Hey Bartender Journey Fam!
While the Team did take a sabbatical for the month of June, your liquid libations for the ears will resume soon as Brian preps for his annual pilgrimage to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail.,
Meanwhile, we are excited to announce the addition of Wayne Clarke as a regular contributor. to the Bartender Journey Podcast Team..
While Wayne's professional focuses as an expert in the realm of cigars, as a spirits enthusiast, he offers a unique perspective on taste and texture and a healthy respect for the hospitality industry.
Check out his bio here.
This is Wayne's first article for the Bartender Journey Podcast. Photos below are his.
Indie Spirits Expo in New York City, Penn Club - June 10, 2019
by Wayne Clarke
Oh, the anticipation!
While anxiously waiting in line to give my name and retrieve my tasting glass at the 2019 New York Indie Spirits Expo, I could feel the excitement building. It was in the air. Waiting for me upstairs were 150 different small batch distillers in one room. For a lover of fine spirits, this was to be a sublime experience. Let the fun begin.
Immediately upon ascending the spiral staircase to the top floor of the Penn Club in Midtown, my senses were overloaded with the sights, smells and sounds of whiskey glasses clanking, conversation and camaraderie. I could tell already-this event was not going to be your average tasting. There was no pretentiousness, no egos, no snobbery. This was an event for people who truly love small batch spirits! Kudos to the event planner for ensuring that the venue wasn’t too packed with people, giving each individual ample opportunity to chat it up and network with brand ambassadors about their craft.
My tasting began with a bang, as I went straight for one of my personal favorite bourbons, Widow Jane. I started with their standard ’10 Yr Bourbon Whiskey’. Flavors of vanilla and caramel, together with an aroma of spice and cinnamon make this bourbon perfect for any newbie. Next I moved on to something totally different and tasted their ‘American oak and Applewood Aged’ Rye. Incredibly complex and unique with an ever so subtle hint of applewood flavor. You pick up tiny hints of smokiness and perhaps even dried tobacco. As the resident cigar guy, this is the perfect whisky to pair with any medium-bodied cigar you may have in your humidor.
As I made my way around the tasting room, trying as many different spirits as possible, a few more stood out to me. One of which, I had never heard of. I had the pleasure of meeting David Woods, President of Wiggly Bridge Distillery, based in my home state of Maine. David explained to me that they make their whiskey, vodka and gin in very small batches using a 60 gallon, handmade, copper pot still. I tried their ‘Small Barrel Bourbon’ and it was simply incredible. Artfully balanced and subtle, but full of flavor on the finish. I can say with confidence that this would make a great cocktail, or tastes lovely straight up, neat. If you can find it, I highly recommend giving Wiggly Bridge Bourbon, Rum, and Vodka a shot as your next adult beverage. You can find out more about the Woods family and their distillery on their website: http://wigglybridgedistillery.com/distillery/spirits
Overall, what an incredible night this was! I would recommend any consumer check out this expo when it rolls around next year! It was fantastic to discover so many distilleries that were completely unknown to me, and that’s what makes this event unique. The usual big goliaths stayed home, and for one night, the little guy shined at Penn Club in Manhattan.