Keep your eyes on the ryes.


Sriracha (Photo credit: barron)

Rye is to whiskey what Sriracha is to Tabasco. Both have a well-established and much desired position in our universe, and each have the reputation of inspiring vast enthusiasm. The result is occasional overkill.

As much as I recognize the benefits of adding certain flavors to my cooking that will heighten and enhance the foods present in the pan, there are times where I find myself twisting open the green cap on a bottle of Sriracha sauce, tilting its bottom skyward and going at it like it was a can of Rediwhip—Animal House style.

Of course, after an episode such as this one, I’ll have satiated my desire for a walloping dose of bright, zingy heat, but I’ll also have combustible breath for the next hour capable of setting the couch on fire with nothing more than a yawn.

When it comes to rye spirits, I’m drawn to the spicy kick—the dry, peppery pow that grabs hold of your taste buds with two fists and uses your tongue like a toboggan. Yet I’m a novice in the area of knowledge and know-how, and I find myself thirsty for the scholarship I lack. Happily, I carry around the one thing necessary for growth:


And since I want nothing more than to make this a companionable journey of discovery, I’ve taken all the work out of the hunt for comprehension and made it nothing more than a point and click chronicle. We’ll put ourselves in the hands of those artful and cultivated individuals who have years of experience and the desire to share them.

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a wee dram and put down the Sriracha. Let’s read about rye.

Michael Dietsch puts you through the paces with a 101 basics Guide to Rye.

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This New York Times article fills in a lot of gaps with a solid dose of history, an in-depth look at the new revival and visitation tips on what to see and taste firsthand.

Here are five ideas for incorporating your newly purchased bottles into hip and trendy cocktail components. Dabble a little. Play budding bartender.

Find out what’s on offer in the world of rye. Something just might tickle your fancy. Here are a few suggestions:

Jack Daniels white whiskey

Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye

Jefferson’s 10 year old Rye

Russel’s Reserve

Reservoir (a personal favorite)

I think that’s enough for us to noodle on for now. And just like with hot sauce and hooch, exercising one’s mental muscle calls for moderation.


Don’t forget to check out what I blethered on about this week on the main post page (here) and find out what’s cookin’ in the scullery too (here)!


7 thoughts on “Keep your eyes on the ryes.

  1. my “local” beer(& whiskey) store here in Rifle (CO) bought their very own barrell of George Dickel — however many years ago, in the embryonic to-be-aged state. they put their matured bottles out on sale, but at about twice the price the Forbes article mentioned. i suspect it’s ’cause the stuff is older, heartier? 4 whatever its wurth: i wasn’t that impressed. but i’m waitin’ for them to lower the price …

    • Well older doesn’t necessarily indicate worthiness and therefore a higher price. But older does mean you’ve got stock sitting on a shelf and that’s a lot of dosh held up in inventory–one you’re gambling will taste better than the new make spirit.
      I’d be curious to know what your store’s buyer ended up thinking after a compare and contrast. So much depends upon what they barreled it in, where they aged it, the ventilation, if there was a full moon in Guatemala when they finally bottled it–I think you get my point. I’m always surprised at how “flavor” arrives in the bottle. Fascinating stuff.
      And thanks a million for reading (and commenting). I hope it’s worthy of the few minutes spent. Slainte, Betunada!

  2. some good stuff: TENTH (10th) MOUNTAIN DIVISION (they say they’re from “Vail” but it’s ’cause Edwards (axual source) is somewhat close to Vail. also HIGH WEST (Park City Utah). Don’t buy Wyoming Whiskey! and Tincup (spin-off of Stranahan’s) is mediocre. Woodford’s (mite have name Ncorrect? — “official whiskey of the Kentukkee Durbee”) has a double-something somewhat small(er) batch which is what helps me melt into the couch recent nights … (my me(s)mory is GOING faster than anything arrives. XXXXsell rrr ayting …)

    • I’ve not heard of the Tenth Mountain Division, but again, I’ve got such a small collection of ryes, I’m not surprised. But Woodford makes some of the best ryes I’ve yet to taste. Definitely a fan. Thanks for the recommendation.

        • I tried A D Laws (4 grain) ((Denver)) and it’s probably ’cause I have little or no “taste” — but it was rather bland. yeah, sigh, i’m not sensitive enuff. however: just yesterday I wuzz gonna buy a Stranahan’s and the particular store personnel directed me, instead, to something for half the price I had forgotten about — Evan Williams single-barrel-vintage bourbon. as good as anything one can purchase for under $30, and kills the strep throat germs …

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