Bourbon Bottles for Father's Day

If you haven’t figured out what to get your Dad for father’s day yet it is not too late for you snag a great present and become his favorite child. The secret is bourbon. Here are a few special version bottles that are sure to make your old man proud this Sunday and are still readily available in most liquor stores. And don’t forget that June 14th is National Bourbon Day so you have two reasons to celebrate this weekend.


Woodford Reserve Double Oaked: Woodford Reserve takes their finished bourbon and ages it again in a different barrel, this one twice as charred as the standard bourbon barrel. The result is a very smooth and creamy bourbon with just an edge of bite. I ordered this bourbon at a hotel bar and was seriously tempted to lick the glass when it was finished.


Maker’s 46: Maker’s Mark fans tend to be very loyal to their brand and unlikely to be swayed by gimmicks or flavoring. To make their special bottle they take the standard aged Maker’s Mark and then age them again inside barrels containing seared French oak staves. The idea is to create bolder, more complex flavors while eliminating the bitterness that usually comes with whiskeys that are aged longer. The Maker’s Mark fans I know seem to have embraced it and I can honestly say that I like it better than standard Maker’s. The 46 is complex with a sweet front and a strong finish. 


Knob Creek Single Barrel: If your dad likes the bold flavor of Jim Beam’s pre-prohibition style small batch bourbon, you can make it a day with only an extra $10 and get him the single barrel. This is a big bourbon with a big finish, which you would expect at 120 proof. As much as I hate the cliché, this is a pretty manly bourbon. Give it to your dad to take along for a weekend in a cabin or sipping in the man cave.



Wild Turkey Rare Breed:  If your dad will appreciate the pure flavor of a barrel proof bourbon but could do without as much burn this might be the bottle for you. Wild Turkey is already known for distilling at a lower proof so that they can bottle with less water. In their Rare Breed, they combine 6, 8 and 12 years old barrels but don’t add water so they all come out at barrel strength, in this case, a relatively modest 108.2 proof. It is a great value and despite Wild Turkey’s reputation as a rough and ready whiskey, it is surprisingly complex and smooth.


New Riff Ranger Program: Of course I can’t ignore fathers who are eager to support Cincinnati’s newest distillery and to get some pretty cool perks at the same time. For $60 your can buy your dad a membership to New Riff’s Ranger Program. Four years from now he will receive a hand bottled and personalized single barrel bourbon. In the meantime Rangers will receive a 10% discount on all non-alcoholic gift shop items, advance opportunity to purchase New Riff’s limited and rare releases, an insider newsletter, and exclusive invitations to bottling parties, including the bottling of his very own Ranger Bottle. For the dad that knows that good things come to those who wait. 


Four Roses Bourbon (Small Batch)

Hello Queen City Drinks!

I am thrilled to be joining the ranks of such distinguished and dipsomaniac writers. My name is Ginny Tonic. I am the co-host of The Charlie Tonic Hour, a Cincinnati-based podcast. Along with my side-kick Charlie we explore the best things in our world when it comes to life, music, reading, technology, alcohol, and events. We like to call ourselves an alcohol infused culture podcast with a side of sexy. You can get new shows every Wednesday on iTunes, Sticher, and right there on our website.

Although we include a drinks segment on every show, I was looking for another place to share my love of spirits and was thrilled to discover Queen City Drinks. Since I am new here I thought I would start with my favorite mid-range bourbon of the moment: Four Roses Small Batch.

four roses small batch
Photo by Stanley Forthright

Four Roses Small Batch

I first fell in love with Four Roses when I did the Bourbon Chase in 2010. A 200 mile team relay around the bourbon trail in Kentucky, with stops for tours and samples? How could I refuse. We stopped at the Four Roses distillery the morning of the second day. The beautiful grounds, friendly staff, and out-of-this-world bourbon balls won me over right away. They had a commemorative bottle ready for the runners to purchase so of course I had to take one home with me. Since then I’ve had some in the liquor cabinet whenever I can afford it.

four roses bourbon chase
I’m almost ready for another one.

Since buying the distillery and name from Seagrams in 2002, the current owners of Four Roses have been doing a great job of rebuilding the brand. They currently offer a yellow label, small batch, and single barrel bottles of their bourbon. In my opinion the small batch version of Four Roses hits the right interaction of price and taste.  At about $25 a bottle it has a lot more complexity of flavor than the yellow label, and while the single barrel is a better bourbon I don’t think it is an extra $8 a bottle better.

Four Roses Small Batch is a blend, but it’s a blend of no more than four different barrels that have been chosen by their master distiller. The result is a bourbon that is smooth and not too sweet. Good for sipping or in a Manhattan, but too good to mix with cola. It does have some heat to it. I get a slightly spicy flavor, with strong finish and a very pleasant nose. If you are looking for a good introduction to a slightly upper market bourbon with a little more complexity than Woodford Reserve or Makers Mark, I highly recommend Four Roses Small Batch.