounce bottle, I'm giving Master of Mixes Lime Juice 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's an easy repeat buy!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Drink Review: Ole Smoky Sour Apple Moonshine

Ole Smoky Sour Apple Moonshine
Pucker Up!

By Mike Thayer

Here's something a little different...

I ventured away from my norm - a flavored traditional whiskey - and recently tried some Apple Sour Moonshine (a.k.a. White Whiskey) from Ole Smoky.

I'm an Ole Smoky fan, they make a fantastic peanut butter flavored whiskey that's better than Skrewball!  I've also sampled their Ole Smoky Butter Pecan Moonshine which was quite tasty.    So in liking both those and kind of starting on a Moonshine trend, I decided to give their Apple Sour Moonshine a try.

Here's the description from the Ole Smoky website:  Take your sweet time enjoying this sour sensation. We took the tart, bright flavor of sour apples, added our moonshine, and gave it just enough sweetness to make it totally irresistible. Give your kisser something to remember.

White Whiskey is "new" whiskey, as in a raw, unfinished product, "unaged."  White Whiskey skips the aged in oak barrels step so what you get is naked grain alcohol - Moonshine!

This is good stuff!  You get the sour apple right away in the whiff, it's pleasant, not overpowering.  It delivers nicely on the sour apple in the sip without being too harsh, giving you just a bit of a pucker with a warm finish going down.

Costing me around $19 for a 750ml jar (can you say, "re-use?" Yes, yes you can!), I'm giving Ole Smoky Apple Pucker Moonshine 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  I like this better than DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker which in comparing the two, the DeKuyper comes off as too syrupy and simply not as clean of a shot.  Ole Smokey Sour Apple Moonshine is worthy of a repeat buy!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

 

 


Whiskey Review: Bird Dog Praline

By Mike Thayer

Bird Dog Praline Flavored Whiskey
I now have a new flavored whiskey favorite

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball and it costs a lot less too!

Today's review is a taste of praline! I picked up a bottle of Bird Dog Praline flavored whiskey, making it a Super Bowl Sunday Sampler...

Here's the description from the Bird Dog Whiskey Website:  Folklore and fact intermingle to create the history of the praline candy, a southern favorite for generations. This classic confectionery treat is buttery, nutty, and sweet all at once, and we’ve managed to bottle it up with our Pecan Praline Bird Dog Whiskey. The unmistakable flavor of toasted pecans covered in a silky smooth candy coating complemented by the essence of vanilla and oak aging barrels of real Kentucky bourbon. Try it in our Praline Pointer, and you’ll feel like you’re walking to the streets of New Orleans - brass band not included.

I think I may have found a new flavored whiskey favorite.  Sampling this in a straight shot and on the rocks, if I had to pick between Ole Smoky Peanut Butter and the Bird Dog Praline, I'm going Praline.  This is a silky smooth whiskey that gives you pecan and brown sugar notes in the nose, delivers nicely on those flavors in the sip, followed by a delightful, warm, rich finish that is not overly sweet.  Bird Dog has very successfully put praline in a whiskey bottle.  This is a whiskey to truly savor, to have on hand for special occasions, it's that good.

Costing me $18.95 for an 80 proof 750ml bottle, I'm giving Bird Dog Praline 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Reasonably priced, it's definitely a repeat buy and deserves a spot in your liquor cabinet.

5 stars

 


Bourbon Review: Knob Creek Smoked Maple

By Mike Thayer

Knob Creek Smoked Maple
Straight Shot

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball!

Today's review is a taste of maple!  I was gifted a bottle for Christmas, a very pleasant surprise.

Here's the short description from the Knob Creek website:  We blend this bourbon with natural smoked maple flavors for a unique, smoky sweetness. 

I sampled this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks.  In pulling the stopper, you get a nice whiff of maple with a hint of smoke.  At 90 proof, this bourbon is full-bodied, you get the maple at the front but it's not overly sweet and is followed by the smoke and complimentary notes of vanilla and caramel.  It's an excellent, warm, bourbon finish.  I enjoyed it best on the rocks, the ice elevating all the flavor notes in a cleaner sip if you will.

Retailing for about $30, Knob Creek Smoked Maple is a higher quality whiskey than say Jim Beam.  It's slightly sweet but not too maple forward, it's smokey smooth and deserves a spot in your liquor cabinet.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. A great fall/winter sipping whiskey, I'm reserving this for special occasions and it's most definitely a repeat buy.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Drink Review: Jim Beam Maple Whiskey


Drink Review: Wild Turkey American Honey

By Mike Thayer

Wild Turkey American Honey
Rich and flavorful

Here's another fun shot to enjoy over the holidays!

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball!

Today's review is a taste of honey!

Bottled as a liqueur, here's the description of Wild Turkey American Honey from the bottle:  Exceptionally smooth liqueur blended with pure honey and bourbon whiskey.

With a proof of 71 and aged 4 years, this blend of bourbon and honey has a great, fragrant nose, you get that sweet whiff of honey right away in taking the cap off the bottle.  The mouthfeel is rich and flavorful, delivering the honey in front followed by notes of vanilla from the Wild Turkey finish. 

Costing me about $14 for a 350ml bottle, I'm giving Wild Turkey American Honey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a bit pricey but it's quite delicious especially over ice.  A repeat buy, I also look forward to cooking with this, the blend of bourbon and honey will lend itself well to a number of dishes!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey

Related: Drink Review: Jim Beam Honey Whiskey


Whiskey Review: Ballotin Peanut Butter Chocolate

By Mike Thayer

Ballotin Peanut Butter Chocolate
It's a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup in a bottle!

Here's a fun shot to enjoy over the holidays!

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball!

And BONUS:  Peanut butter flavored whiskeys lend themselves to some great chilled shot mixology:  A half shot of peanut butter and a half shot of Chambord raspberry liquer makes a wonderful PB&J shot.  Mix peanut butter and a banana liquer for an "Elvis" (his favorite sandwich was a fried peanut butter and banana).  And also quite good, mix the peanut butter and a chocolate liquer for a "Reece's Peanut Butter Cup."

But wait a minute!...  Ballotin got smart and put those "Reece's" flavors in ONE bottle!  No mixology required!  And it's DAMN good!  This is smoother than what you can create on your own in a mixed shot, as the chocolate and peanut butter flavors are all natural flavors blended in before bottling this whiskey at 60 proof.  These aren't harsh liquers added after the fact like some bottlers do.  What you get with Ballotin is a flavored blend that's perfectly balanced.  There's nothing harsh, nothing overpowering and more importantly it's not overly sweet.  You get the aroma of peanut butter with a hint of chocolate in the nose.  In the taste, It's Reece's, but with a hint of Butterfinger which is a good thing!  And the most important characteristic in a good flavored whiskey is a warm whiskey finish and this delivers just that.

Costing me about $29 for a 750ml bottle, I'm giving Ballotin Peanut Butter Chocolate Whiskey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a delicious flavored whiskey, enjoyable no matter the pour be it a straight shot, a chilled shot, served neat or on the rocks.  A bit pricey, it's still a repeat buy, this is something you'll want to have on hand, especially during the holidays.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...