March 6th, 2014 by Linda Elbert
Do You Remember Ben Web?
Award Winning Mixologist?
The Man Who Made the Mifflin?
If you attended his fabulous Craft Cocktail Class last summer at Five Crowns or sampled his award winning cocktail The Mifflin at the Bungalow, I am sure you do!
Ben will be working his cocktail wizardry with American Rye Whiskey at “Taste the Ark of Taste,” a garden chef event co- sponsored by Slow Food Orange County and SEEDS Art & Education, Inc.on April 12. Ben will craft a cocktail using a American Rye Whiskey from a small batch producer using traditional distilling methods and free of genetically modified grains. Ben will craft a unique cocktail for the evenings event!
Why American Rye Whiskey?
American Rye Whiskey is on the Slow Food Ark of Taste for the USA. Once an American staple, rye whiskey started a transition becoming an American relic with the loss of rye fields during prohibition and continued with the rise of imported liquors. The federal government imposed a tax on distilled liquors during the 1790s. American citizens erupted in outrage over their beloved American Rye Whiskey, going so far as to initiate the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. President George Washington himself amassed militia members to put down the rebellion in what is considered our nation’s first test in law enforcement. Interestingly, George Washington maintained a still at his Mount Vernon estate that he used to produce rye whiskey. At the time, rye was the most popular grain in the Eastern United States for producing whiskey. When Prohibition took effect in 1919, distillers in the southern states learned to make bourbon in the cornfields and Canadian versions of whiskey incorporated mixed grains. American rye fields declined in number and, soon, American rye whiskey became an American relic.
Rye whiskey is truly American invention only made with American grown, native rye grains as its primary mash. By law, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye but there are no regulations concerning the origin of the rye or the variety of rye. A small but growing number of American producers adhere to the traditional method of aging rye in un-charred oak barrels and using only American-grown, native rye varieties. The resulting product is lighter with spicier caramel notes and hints of orange peel, cardamom, mint, and butterscotch.