Whiskey and Wine
A welcomed part of almost every holiday celebration
Whiskey and wine—they make a perfect combo for holiday serving and giving. Fundamentally speaking, wines are fermented spirits made from a variety of grapes. Whiskeys and bourbons are distilled spirits made from a variety of grains. Bourbon must be 51 percent corn and aged in new or charred oak barrels. Whiskey can be aged in any kind of barrel and made from a variety of grains. Both have been hot for years, and their popularity shows no sign of slowing down with small-batch producers constantly hitting the scene.
Jennifer Nickerson, co-owner of Tipperary Boutique Distillery in Ireland, is on a mission to get her award-winning whiskies in the glasses of women. Her tip for a delicious holiday pairing is whiskey with chocolate and/or cheese.
Tipperary Watershed Scotch ($64.99) is aromatic, almost fruity and defiantly fun. The slight bit of smoke initially gives way to toasted honey and spice. Nickerson’s Knock mealdowns ($89.99) is aged for 10 years. That extra time in the barrel produces a smoother, more velvety finish with rich flavors of butterscotch.
If you’re looking to give a spirit to someone who has everything, look for TX Whiskey ($37) or TX Straight Bourbon ($49) from Firestone & Robertson Distilling Company. Both are brand new to Florida. Made in North Texas from local corn and wheat, they also use a wild Texas yeast strain captured from a local pecan. The bourbon is warm, smooth and feels like the outdoors with cinnamon, allspice and caramel. The balanced whiskey smells like the inside of an ice cream shop. I want to drink this with a hot apple crumble topped with vanilla bean ice cream. It’s full of caramel, toast and vanilla with a slightly sweet finish. An unexpectedly smooth profile, this is a good one to drink neat or on the rocks.
Neat means it’s served at room temp with no ice or water; rocks means served with ice. Large ice spheres or cubes are desirable, as they don’t melt as fast to water down your drink.
If you’ve tried whiskey or bourbon neat or on the rocks and find them too strong, try mixing with ginger ale or lemonade for a refreshing treat or coffees and teas for a warming one.
Another new whiskey to locate for the holidays is Prizefight ($45), a transatlantic collaboration from Steven Grasse (creator of Hendrick’s Gin) and Irish spirits innovator Flor Prendergast. The whiskey from Ireland is finished in American rye barrels for a spicy finish.
Prizefight is clean with some floral notes and smoke—a complex blend that packs a punch without a burn. The label commemorates a fight between famous Irish-born boxers John Morrissey and Yankee Sullivan in 1853.
Jennifer Nickerson, co-founder of Tipperary Boutique Distillery, is changing the face of whiskey production in Ireland, where men have dominated the industry for decades.