Posts tagged ‘Whiskey’

Great Lakes Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit – Great Lakes Distillery, LLC

What can I say? Besides being awesomely dramatic, apparently some of our product photos are also prophetic. Okay, okay. Maybe that’s giving us a little too much credit, but you have to agree that our feature on Lakefront Pumpkin Lager was more than a little foreshadowing. If you don’t believe me, check back to last year’s review. Go on, I’ll wait:

See what I mean?


Name: Great Lakes Pumpkin Seasonal Spirit

Place of Origin / Distiller: Wisconsin, USA / Great Lakes Distillery

ABV: 45%

Specialty Prep/ Individuality:

This Limited edition whiskey is distilled from the essence of the Lakefront Pumpkin Lager (grain and pumpkin with spices based on Thomas Jefferson’s Recipe) and aged in new and used oak bourbon barrels. We reviewed Bottle 5/3407, Batch 5, which was beautifully hand numbered and dipped in orange wax. Even the label design is a throwback to the beer it is distilled from.


Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit first meets the glass with beautiful, brassy, golden-orange hues, very closely resembling an old cask scotch. Contrarily, the nose is extremely reminiscent of a younger corn whiskey, combining elements of white dog, and sweet pumpkin, but, besides some faint wisps of ginger, little to no spice.

Our initial delving was taken neat, and, once past the lips, clove and nutmeg emerged in gobs, with a splash of cinnamon to boot. A very pleasant surprise given the relative quietude of the nose. Both smooth and sensuous on the tongue, it has an admirable heat, though far from overwhelming. Equal parts sweet bourbon and malt whisky, this sucker comes of nicely balanced between opposing palatial preferences.

Once the taste buds have adapted to the slightly elevated proof, it’s remarkable how the mash bill so perfectly reflects the sweet pumpkin lager that provides its origins. It’s creamy, and light on the palate, and given an ice cube or splash of water, is almost as refreshing as a cold beer itself.

Though we didn’t get into them ourselves (mostly because my bar accoutrements are packed in boxes until we get into the new house next week), there is a substantial list of cocktail suggestions provided through Great Lakes Distilling’s website. It’s not hard to see how this would make an excellent mixer, and comparably to pumpkin liqueurs and mixers, provide a subtle and solid backbone to a classic cocktail, rather than dominating the other elements.

Suffice to say, if you’re a real whiskey fan looking for something with a little “seasonal spirit”, it’s an absolute no brainer to pick this up. And if you happen to be in the Milwaukee area on October 9th, stop by the distillery for the 3rd Annual Release Party, and dip your own bottle in that shiny orange wax.


Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur – Pernod Ricard

Name:  Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

Place of Origin / Distiller: New York, USA / Hiram Walker (Pernod Ricard, USA)

ABV%:  15%


It’s that time of year again. You know, the one where all the ominous holiday schnapps hit the shelves?  Fear not. We are here, and our livers are willing to take a beating in order to take the guesswork out of the multitude of dessert flavored liquids at your disposal.

Today’s order of business is Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur, and if the sheer number of recipes for Pumpkintini’s kicking around online is any indication, you’re going to end up in the same room with it sometime soon.

Now, we’ll be the first to admit that the artificial orange color is a bit off-putting, however, the balance of this is pour is extremely tasty. For those of you looking for something that imparts no alcohol flavor, it provides a bit of pumpkin with a solid spice finish. Taken straight it’s incredibly smooth, if overtly fruity. It does however, succeed in avoiding the sugar saturated liqueur vibe, and acts nicely as a flavoring agent for your preferred cocktail.

We were also impressed with the recipes provided by Hiram Walker, as the liqueur added just enough pumpkin flavor to make our concoctions shine. Straight from the label we tried the Classic Pumpkintini (a straight vodka and liqueur pour), The Jack O’tini (a pumpkin and ginger twist on an Irish whiskey sour), and an Autumn Russian (essentially a pumpkin white Russian, though this is where the product really shined brightest).

All in all, Hiram Walker’s Pumpkin Spice liqueur adds a nice seasonal touch to a bevy of classic cocktails. So if you’re looking for a Fall twist for non-beer drinkers, simple mixology fun, or just really love the hell out of some pumpkin in your drink, you’ll be glad to know that Hiram Walker hits shelves September 15th.

Pumpkin Spice Cordial Syrup – Fee Brothers

Name:  Pumpkin Spice Cordial Syrup

Place of Origin / Produced by:  New York, USA / Fee Brothers

ABV: Non- Alcoholic


Family owned and operated since 1864 (now in their fourth generation), Fee Bros. is hardly an unknown quantity in the craft cocktail realm. Thusly, we felt compelled to review this product. Though it may not be technically alcoholic in and of itself, it is certainly designed to bring pumpkin and spice in abundance to your favorite libations. What we found was a very nicely balanced syrup that spices up a bevy of drink concoctions.

We mixed up three of the recommended drinks listed right on the bottle :

The Pumpkin Slide (an Irish whiskey and cream concoction) that brought out the best of both aspects of the drink — Pleasantly sweet and creamy, with a smooth pumpkin finish heavy on cinnamon and nutmeg.

The Ichabod Crane, made with Fee’s, 151, and two scoops of vanilla was an ice cold belly warmer, if a little stiff on the rum side. Taking it down a bit would make this fresh eggnog-esque drink a bit smoother for the novice liver.

The Pumpkin Pie latte with a simple shot of syrup rivaled any $5.00 coffee you can find commercially, for the cost of a pod and a shot of syrup. Ready in mere minutes from home, it is perhaps the best of the pumpkin spice incarnations.

As always, Fee Brothers has produced a top quality syrup that mixes well for any occasion. It has a great fall aroma imparting cinnamon and clove. Make a drink of your own design or follow the simple recipes from the label. Either way you’re getting a great pumpkin flavored cocktail that is sure to impress.

Pumpkin Spice Moonshine – Corsair Artisan, LLC


Name:  Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

Distiller:   Corsair Artisan, LLC / Bowling Green, Kentucky

On the list of craft distilling’s rising stars, it wouldn’t be hard to find Corsair. Focusing on a number of quirky twists for old favorites, and particularly oriented to a cocktail making atmosphere, they’ve cranked out some unusual and exotic recipes in the past few years. This one is definitely up there among them.

Moonshine you say. Really? Well, to be fair, this does have a place here. In fact, some of the first words on the bottle claim this young whiskey is inspired by pumpkin ales. So at least you’ll have something to turn to when your friend’s try to give you that sass about pumpkin beer being for lady types. Pot distilled from malted barley and wheat, the vapor basket is then loaded with ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and pumpkin, then re-distilled once more for a smoother blend.

From first exposure Corsair’s label embodies slick confidence with geometric psychedelia and three suited and shaded hit-man looking guys in full strut, (looking more Rockstar than Turkish Privateer). Further nice touches include the hand labeling and bottling (we got batch 5, bottle 30/36), as well as the signature of the distiller.

What of the spirit itself you ask? Admittedly, we opted for the more traditional moonshine standard (straight up) rather than the cocktail approach (it’s specifically suggested for a Manhattan). Those of us initiated in the whiskey world quickly found this crystal clear white dog spirit to be heavy on the wheat and fairly smooth on the palate (relatively speaking). While we had a bit of a tough time getting behind the “pumpkin pie in a glass” claim, there’s no denying that the pumpkin and spices make an appearance. However, the pumpkin seems to take on a much more vegetal note (subbing in for the palate of corn in the front of the moonshine, and to a more sour turn in the finish), and the spices appear neatly subdued in the end. Adding a bit of mixer to it certainly brought out the sweeter notes though, laying some legitimacy that this is a craft cocktail oriented spirit. (If you haven’t tried the infamous West Virginia Bomb (that’d be mountain dew and your favorite moonshine), you’re missing out on a party standard).

All in all, Corsair may have on their hands more of a novelty than a staple here, but it’s solidly crafted, and at 42.5% abv, gets you done faster than any pumpkin beer will. It would be hard to kill a bottle by yourself before the season was out though, so take it on your Halloween party circuit, warm some bellys,  and expand a few people’s horizons.