Archive for August 2012

Building a Bourbon Bunker

I have descended further into my bourbon obsession. I have decided to begin bunkering bourbon.  A lot of enthusiasts have bunkers, but to this point I've resisted starting one.  I resisted for a couple of reasons: First, We don't have a lot of space.  Second, bourbon is for drinking.  I've never seen much reason to have a bunk of bottles laying around that aren't being actively sipped on.

So what changed my mind?

Well, this post on the Top Ten Whiskey of the Fall on the Whiskey Advocate blog started it.  If you notice, the list contains only one whiskey under $100.  And that whiskey is a bourbon.  It is my opinion that bourbon is the best deal in whiskey, but I'm not sure it will stay that way forever.  In fact, I think we're already seeing bourbon prices begin to rise--it is not unusual to see Pappy 15 in the $150 range and Pappy 23 in the $300 range.  More and more distilleries are releasing "Limited" or "Special" editions that come with a hefty price tag.  Luckily, we all can find great bourbon for under $30, but it might not last forever.

So I've decided to select a few whiskies that I especially enjoy and hold on to them for a little while.  If prices keep rising I can break into the bunker or try to find a trading partner to get a bottle I can't find. If prices go way, way up, then I'll think about putting a bottle up for auction.

My first two bunker selections are the 2011 Parker's Heritage Collection and E.H. Taylor Tornado Surviving bourbon.  I have open bottles of both on my shelf and they are a couple of my favorites.  Based on the limited release of these bottles, I suspect these will become very hard to find over the next couple of years.

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Friday Cocktails: Bourbon Sour

I don't know about you, but I never thought today was going to arrive. This week has been nonstop at the office and for every item I've crossed something off the to-do list, another one is there to quickly take its place.

Having never ending task lists at the office leave me all the more appreciative of the weekend. I'm hoping to spend some quality time with the latest book I've started and a little bourbon in hand. Perhaps, there will be another one of these guys in order.

While in Charlottesville last weekend, we had dinner at the Whiskey Jar. Occasionally, I'll enjoy my bourbon on the rocks. However, that's usually a sign of a really bad day. For the most part, I prefer it in a well made cocktail. And the Whiskey Jar had a Bourbon Sour that fit the bill. It was quite simple and like food when you have quality ingredients simple is the way to proceed.

This is inspired by their bourbon sour, although it doesn't quite compare to theirs.

Whiskey Sour
Makes one cocktail

1 ruby red grapefruit
Bourbon, I used Woodford Reserve as I was looking for a subtle spiciness 
1 sugar cube

1. Add the sugar cube and a few drops of water to a highball glass.

2. As the sugar cube dissolves, juice your grapefruit. 

3. Muddle the sugar or stir to enjoy it has "melted." Fill the glass with ice cubes.

4. Pour in your freshly squeezed juice, and top off the glass with the bourbon. Give it a stir.

5. If I had some maraschino cherries, I would have garnished. I'd definitely recommend going that route. It's like heading out without any accessories...sorry for the digression. 

6. Cheers!

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Exploring Virginia Wineries

We managed to escape the District for a few days over the weekend to spend time doting our friends handsome new lil' man and their good looking toddler on Saturday, but not before making time for ourselves on Friday. After enjoying our last Virginia vineyard visits, we decided to explore a few more.


If you get up before 10:30 am on a day off, you should be rewarded with McDonald's breakfast. Or at least that's how we operate. Seriously, who doesn't enjoy McDonald's breakfast. Combine that with sport talk radio and that's how the morning got underway as we headed towards Charlottesville.

After battling a more traffic than expected, we made our way to Blenheim Vineyards. I was pleasantly surprised by how many of their wines we enjoyed. They are tucked away, but are well worth the journey to seek them out. We brought home a bottle of their 2011 Chardonnay, although it was a tough choice between that and their Viognier.  And because I enjoy reds so much more, we also went with a bottle of the 2011 Cabernet Franc that I think will be awesome with some grilled pork chops. 

On our way out to Blenheim, we went past Trump Vineyards and circled back to check them out. But after finding Jersey plopped down in Virginia, we quickly backed out the door to make our way towards Charlottesville. As we made our way, there we came past Jefferson Vineyards and figured why not?

Lesson learned, I would suggest driving right on past. The property is gorgeous, but the wine is not so good. They feature 11 wines in their tasting and only one was what we considered a solid table wine. Rather than sample all of them, I would simply recommend purchasing a glass of their 2010 Petit Verdot to enjoy on their patio with this as your view.

There wasn't enough time to make our way to my complete list, so it looks like there might be another trip in our future. Don't worry, I didn't force Keith to give up whiskey for the weekend. We had an awesome dinner of comfort food at the Whiskey Jar on the mall in Charlottesville. If this spot was in DC, it would be a safe bet that it would become a regular place for us. 

Aside from a sunburn, it was a great weekend seeing friends and leaving the stress of the District behind. Are there any wineries you would recommend visiting? We seem to be on quite a roll at the moment. 

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Friday Cocktails: The Blue Door

When I found myself with a pint of blueberries and no desire to make muffins, I started thinking about alternatives. Even more importantly, those options needed to be simple. That's when I started wondering would I could infuse with blueberries. I considered vodka, but then I started to think about bourbon. And figured what the heck...blueberries good, bourbon good, so blueberries and bourbon great.

Let me tell you this plan was genius. It's not something I enjoy on it's own, but when I started playing with cocktail ideas I hit the jackpot. Meet the Blue Door.  There's a side story as to the name, which I'll get to  a bit later.

Blue Door Recipe

2 oz blueberry infused bourbon
2 dashes orange bitters
ginger ale

1. Pour the bourbon, bitters, and ginger ale in a glass over ice.

2. Garnish with orange peel.

3. Enjoy!

Blueberry Infused Bourbon

1.5 c. smashed blueberries (about a pint)
1.5 c. bourbon

1. Combine the blueberries and bourbon in a nonreactive container.

2. Shake everyday for five days.

3. On the fifth day, taste to see if it has enough blueberriness for you. I went with only five days.

4. Strain into storage bottle.  Out of direct sunlight, it should last about six months.

5. Enjoy!

So why the blue door? Well, that was our door for the last 18 months, we've called our current place home. Then I came home a few weeks ago to see it had been painted black. Talk about bumming me out. I loved that blue door. Not to mention, it made giving directions so much easier, "We're the house with the blue door." Now we're boring like everyone else on the block with their neutral black and brown doors. 

Am I bit crazy for missing the door? Have you ever grown a bit attached to something about your home?

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Book Review: The Angry Buddhist


Last night as I finished up my latest book around 1 am, I realized I hadn’t even filled you in on the previous book. So let’s remedy that because it was an excellent read that I must recommend. 

The book’s title is what initially convinced this was a book I needed to read. How can you not resist a book where the title is already a contradiction? You just have to know more, so I devoured the book, The Angry Buddhist, by Seth Greenland in a little less than 2 weeks. 

The Angry Buddhist has everything you could want in a story; there’s scandal, sex, irony, and a character or two you find yourself rooting for. In a nutshell this is the story of three brothers: an ex-cop, a harden criminal, and a devious Congressman. It’s a week before the election and the politician is in for the fight of his life. There are a cast of characters all with their own story that could benefit from more background, but then the book might have lost its way. 

You know it’s a good book when you find yourself disappointed after the final word has been read because you find yourself wanting to spend more time with it. Like I said it’s a good read with many twists and turn and bit of wry humor mixed in. 

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Date Night

This morning we woke up to a reprieve from the hot temperatures. Unfortunately, that was by way of rain and crazy humidity, so the big Texas hair can be attributed to that. As I splashed down the sidewalks and made it to the office, I was a bit grumpy and wet. Then I remembered it’s date night!

We have probably let a few weeks too many pass since we had what Keith considers an official date…you know dinner and a movie. We’re headed to Clyde’s in Chinatown. Now I know so many in the District look down on this spot, but we view it as the local chain with far better food than Ruby Tuesdays. That combined with it was the place we met for dinner on our first date and well, we just can’t help but make our way back for movie date nights.

There is a theater next door where we plan to catch The Campaign. I really hope the previews haven’t shown all the good stuff already.

The rest of the weekend is devoted to relaxing and catching up with friends. So what about you? Any big plans?

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Book Review: How It All Began

As part of my effort of staying healthy, I bring my lunch to work almost every day. And given there are few options for lunch, it’s really the best decision. Rather than surf the web or work and eat, I usually read over the lunch hour to give my eyes a break from the computer monitor, although I’m not sure reading is that much a of a recovery. Anyone know?

I recently finished How It All Began by Penelope Lively. Like The Year We Left Home, I found this to be quite an enjoyable novel. One that had me a bit reflective on life and the course we each take.

Ms. Lively tells the story of how one event lead to a chain reaction changing the lives of seven individuals, sending these characters’ stories off into new directions, perhaps even forever changing their dreams and desires. Everything is set into motion with the mugging of a retired literature teacher named Charlotte Rainsford on a spring day in London.  As Charlotte heals she ponders the indignities of aging and often reflects on the past. Being a literature teacher, Charlotte also finds comfort in her books, which is something I can definitely relate too.

The story is a pleasant respite from the work day or a comforting way to wind down before bed. I highly recommend How It All Began. I think I may even seek out other books by Ms. Lively. Have you read any of her other books? If so, do you have one you would recommend?

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