Cheers! Getting cozy with a Frisky Elk
Stump the chump
Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings said nothing. She simply placed a small glass of some kind of spirit on the table.
Lester: All right, what are you up to here?
Tammy: It's a mystery.
Tammy: I want you to try something that I brought back with me from my trip up north, but I don't want you to know anything about it when you try it.
Lester: So, I don't get to know the distiller. I don't get to know what kind of spirit this is. Nothing.
Lester: All right. (takes a sip) Well, it's some kind of whiskey, a rye, I'm guessing.
Tammy: Keep talking. Tell me more.
Lester: I'm catching vanilla like you often do. Oak tannins are there. There's something else, though, that I can't actually identify. I'm not sure what it is.
Tammy: [Take another sip. You kind of really don't taste anything on the first sip. You got to try again. Remember to breathe in and breathe out because a lot of what it is is actually smell.
Lester: I can't pin it. I cannot figure out what that is.
Tammy: This is a barrel aged gin.
Lester: You're kidding!
Tammy: I know, right?
Gin or rye?
Now, I’ve tasted barrel aged gin before, but it never reminded me of any kind of whiskey.
Tammy says this gin, Ethanology’s Ferox Barrel Aged Summer Gin, is different because it’s aged in new charred oak barrels just like a bourbon or a rye would be. Most gins are barrel aged in used oak barrels.
The botanicals I couldn’t figure out were yarrow flower, sumac berry, Michigan juniper, and burdock root.
Since Cheers! is always about cocktail, I wondered what Tammy had in mind. She had a few ideas she considered. The trick was, what do you do with a gin that tastes like rye whiskey with mysterious botanicals?
She said at the Ethanology’s tasting room in Elk Rapids (they call it a the Spirit House), they use the gin as basically a rye substitute.
Tammy had a thought.
“Something called the Frisco Sour. There was a classic cocktail that was rye whiskey and Benedictine, the Frisco. And then somebody made rye whiskey, Benedictine, and lemon juice, the Frisco Sour.
She mixed it up and it was outstanding.
You cannot call this drink a Frisco Sour; it’s different. So,Tammy named it the Frisky Elk.
2 oz Ethanology Ferox Barrel Aged Summer Gin (best substitute: rye whiskey)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish.
Note: when made with rye whiskey, this is a Frisco Sour
Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.