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A chance meeting and a nice cocktail …

So there I am, minding my own business, sipping glass in hand and fighting my way through the massed hordes at Whisky Fest when I walked up to the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey table and lo to my surprise but I come face to face with someone who, in mixology circles, I admire quite a bit.  Jason Litrell, a Star Chefs Rising Star, plies his trade to great effect at must see places such as Death & Co. and Dram.

Upon seeing Jason I extended my hand, introduced myself and asked him why he was manning the table.  He indicated that he was working with the company and had created a drink for them to show case the spirit. The recipe below is his creation and upon sampling I knew that I had to try this one at the home base and so I took one of the recipe cards provided.  Jason and I chatted briefly, I thanked him for his efforts and continued fine work and off I went to sample more goodies at other tables.

It dawned on me a bit later that, as far as I could tell, no other spirits companies had created a similar experience as the Michael Collins table — letting you not only sample their spirit on its own but also in cocktail form.  This struck me as a being some what odd; I would hazard to guess that only die hard aficionados drink a spirit neat and even then likely with chilled water added.  Most will either drink it on the rocks or in cocktail form and presenting a sample cocktail strikes me as a great bridge to help build recognition of a brand.

In any event it was great meeting Jason, trying his drink and then re-making it at the home base.

Director of Intelligence
Created by Jason Litrell for Michael Collins Irish Whiskey

•    2 oz Michael Collins Blended Irish Whiskey (Redbreast Irish Whiskey was used as this was all I had)
•    1/2 oz Carpano Antica
•    1/2 oz simple syrup
•    1/4 oz John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
•    1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Garnish: none
Glass: coupe
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon and a julep strainer

Assembly: Mix all of the ingredients with ice until well chilled and strain into the serving glass.

The Verdict: Well done Jason.  The drink has a nice wave of spicy aromas that fill the nose and this pattern extends onto the palate.  It is no surprise that one would get layered waves of spice and sweetening notes given that four out of the five ingredients can be considered to add spice while four out of the five ingredients also impart their own form of sweetness. What you get in the glass then are wave after wave of flavors and layered nuances of sweetness.  My only real quip is that while I was able to detect the Irish whiskey I’m not sure that it held up best, or added the most, to the mixture (I’m thinking of a rather strong flavored bourbon right now). This one quip aside, it is still a very nice drink to try.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 3 3/4  stars (out of 5)

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