Earlier this month, local distiller Still 630 released his new whiskey made of sorghum. Still 630 is one man, David Weglarz, and what a guy he is. Single-handedly running his distillery and making sure his whiskeys (ryes “Rally Point” and “Maple Sunset”, as well as white dog “Big Jake”) and rum (“Soulard Island Rum”) are available at nearly every respectable drinking establishment and spirits shop in St. Louis, Mr. Weglarz is one of the hardest working people I know.
Distilling his first-class spirits in a modestly small building (a former Hardee’s) in the heart of our city on 4th Street, just a stone’s throw from Busch Stadium, Still 630 is quintessentially St. Louis. I believe that Mr. Weglarz is as honored to have his spirits embraced and enjoyed by so many St. Louisans, just as much as so many St. Louisans are proud to consider his spirits our own.
So I, being such a big fan of this local distillery, didn’t have to think twice about heading down to the distillery the morning after first hearing of his latest product, “S.S. Sorghum” whiskey. When I think of sorghum, I think of a type of molasses because of some syrups I’ve purchased in old-fashioned Americana-type shops, but although I find science fascinating, I’m terrible at knowing anything about it and/or anything earth or plant-related. (I feel proud that I can identify a Bradford Pear or an Oklahoma Redbud tree, and that’s about the extent of my botany knowledge.) So I really didn’t even know what sorghum really is, but Wikipedia tells me it’s a type of grass maybe? Who knows?
But I know that Dave made a whiskey out of it, so I headed downtown first thing in the afternoon. In fact, my little man and I found ourselves in the position to purchase the very first bottle of this new whiskey (see picture)! Obviously that’s a photo of a proud dad and son.
This is good drink, and a nice something that’s unique to add to one’s home bar. Below is the official tasting notes on the back of the bottle, and in my humble opinion it reminds me of a slightly rum-ish bourbon. Very interesting flavor and very good.
2.25oz Still 630 “S.S. Sorghum” whiskey
1/4oz simple syrup
2d Angostura bitters
Served over ice, with a lemon twist
“S.S. Sorghum” can be purchased at the distillery on 4th Street. Learn more about Still 630 here.
Happy new year everyone! I only posted one new blog entry in 2013, but I’ve stayed active on Twitter (@scientistmcgee) and Instagram (@scientistmcgee), as well as peddling vintage cocktail glasses on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/scientistmcgee).
My only 2013 post followed the birth of my first kid and introduced the “Little Man” drink I rolled in tribute to him. As I assumed, from that point on I really have not set aside the time to write lengthy blog posts. That does not mean in any way that I have not been enjoying the art of drinking well and reading worthwhile cocktail books and literature this past year. I have certainly been doing that! In fact I think I’ve had more fun sharing my experiences on Twitter and Instagram, because it’s afforded me the opportunity to meet and interact a lot more with new friends and interesting folks who enjoy cocktails as well… such as Cori Paige (Under My Host), Dave Weglarz (StilL 630), Sara Graham (Dishcrawl St. Louis), Bill Foster (The Big O), and others on Twitter and Instagram such as @DrinkDMV, @WorthyBar, @AmuseDouche11, @The_Warthog and @TheDuke001. Twitter and Instagram offer such an interactive forum, where there’s so much more back-and-forth and sharing between others I can learn from and enjoy with. So much so that I got my first opportunity in 2013 to sell my Etsy vintage glassware in a face-to-face public setting because I met Sara Graham through posting pics on Twitter.
So needless to say, I’m certainly grateful for the role WordPress has played in this fun hobby of mine. Without WordPress, there would be no “Scientist McGee”. This is where my alter-ego and hobby persona was born. It’s what encouraged me to foster and grow my interest, by allowing me to connect with others in the first place. The cool thing is that according to my “annual WordPress report” below, my blog brought in 6,400 visitors, although I only had one new post. That’s because what I write about and share isn’t “breaking news”… it’s got no “limited shelf-life” or “expiration date” of relevancy. I write about a time-honored tradition that has been around for over 100 years, and hopefully will never go away… the cocktail. And although new drinks will be concocted, and new spirits and cordials invented, as well as new methodologies in which to make new libations will be tried, the basics and fundamentals of making a good drink will outlive me. That’s why I’m happy that what I’ve written about on this world wide web will always serve as a decent resource to others when googling subjects such as “chocolate bitters”, “yellow chartreuse” and “how much is a ‘dash’?”. I love it when I myself google a drink recipe for reference, and my own blog pops up as a good resource!
So although 2013 has not been a busy year for me in regards to WordPress, it has in fact been a very busy year in my personal family life, as well as my drinking life over on Twitter, Instagram and Etsy. So if you only see me on WordPress occassionally, thanks, and I’ll see you from time to time. But if you want to join me over on these other sites, and enjoy drinks together much more often, it would make me very happy as well.
I can promise you one thing about WordPress, and that’s that I will have at least one new post in 2014. Once a year, I post my updated “Scientist McGee Cocktail Menu” for my home bar, updating editions annually to include all the new drinks I’ve tried in the prior year. Although I’ll need to find the time to do so, I do plan to post an updated year-end “cocktail menu” within the next month or so.
So stay tuned and keep your glasses chilled!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
Where to begin this SMcG post? It’s my first post since December of last year, and a lot’s happened and changed since then. Most significantly, I’m a dad now! My wife and I had our first baby on May 23rd, and his name’s Elliott. If you do the math, he’s not even 3 weeks old yet, and I’ve been off on leave of absence from work this whole time (I go back to work this Friday).
So although I’ve got numerous new cocktails I’ve tried since December 2012 to write about, I guess it’s only fitting that I start with an original one I created specifically to mark the occasion of our little man Elliott’s birth… It’s called “The Little Man”. In addition to this drink (the most important one to me), I’ve got 19 other new drinks I’ve mixed up for the first time, and one delicious punch on top of that, since my last entry. There’s no way though that I’d want to even write about that many all in one post, nor could I even do so if I wanted to, what with the 3-week old baby in the house and all. So I’m going to keep this post really short and sweet, in hopes that by doing so, I’ll be more inclined to write more frequently than I’ve been doing recently.
So for sake of brevity, I’ll keep this post to two drinks – two cocktails that I invented in fact… “The Little Man” and “The Billiken”. Although the Little Man is the drink closest to my heart, the Billiken is the original creation that I’m most proud of simply because it’s a damn good drink (if I do say so myself). The Billiken was created back in March during the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament in tribute to my hometown school and alma mater college basketball team of Saint Louis University.
1.5 oz Still 630 rye whiskey
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Meletti amaro
2-3 dashes of simple syrup
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash lavender bitters
Shake well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange twist
Many of these ingredients play a specific role in the characteristics of a drink created in homage to my baby boy Elliott…
The Still 630 rye whiskey because his dad loves rye whiskey and this particular rye because it’s a great St. Louis whiskey. I love my hometown of St. Louis, and I’m excited to share my love for this town with little Elliott. The lemon and amaro because when Elliott’s throwing a fuss, he can be a bit sour and bitter. But then you add the simple syrup and lavender bitters because in the end, he’s just a sweet little baby who happens to smell like flowers (at least to his parents). (The orange bitters and garnish don’t have any special meaning.)
But above all cheesy symbolism, the drink’s a fun one to drink. It’s a refreshing drink that I think would appeal to many different folks… it’s a sour while still being a mellow, smooth drink. I think that the variety of ingredients, from the amaro to the simple syrup to the lavender bitters to the lemon create a few different layers of subtleties, and offer a little bit of something for everyone’s tastes. A good drink for a great time in my life. Cheers to Elliott!
1 1/2 oz Plymouth gin
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
1/4 oz St. Germain
1 dash of Boker’s bitters
Stir well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon peel hugging 3 blueberries
Of all the spirits to choose from, I figured gin spoke to me most when it came to basketball. (Whiskey just doesn’t seem like a basketball liquor.) The particular ingredients in this drink are fitting because, like SLU, none of them are particularly cheap (inexpensive). Also, these specific ingredients (ie. Lillet, St. Germain) tend towards the fancier and “less rugged” persuasion, I guess you might say… also similar to SLU and its student body. Lastly, the blueberries fit the school colors and may serve as a loose reference to basketballs. But most importantly, it’s a well built and tasty drink. I think of it as sort of an “elegant Corpse Reviver”… light, fancily delightful and delicious… like a ballet or a good game of college basketball.
Why not throw one more drink in to this post for good measure, now that I’m on a roll (and the kid’s being good and napping)! (kind of like a bonus hidden track on a ’90’s cd, eh?)
I don’t want this post to be only drinks I made up, so here’s a good one as we hit our summer stride… the “Summer Relief” from Matt Seiter’s book “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”. This drink is downright delicious! It’s one of the heartiest gin drinks I’ve ever had. The grapefruit, honey syrup and surprisingly the St. Germain all add up to provide a substantial body for the drink. It’s a substantial and hearty drink, but also kind of a “girly” drink. But I don’t use the adjective “girly” to mean anything but awesome. I mean it in the highest form of praise that I can… like a fashion model with great style and amazing perfume. (I know that that is probably the absolute weirdest description of a drink that you’ll find in this entire Scientist McGee blog, but it’s in my notes and I trust my notes and my seemingly tipsy self from February, and it does ring a bell and I remember feeling strongly about this, so there you go! ha! ha!)
1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz honey syrup (1:1 water:honey)
1/4 oz St. Germain
Shake well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with grapefruit
(“Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”)