Introducing the new Garden & Gun Club at Stitzel-Weller Distillery and the perfect Paper Plane cocktail made with Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
By Joe Daily
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
Greetings and welcome to this month’s iteration of Daily Libations! I had the pleasure of sitting down with Whiskey Educator, Doug Kragel, of Diageo, the parent company of Stitzel-Weller Distillery to discuss all things whiskey. This month, we will discuss a little history, a lot of flavor and an absolute gem of a brand, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. There is also a new kid on the block to venture out to, the new Garden & Gun Club nestled nicely into the Stitzel-Weller Distillery campus. We will discuss this in more detail below.
Joe: How did you get into the business?
Doug: Right place, at the right time. Like so many of us in this industry, I was in a bar for an event when a colleague of mine mentioned an opportunity that he knew of to leave liquor sales behind and work on the education side of the business. I jumped at the chance, and I’ve been educating on Diageo American whiskey ever since. It will be nine years this July.
Joe: Let’s jump into the brand history. What is the story of Blade and Bow?
Doug: Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a whiskey that is all about preservation of the past and building toward the future; from preserving some of the last remaining bourbon distilled on-site at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery, to the stories that fill its halls and grounds.
Joe: I noticed five keys on the label. What’s the scoop here?
Doug: The Stitzel-Weller Distillery opened on Derby Day in 1935, and since that opening, legend has it that the keys hung on the front door. Today, these keys represent the five steps of crafting bourbon: grains, yeast, fermentation, distillation and aging. But more importantly, at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, they grew to symbolize the Southern traditions of hospitality, warmth and enjoying the finer things in life.
Joe: This is really fascinating to me! You use a solera system to age Blade and Bow, correct? Could you shed some light on what the solera system is to our readers?
Doug: Solera style blending is something very traditional in the sherry industry. There are hundreds of years old solera systems in the sherry triangle in Spain. However, applying that tradition to bourbon is new and very exciting. The tiered fractional blending that we implement really gives Blade and Bow a unique balance and complexity. The solera system for Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey allows older bourbon from the Stitzel-Weller Distillery to mingle with other, younger whiskeys.
Joe: What are some of the tasting notes you perceive from this tasty libation, Blade and Bow?
Doug: What is so great about using a solera to blend Blade and Bow, is that you get the best of two categories of bourbon. It has the aroma of a younger bourbon with bright, fresh grain and floral notes, and it has the palate of an aged bourbon with rich, deep characteristics, like baking spice and vanilla.
Joe: I am aware you are bringing a new expression to the table: the Blade and Bow 22-year-old Straight Bourbon Whiskey! What can you tell us about it? Is it a limited release?
Doug: Blade and Bow 22YO is a limited edition offering that we release once a year, with the next release being in September of 2021. This award-winning bourbon is an elegant balance of baking spice and fruit, with hints of burnt sugar and pie crust.
Joe: Your team has been hard at work making improvements it seems at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Can you tell us how the Garden & Gun Club came to be? It is incredible, for the record.
Doug: Blade & Bow Whiskey and Garden & Gun have evolved their long-standing relationship into a licensing partnership with the Garden & Gun Club at Stitzel-Weller Distillery. This new collaboration embraces the exceptional spirit that flows from the historic distillery and brings to life the essence of Garden & Gun’s defining Southern brand.
Joe: Let’s talk a little bit about cocktails. We were lucky enough to share a couple of Paper Planes which is a fantastic new school classic cocktail. It pairs extremely well with the Blade and Bow base! Any recommended pairings for our readers? They will be sure to check out the new Garden & Gun Club, I am sure of that.
Doug: If you get the chance, the exclusive Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old tasting experience is a standout. It will include a Terrane glass that is handcrafted in North Carolina by Garden & Gun and is a Made in the South Award winner, a signature wool tartan bag, a Blade and Bow enamel pin and a tasting notes guide. Outside of the 22-year pour, our signature cocktails offer a wide range of flavors. Our bartenders will be able to recommend the perfect pair based on preferences.
Joe: Doug, this is fantastic and thank you for taking the time to sit down with us! It has been a pleasure, my friend! Until we see each other again, cheers!• •
In case you want to try the Blade & Bow Paper Plane cocktail before you make it to the all-new Garden & Gun Club, here are the proper tools and recipe to make it at home. •
Paper Plane Cocktail
Tools required to tipple your senses:
• 1 oz to 2 oz jigger (A bartender’s tool to measure)
• Boston shaker (Tin to tin or glass to tin, I prefer tin to tin.)
• Hawthorne strainer (I prefer a strainer with a very tight spring to catch particles.)
• 8.5 to 9 oz (Coupe glass for the still cocktail version. • Martini/cocktail glass is perfect too.)
Where the magic happens:
• .75 oz Blade And Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon
• .75 oz Aperol Aperitivo
• .75 oz Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
• .75 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
• Garnish: Manicured orange peel
• Ice: No ice in finished cocktail, served up
• Add liquid ingredients
• Fill with ice
• Clap tins together and vigorously shake for 12 seconds or until the tins begin to frost over
• Strain ingredients into a chilled coupe glass garnish and enjoy!
As always, thank you for joining us this month for all of your libation needs and I look forward to writing for you next month.
“If you drink it, I study it.”