Marko’s Done it Again!! A look at Charbay’s Double & Twisted Whiskey

Marko Karakasevic, Master Distiller of Charbay Distilleries, has released another one of his unique limited bottlings. This time, Marko decided to take a bottle ready IPA and distill it with a final bottling strength of 99 proof (or 49.5% alcohol). Marko dubbed this new whiskey, “Double & Twisted”, a term coined in the days when most distillers didn’t know what the exact proof coming out of a copper pot still was after that second run through the still. This is the heart of the heart cut, aka the best of the best.

Starting with a bottle ready IPA, Double and Twister, takes you on a journey down a tunnel of intense and incredible flavors that begins with the palate-shattering notes of barley and toffee. The next step down this journey is filled with nuances of powered cocoa, burnt orange zest and in a surprise shift in direction, the presence fresh summer berries. And at the end of this trip, the warming wave goodbye of pepper that’s mellowed to perfection that’s reminiscent of a fruit punch.

Double & Twisted, retails for $58 and has a limited run of 135 cases, with availability limited to only California.

Final Score: 9/10

A look at Mejor Reposado and Anejo Tequilas.

So here’s an interesting experiment. What happens when you take one brand of tequila and taste it through from Blanco all the way through to the Anejo. How does it compare at each stage of aging?

Last year we took a look at Mejor’s Blanco and it left quite an impression on us. Recently we decided to take a look at a their Reposado, and Anejo offerings.

In our previous look at Mejor’s Blanco, we found an incredibly smooth spirit filled with characters ranging from vanilla crème, and crème brulee to minor notes of banana, and the occasional refreshing note of mint.

Keeping those flavors in mind, what happens when you first add seven to nine months of time in American Oak Barrels to this Blanco tequila . Well in this case, the Reposado teases you as soon as you open the bottle with aromas of cinnamon, agave, fresh grass so well defined that it makes you wonder what you’ll experience once you begin to introduce this spirit to your palate.

And that experience would be subtle notes of ginger, a touch of smoke, that’s followed up by black cherries, black licorice, and the occasional hint of cocoa.

As a final experiment, lets take that same tequila that we saw first unaged in the Blanco, then with about seven months of age on it in the Reposado and then let’s have it sit longer in those American Oak Barrels, for a time period between fourteen and twenty months.

And folks the result is Mejor’s Anejo offering. Does it stand up to flavors we’ve seen thus far in Mejor’s previous two offerings? It definitely doesn’t disappoint. Is it our favorite? Nope, that title still belongs to the Blanco, but only by a incredibly small margin. Mejor’s Anejo offering does make your palate do the “happy dance” . It achieves this with an introductory softness when it hits the mouth. As you let the Anejo caress your palate, warming notes of dark incredibly well defined chocolate welcome you, before introducing to seductive characters of cinnamon, and caramel. These notes yet again are pushed aside by a finish filled with sweet sherry, coffee and burnt cherries.

Mejor Tequila is currently working on an Extra Anejo, unfortunately it won’t be ready for at least another 24 months. While we wait, at least we have their Blanco and Reposado, and Anejo offerings to sip and. I guess we’ll have to make do with these three incredible tequila offerings.

Final Scores:

Mejor Reposado: 9/10

Mejor Anejo: 9/10

We decided to see how both the Mejor Reposado and Anejo worked in some new cocktails.

Census Perplexus
2oz Mejor Reposado
3/4 oz Marasaka
3/4 oz Canton Ginger
Bar Spoon Pacifique Absinthe
Bar Spoon Agave

Census Perplexus. A combination of Mejor Reposado, Maraska, Canton Ginger, Pacifique Absinthe and a Barspoon Agave Nectar

The Fleet of Three
1 ¾oz Mejor Anejo
Bar Spoon Carpano Antica
¾ oz Balvenie 12 year old Doublewood Whisky
¾ oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 Dashes Cherry Bitters

Garnish with Flamed Orange Peel

The Fleet of Three. A combination of Mejor Anejo, Carpano Antica, Balvenie 12, Cinnamon Syrup and Cherry Bitters.

A new recipe with Don Q Anejo Rum-Amélie’s Adventure

Amélie’s Adventure. A combination of Don Q Anejo Rum, Aperol, Green Chartreuse, Cinnamon Syrup, and Peychaud Bitters.

As a member of the NY Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (www.usbg.org) the opportunity often arises to enter cocktail competitions. Recently Don Q Rums held a contest looking for new original recipes with one of their Rum offerings, including Cristal(White), Mojito Flavored, Coconut Flavored, Gold, Anejo, and Grand Anejo.

Each chapter of the USBG had it’s own local competition, with the winner moving on the semi-finals, which will be held at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in New York City in May. Whoever wins this competition will move on to the International Final Competition with competitors from all the world competing for a Final Prize of $2,000, a $5,000 donation for the charity of the winners choice, and media exposure in Don Q Promotional Video’s and mention in Esquire Magazine.

After tasting through a portion of the line in order to begin to formulate my recipe and plan of attack, I decided to use the Don Q Anejo offering. When I first tasted through Don Q Anejo I was hit with notes of cocoa, hints of cinnamon and caramel, along with nuances of hazelnut and vanilla with a finish that introduced flavors of candied oranges.

With the flavors of cinnamon and orange in mind, I decided to combine the Anejo with some Aperol, some cinnamon syrup, and some Green Chartreuse to add a bit of a kick. Continuing to play off those cinnamon flavors I added 2 dashes of Peychaud bitters and garnished the drink with a piece of burnt orange zest.

While I didn’t win the local competition, my drink seemed to be very well received during the event. So I figured I’d share the recipe. Inspired and the French origin of Chartruese and the playfulness of how the ingredients seemed to work together, I named the cocktail after the famous French movie, Amélie as the drink seemed to be a bit playful as the title character was.

Amélie’s Adventure

2oz Don Q Anejo Rum
½ oz Aperol
¼ Bar Spoon Green Chartreuse
¾ Cinnamon Syrup
2 Dashes Peychaud Bitters
Shake with Ice, Strain
Serve up in Coupe
Garnish with a piece of burnt orange zest