White Pike Whiskey Review and the Idlewild Cocktail

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For full disclosure I did receive this bottle as a free sample from the fine folks at White Pike. I would also like to thank Asst. Brand Manager Mr. Steven Ljubicic for an engaging and informative meeting. Clearly the folks behind this product are passionate about good spirits and it shows.

White Pike Whiskey is a relatively new product, in the trendy category of white whiskey. The problem with trends is that they do not always translate into successful and sustainable projects over the long haul. Despite this, I believe that White Pike has the correct formula for creating a lasting quality spirit.

I rarely speak on the branding/packaging of a spirit, however, White Pike has created a design that will stand out on the back bar. Its black top is contrasted by the clear bottom, reminiscent of a tuxedo. This black and white theme extends through all of their branding. Black and white is a bold and classy choice and sets itself apart in an industry where the majority of label and bottle designs follow a predictable format.

White Pike is farmed, distilled, and bottled in and around Schuyler County, NY. Finger Lakes Distillery is the brain child of Brian McKenzie and Thomas McKenzie (no relation). Master Distiller Thomas McKenzie created White Pike from a recipe of corn (59%), spelt (28%) and malted wheat (13%). Mr. McKenzie has an extensive background in distillation, making him well suited to creating a White Whiskey. After distilling, the spirit is then aged for 18 minutes. Steven mentioned that this was a play on how Scotches take their age statements seriously and proudly display them on their bottles. White Pike decided to take this idea, and has instead placed their age statement on the side of the bottle. The subtle dig/inside joke is a cool idea. These 18 minutes (give or take) in no way imparts any oaky notes to the end product.

On the nose it smells of buttered toast with a hint of creamed corn and subtle alcohol.
The spirit is rich and silky in the mouth with a subtle corn note. It finishes clean and smooth with no trace of burn. This is clearly a well crafted spirit.

Idelwild
1 oz White Pike Whiskey
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 dash of Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
This is a nice take on a Negroni. The Aperol is a good choice because I think that the Campari would have overpowered the White Pike. Its a bittersweet take on the classic

The next drink is my own creation. I wanted to do something that was clear and silky smooth with a hint of spice.
Clear as Day
1.5 oz White Pike Whiskey
.5 oz St. Germain
.25oz Velvet Falernum
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
One of the coolest things about this drink is its color, or rather lack there of. Rarely do you come across a drink that is as crystal clear as water. The floral and spicy notes smoothly dance across the tongue with the whiskey serving to support the drink.

Lastly is a simple yet flavorful drink created by me.
The Forgotten Path
1.5 oz White Pike Whiskey
1 oz Averna
.25 oz lime juice
5 oz Ginger Ale (Fresh Ginger)
Shake first 3 ingredients over ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with Ginger Ale
Notes:
It is important to use a high quality ginger ale with some bite. I like Fresh Ginger as it is unfiltered and contains real ginger. Its sweet and spicy and was the perfect complement to the whiskey and averna. A simple and easy cocktail to construct that does not lack for flavor.
Whiskey and Averna

The Fior di Sicily

Looking for a drink can be a daunting task at times. Often I find myself flipping through recipes looking for something that calls out to me. I picked up a copy of Left Coast Libations which has a range of interesting and exciting cocktails from some of the best bartenders on the West Coast. One cocktail that immediately caught my eye was the Fior di Sicily, created by Chris Ojeda.

Unlike most cocktails, the Fior di Sicily does not contain a base spirit; there is no gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, etc. Secondly all of the ingredients are in equal proportions which is just as rare. It combines an interesting amaro, an orangey aperitif, one of my favorite sweet vermouth’s, and an elderflower liqueur.

Fior di Sicily
.75 oz Averna Amaro
.75 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
.75 oz Aperol
.75 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Stir all the ingredients with ice for 30 seconds (wet ice) or 50 seconds (large ice). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Flame the orange peel over the cocktail then drop in the peel.
Notes:
The color is rich and alluring. The orange oils float on the surface of the drink and its scent draws you in closer daring you to take a sip. The sweet notes of floral combine with the bitter and herbal notes to create a harmonious spirit. It has all the qualities of a fine wine that has been enriched and enhanced. This drink truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

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