In the Spirit

Three Top o’ the Mornin’

New additions to the Jameson family

By Tony Cross

When I think of Saint Patrick’s Day, my mind immediately goes to green beer and Jameson. Let’s talk about the latter, and how you can still have a good time without compromising your body’s well-being the morning after.

A little over one year ago, I was asked if my company would like to participate in a Bartender’s Ball in Raleigh. The event was held at a nice craft cocktail bar, Watts & Ward, who would be the host to over 350 bartenders from across the surrounding counties. It was sponsored by Jameson, who used the party as an opportunity to showcase their ever-popular Irish whiskey, as well as three whiskies new to the Jameson family: Jameson Black Barrel, Caskmates IPA Edition, and the Caskmates Stout Edition. There were different stations at different bars that night. Our job was to integrate the Black Barrel Whiskey into one of our mixes. We blew through four kegs (that’s 400 cocktails) of our Black Barrel Strawberry Mules, in just over one hour. It was so much fun for a couple of reasons: 1) the look on everyone’s faces when they took their first sip; and 2) being able to keep a long line moving at a brisk pace showcases our product and means even more when they are all bartenders. Since that night, I’ve been able to team up with Jameson for other projects and balls. In January, we took our kegs to Raleigh Beer Garden and emptied six of them containing our Jameson Grapefruit Mules in two hours. Insane. So, I guess you can say that I’ve had a little experience with the new editions of Jameson. Here’s a rundown on all three (on sale this month at our local ABC), and why enjoying them at home or in your favorite establishment can change up your normal pickleback routine. 

Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey

As they tell it on their website (and rightly so), in big, bold print: “Triple distilled, flame charred, for a rich smooth taste.” It’s no secret in the bourbon whiskey — and now even craft beer — community that re-aging in charred barrels adds much more complexity and depth in the finished product. The same holds true for this Irish whiskey. This is the first of the three on this list that I was able to taste and tinker with over a year ago. I was impressed by how complex it is. Vanilla and a toasted nuttiness stuck out to me; it’s not over the top, but just enough to sit there on your palate, empowering you to want more. That’s right: Good spirit on my tongue makes me feel empowered. To each his/her own. Anywho, enjoy Black Barrel neat, or even with ginger beer. May I suggest our draught ginger beer? I mean, after all, 300 bartenders can’t be wrong . . .

Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition

Jameson took their signature Irish whiskey and added it to an undisclosed “craft” brewery’s IPA barrel. The result is a very clean, drinkable and interesting whiskey. Whatever notes you may pick up on your palate, try again by pairing with a mid-range hoppy IPA. How do the flavors change? You might taste notes of apple, spice and citrus; the hops should shine through a bit after that beer pairing, too. Drink this neat, as an IPA back, or even with sparkling water and grapefruit bitters.

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition

So, the story is:

Shane Long, owner and brewer from Franciscan Well Brewery, sat down one day for a meeting with Dave Quinn, head of whiskey science, at Jameson. Shane wanted to swap barrels, because he believed that his stout and Jameson Irish whiskey would complement each other greatly. Turns out he was right. The Stout edition is definitely a sipping whiskey. I mean, it’s still Jameson, but it doesn’t make me want to make crazy cocktails with it. It’d work, but with the notes of chocolate and coffee, I just want it neat. Or in an Old-Fashioned. Close enough, right?

What’s great about all three of these additions is that there are no sugary additives, which will hopefully help out with that morning-after hangover.

Caskmates Stout Old-Fashioned

2 ounces Jameson Caskmates Stout

1/4 ounce rich demerara syrup

5 drops Crude Big Bear Coffee and Cocoa Bitters

1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing vessel. Add ice and stir enough to get it chilled and properly diluted. Strain over a rocks glass with large cube. Take an orange peel, expressing the oils over the drink, and rimming the glass before placing it in.   PS

Tony Cross is a bartender who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines.

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