Posted: March 27, 2023 in Uncategorized

There seems to be no end to the bourbon craze, and until it does end, I’m constantly looking for new bargains. For example, for a long time, my go-to bourbon was Eagle Rare 10 Year Old, which I could get for about $32 a bottle. It’s now up to $70 a bottle in some places. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not complaining. It probably deserves that price, being a 10 year old. But I’m not going to buy it for mixed drinks anymore. A good choice to replace Eagle Rare is Buffalo Trace. Interestingly, both are made by the Buffalo Trace distillery. But I can’t always find Buffalo Trace when I want it, so I needed to find something else. What I found was 1792 Small Batch.

A Manhattan or a Boulevardier, shown here, needs a solid bourbon that doesn’t break the bank. 1792 is a good choice.

1792 Small Batch bourbon is my latest bang-for-the-buck bargain bourbon find. At $28.99 for a 750 ml bottle, you just can’t beat it for mixing or dropping a big cube in it for sipping.

Barton 1792 Distillery makes the 1792 line of bourbons. They were established in 1879, and continue today as the oldest fully operational distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.

I originally thought the name 1792 came from the year the distillery first created it, but in actuality, 1792 was the year Kentucky, widely recognized as the birthplace of bourbon, became a state.

I wasn’t much of a gin drinker until my recent trip to New Zealand, where I discovered a whole new world of gin.

But before my trip, I was looking for a London dry gin to use in my Vesper martini recipe, and had heard about Ford’s gin. It didn’t take much convincing for me to try it when I saw that the price was $28.99 for a full liter!

Enjoying a Vesper martini at home.

Ford’s London Dry Gin was created by Simon Ford, a man who was looking for one gin that would work in all of the gin cocktails out there, making it the bartenders’ choice for any gin cocktail. With the help of bartenders, distillers, and avid drinkers, he came up with this London dry gin, featuring nine botanicals. It’s delicious, not overpowering like many gins can be, so it really does work well with any recipe you might use gin for.

In addition to taste, he thought about the bartenders themselves. The bottle is tall and ergonomically shaped, making it very easy to handle. Back when I was considering going to market with my homemade honey liqueur, the shape and size of the bottle was an incredibly important decision. Shorter, wider bottles might be put in the front row of a bar, but they’re more difficult to pour, and small hands can’t hold them properly. A taller bottle is easy to spot, and easier to handle. Ask any bartender, and they will tell you that they will go for the bottle that’s easiest to use if they have to make drinks all night long. 

The bottle also has measurement markings on the side, which allows you to measure out enough for large batches of martinis, say, if you’re having a party.

But the best part of all is the value. And it’s great in a Vesper or a simple gin and tonic.

Much of my new gin knowledge came from my recent trip to New Zealand. I had some interesting conversations with Nick, the owner of Kismet Cocktail & Whisky Bar in Nelson, NZ, a very well stocked bar with a very enthusiastic and knowledgable staff. Finding a place like that in your own town is not as easy as it sounds, as many bars stock the same booze from the same suppliers and don ‘t really make an effort to stand out in the crowd. If you find a place like that, consider yourself lucky!

Kismet, in Nelson, NZ.

  1. Matthew Milukas says:

    FYI, my Costco here in Santa Cruz CA usually has Buffalo Trace.


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