Do a bit of Google-skipping, and you’ll learn that a host of marketing interns and VPS-of-communications at ad firms and liquor conglomerates have declared February 22 to be National Margarita Day — a transparent attempt, of course, to sell more tequila (a warm-weather spirit) during the winter. But the faux holiday is all that the millions of monkeys pounding on keyboards known as the Internet content-generating industry need to start churning out margarita-soaked blog posts.
Now, sadly, I’m one of the keyboard monkeys, not one of the liquor VPs, or I’d tell the liquor companies that the best way to sell tequila in the winter would be to focus on a good wood-aged añejo that would read more like a whiskey — and, as such, would help to warm the drinking public during blizzards this winter. Failing that, I’d at least go with a spicy tequila infusion that would bring a different kind of heat to your drinking experience. But instead, here I am, ranting away about whether anyone should be drinking margaritas before Memorial Day.
But this does give us occasion to back into a discussion of unaged “white” whiskey, a great bottle of which I sampled recently, when I toured Boston’s Bully Boy Distillery, which has been churning out spirits since 2011. (For more, read a long interview we did with Dave Willis, one of the brothers who runs Bully Boy.) Bully Boy makes an excellent white rum (with a dark rum coming in the next few months), a perfectly decent vodka, and whiskey. Their flagship straight American whiskey is good, and will get better (once they’re in business for a few more years, they’ll have barrels of whiskey aged 4-8 years to help mellow out their blend.)
But they also sell a “white” whiskey, which is something else entirely. See, whiskey begins its life looking a lot like rum. It’s a strong, clear liquor with a lot of flavors kicking around — some of them quite harsh, some of them surprisingly welcome. Time spent aging in charred oak barrels helps to mellow out those flavors and give whiskey its characteristic color and oakey flavor.
But if the whiskey is served “white”, and unaged, it’s essentially a fancy version of moonshine. Bully Boy’s white whiskey has a raw, earthy sweetness with some unexpected tropical notes, and a smooth finish (it is, after all, made in a carefully controlled professional distillery, not a copper still hidden a half-mile off some Appalachian foot trail). In short, it reads a lot like tequila, and could be served in much the same way.
So, here’s a white whiskey margarita, which feels just a bit more appropriate for winter consumption, whether you’re a keyboard monkey or a communications executive.
- 2 oz. white whiskey
- 1 oz. curacao or triple sec
- Juice from 1/2 lime (about 1/2 oz., or 1 tbsp.)
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, and shake to combine.
- Strain into either a cocktail glass, or a rocks glass filled with ice (and rimmed with salt, if you’d like.)
- Garnish with a lime wedge.