The Smooth Criminal from Belle & James

I recently called on Micheal Truxton and the gang at Belle & James in Richmond. He introduced me to a new world of savory cocktails.

BTW – the “I” in this post is Chandler Turner, the marketing director of Three Brothers Distillery.

There were four bartenders there, ready to work at the time, and a fifth off duty just relaxing and having a cocktail. All of them loved the Silk Jacket Gin. They liked Kablam un-aged corn whiskey, but were not sure how they were going to use it. Then one of the guys spoke up and said “Hey, why don’t we try the Smooth Criminal with the Kablam instead of bourbon?” I can tell you for sure that I love both bourbon brands that they had been using.

Mike made me the most unusual cocktail I have ever seen or tasted. As he was telling me what he was putting in it, I was thinking “No way” am I going to like this. He started by muddling a couple of basil leaves. Okay, I get that. Then he added balsamic vinegar and black garlic. Really! I cook with these ingredients. He mixed the concoction very well in a shaker, then poured the “coffee-looking” liquid into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. He topped it off with their house-made ginger beer and added a sprig of basil for looks and scent.

I tasted it, and then all five bartenders tasted it. The comments: “We’re changing the formula right now. This is a better cocktail! You can really taste the corn flavor of the product.”

Welcome to the Smooth Criminal. A friend of mine called it an Italian Whiskey Sour.

White Whiskies – What Are They? 

The difference that caught the eye and palate of one of the bartenders was the smoothness of Kablam Un-Aged Corn Whiskey, a new white whiskey. There is a new push in the market for white whiskies from some of the largest bourbon distillers in the country. Who can blame them. White whiskies, are in large part “bourbon-in-waiting”; they are made from bourbon mash-bills but have not been aged. What difference does it make? Consider the cost of aging barrels, the room to store them, and the time it takes for the products to mature. White whiskies, on the other hand, come off of the still and head straight for the bottle – no waiting.

The Kablam Difference

What makes Kablam different? At Three Brothers Distillery we carefully control the quality by not running the still too long and pulling off drinkable, but extremely poor-tasting product. It is a bit more expensive to produce, but it makes for a smooth flavor with a huge “corn” nose (scent).


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Posted on October 12th, by Chandler T in Cocktail Corner.

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