Author: The Stock & Barrel

Expanding Your Whiskey Vocabulary

Whiskey, like wine and fine food, has a vocabulary all its own. But you should not allow this to deter you from visiting a local whiskey bar or whiskey restaurant to experiment with this spirit. Here are some whiskey terms to understand so you know what you are ordering:

Whiskey

Whiskies are distilled grain spirits. Looking at each word individually, whiskeys are made from grain. Any grain can be used, although the most common are barley, corn, wheat, rye, and rice.

The terms “spirit,” “liquor,” or “alcohol” all refer to the end product of the whiskey-making process. The starch in the grain is converted into ethanol through the process of fermentation. Fermentation requires two steps:

  1. Starches are converted to sugars by the enzyme amylase. Amylase occurs naturally in grain that has been malted. Malted grain has been allowed to begin germinating or sprouting. When grain sprouts, amylase converts starch in the grain into sugar. This natural process is used by distillers to jumpstart the fermentation process.
  2. Yeast (the tiny microorganisms that also give us bread, beer, and wine) eat the sugars produced by the amylase and produce ethanol and carbon dioxide. Sometimes, the goal of fermentation is the carbon dioxide (as in bread) and sometimes it is the ethanol (as in beer, wine, and other liquors).

Once alcohol is produced through fermentation, it is concentrated through distillation. The U.S. has over 1,500 craft distilleries, but they all operate using the same process. Distillation is a chemical process in which a liquid is heated and the vapors are captured and allowed to condense. Since different chemicals and chemical compounds have different molecular weights, they will evaporate differently. Alcohol is highly volatile, so heating alcohol allows it to evaporate and leave behind heavier (and less tasty) fermentation products.

Bourbon

Bourbon is a type of whiskey. Once the distillation process is complete, the whiskey can be drunk. And you might get drunk because whiskeys straight out of the still are moonshine. They have a raw, harsh, alcohol taste that is more reminiscent of vodka than bourbon.

The harsh taste is mellowed through aging. Aging concentrates the liquid through evaporation and allows the liquor to absorb other flavors from the aging vessel. For example, under U.S. law, bourbon must be:

  • Produced from corn: Although other grains, namely malted barley, rye, and wheat, can be included, at least 51% of the grain used must be corn.
  • Aged in new charred oak barrels: Some whiskeys are aged in barrels previously used to age other batches of whiskeys, wines, or other spirits. Bourbon, however, must be aged in unused barrels. The barrels must be made from oak and they must be charred, typically using a flame, on the inside. The result is a smoky flavor with overtones of vanilla from the oak.
  • Produced in the U.S.: While there are other whiskeys from around the world, such as Irish whiskey, Scotch whiskey, and Japanese whiskey, bourbon is a uniquely American product.

The duration of the aging will relate directly to the cost. Spirits aged longer will evaporate more. This means that a 50-year-old barrel will contain less than a 12-year-old barrel.

Scotch

While scotch has a mystique surrounding it, the only thing that is unique about scotch whiskey is that it is produced in Scotland.

There are some processing differences, such as the aging barrels are dried over peat fires, which gives scotch a distinctive peaty, smoky flavor. Moreover, scotch must contain malted barley and be aged at least three years. However, the basic process of fermentation and distillation remain the same as other whiskeys.

Single Malt

Single malt whiskeys are blended from whiskeys made at a single distillery. As a fermented and aged product, whiskeys will vary from barrel to barrel. Often a distillery will mix whiskey from different barrels to produce a desired flavor, color, and aroma. As long as all the barrels come from the same distillery, the final product can be marked “single malt.” Since single malt whiskeys can be blended from different batches it is less rare than single batch or single barrel whiskeys, which are truly rare whiskeys.

Whiskey is a unique product. Because of the many ways, it can be produced and the many countries that produce it, it can take on many different flavors.

How to Best Enjoy Your Bourbon

Research shows that around 86% of the entire adult population has tasted alcohol at least once in their life. Whether you belong to the 86 or the other 14, worry not: by reading this article, you will grasp everything you need to know about bourbon.

Before we begin, it should be known that bourbon is a type of American whiskey. However, it stands out from the rest because it is made of corn. The corn should be nothing less than 51%; anything less than that becomes whiskey. You might wonder if bourbon and whiskey can be used interchangeably. The answer is both yes, and no. Confused? Here is the thing: all bourbons are whiskeys, but the same can’t be said about whiskeys. In the recent past, the drink, as well as its craft cocktails, have risen in popularity, proving the fact that it is a drink worth your time and money.

Here’s what you should know about bourbon and how to pair it.

How to Enjoy Your Bourbon

Bourbon is usually served straight over ice. That way, the drinker can enjoy the nuanced flavors of the beverage. If it’s too strong, some dilute it with water or soda. Better still, you can use it to spice up some dishes in the kitchen.

If you want to try some new bourbon that you haven’t had before, the wisest thing is to ask the bartender for a flight. A flight is like a movie trailer: you get a little sip of each type to make the best selection in the end. Since you now know what to expect, you can enjoy your bourbon to the fullest.

Here are some of the most popular bourbon pairings.

Burgers

Let’s talk burgers. Without fear of contradiction, we can say that burgers have made their way to the top on the list of America’s staple foods. When you want to enjoy this savory dish with your favorite glass, try opting for sweeter burgers. The dark, rich qualities of this whiskey go well with apple-smoked bacon and sauteed sweet onions. You can also opt for a Hawaiian burger with pineapple and a sweet glaze to make this beverage all the better.

Bourbon also pairs well with smokey and spicey. Buying a jalapeno burger to go along with your flight will make this a match made in heaven.

Desserts

Just about any sweet dessert pairs well with bourbon. Try getting a slice of apple pie a la mode and taste how the creamy ice cream brings out the savory flavors in your bourbon. Choosing a bourbon with tasting notes of vanilla and caramel will make this pairing all the better.

Comfort Food

The biting quality of a great bourbon is the perfect antithesis to good old fashioned comfort food. Cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and ribs are all popular dishes to enjoy with Kentucky’s favorite beverage. Honestly, it makes sense given that great bourbon and comfort foods are both from the south. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

When you visit The Stock and Barrel for the best burger in Nashville TN, you can’t leave without trying our bourbon. Allow our expert bartenders and servers to help pair your drink with an item from our menu. You’ll be glad you did.

6 Best Everyday Whiskeys

You don’t need to be a connoisseur to appreciate a good drink. More than 86% of us have had alcohol at least once in our lives. Whether we’re getting a drink at an upscale bar or a burger place, we all want the best bang for our buck.

Luckily, you don’t need to go to a whiskey bar to get a great selection of whiskeys. Some of the best whiskeys can be found in your local grocery store, at a burger place, or right in your liquor cabinet. These brands aren’t fancy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste exceptional. Pass on the rare whiskeys costing hundreds or thousands of dollars and try these everyday brands instead.

1. Evan Williams

Any burger place or whiskey bar worth its salt has a bottle of Evan Williams around. This classic staple is smooth and rounded, and very affordable. Evan Williams also makes a great well bourbon because of its price and quality.

2. Knob Creek Straight Rye

Here’s an option that’s great to pair with a burger. Knob Creek’s Straight Rye is as American as apple pie, with a bold taste and heavy body. If you’re looking for a drink to pair with a meal at a burger place, ask them about Knob Creek.

3. Maker’s 46

If you enjoy whiskey and bourbon, you’ve almost certainly heard of Maker’s Mark. The 46 is a newer creation that ups the ante on standard Maker’s Mark. With an infusion of vanilla and baking spice, this drink adds a kick without overwhelming that classic whiskey flavor.

4. 1792 Full Proof Bourbon

It might sound strange to have a gold medalist on this list, but this bourbon still costs less than $50. And yes, it won a gold medal in 2017 at the World Whiskey Awards. So, hop on this option before it disappears.

5. Ardberg Corryvreckan

Here’s another award winner for our list. The Ardberg was crowned World’s Best Single Malt in 2010. Fair warning: it is the most expensive whiskey or bourbon on this list. While it’s still under $100, it is a little more of an investment than the other whiskeys here.

6. Old Forester Classic 86 Proof

Back in the “under $30” category, we have Old Forester Classic. This whiskey has won its share of awards for its bold, spicy taste while maintaining an attractive price. Make it a staple of your liquor cabinet at home or request it at a burger place or whiskey restaurant to pair with food.

Don’t bust your budget in order to enjoy great whiskey and bourbon. There are a ton of excellent whiskeys out there that are still friendly to your wallet. There’s no reason you can’t make a top-shelf drink to sip after dinner.

Top 4 Interesting Burger Records in the World

It’s safe to say that burgers are a crowd favorite throughout the United States. Statistics indicate that approximately 50 billion burgers are eaten every year in the U.S. alone. Though the true inventor of modern-day burgers remains a mystery to this day, the concept of meat patties has been in use for a long time in many regions of the world.

Historical records indicate that meat patties were consumed as early as the 13th century by the Mongol army. It was devised as an easy-to-eat meal for soldiers during war. The soldiers would place the patties under their saddles. As they rode, the meat would be tenderized then eaten raw.

It is only in the 20th century that modern burgers (meat patties between two pieces of bread) came into existence. From that point, the love for burgers has consistently grown, and now, you can find a burger joint on every street.

Over the years, burger joints have come up with countless burger-centered competitions, and along the way, some exceptional individuals have set remarkable records.

1. The World’s Largest Burger

When it comes to burgers, bigger is better. In 2017, Germans Wolfgang Leeb, Tom Reicheneder, Josef Zellner, Rudi Dietl, Christian Dischinger, and Hans Maurer took up the challenge of making the biggest burger in the world.

Over 3,000 people gathered in the Bavarian town of Pilsting to watch the 2,500-pound burger be assembled by 300 people. The hamburger had three huge meat patties topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, hamburger sauce, lettuce, and a bun.

2. Most Burgers Eaten in a Minute

A 24-year-old Filipino named Ricardo Francisco (AKA Rix Terabite), ate five burgers in a world record 60 seconds at his local burger joint. Francisco beat out ten competitive eaters to win the record.< p>

The participants were only allowed to eat one burger at a time. Also, they could only use one hand to hold the burger while the other hand could only hold a glass of water. Additionally, they were only allowed to use one condiment on the burgers.

3. The Largest and Most Expensive Commercial Burger

On social media, 65% of conversations revolve around where to eat out. Burger joints are popular eating spots primarily for their tasty yet affordable cuisines. The most expensive burger, however, costs a whopping $7,999.

The cheeseburger, which weighed 1,794 pounds, was the brainchild of a Detroit-based burger restaurant owner Steve Mallie.

4. Most Burgers Eaten in Three Minutes

In 2014, competitive eaters Takeru Kobayashi from Japan and Italian Vittorio Noschese went head to head in a competition aimed at breaking the world record for most burgers eaten in three minutes.

In the showpiece event, 38-year-old Takeru emerged victorious and set a new record by gorging an impressive 12 four-ounce burgers. As per Guinness World Record rules, the competitors were only allowed to use one condiment.

Honorable Mention

Though this is not a record-setting attempt, it is worth being mentioned. Model and former Miss Earth New Zealand title holder Nela Zisser attempted to eat 100 cheeseburgers in a row. Though she didn’t hit the mark, the 5’7″ model managed to eat 45 burgers.

When you’re hungry, Visit Stock and Barrel

These records are impressive, but nothing beats the simplicity of a good burger and bourbon. The next time you’re hankering for a good burger joint, come down and share your burger knowledge with the rest of us. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Facts About Japanese Whisky

Yes, there are Japanese whiskies. And no, Japanese whisky is not misspelled. As opposed to the accepted English spelling of “whiskey,” Japanese whisky omits the “e”. Japanese whiskeys consistently earn awards at international competitions, even beating out Scotch whiskeys. Here are five FAQs about this rare treat:

Where did Japanese whisky originate?

Japanese importers originally brought Scotch whiskey to Japan in the late 1800s. In 1924, the first Japanese whisky distillery opened in Kyoto, to try to recreate this product in Japan. The company’s first distillery executive had studied whiskey-making in Scotland before returning to Japan. Within ten years, he left his employer to start his own distillery in Japan’s northern-most island.

The process for making Japanese whisky was deliberately intended to recreate Scotch whiskey; so much so that the second distillery in Japan was located in Hokkaido, which has a climate similar to the Scottish highlands. Generally speaking, Japanese whisky is made from malted barley, like Scotch whiskey, and aged in wood barrels. The nature of the wood barrels differs depending on the particular distiller, but may include wine casks, sherry casks, white oak casks, Spanish oak casks, and even former bourbon barrels.

Why is Japanese whisky so expensive?

Japanese whisky suffered from an unexpected explosion in popularity in the early 2010s as Japanese whiskys began winning awards, even beating out Scotch whiskies. This run on Japanese whiskys created an unexpected shortage. Since whisky is an aged spirit, the distilleries had not produced enough whisky in the 1990s and 2000s to meet the explosion in demand 10, 12, or even 18 years later. Japanese distilleries have attempted to satisfy the market by blending aged whisky with younger whisky but these whiskies are not the ones that are in demand, so they have not brought the price of these rare whiskeys down.

Rice whisky?

In addition to Japanese whisky made from malted barley, distilleries also produce rice whisky. Rice whisky is distinct from rice wine or saké. Saké is brewed like beer rather than distilled like spirits. Moreover, saké is matured for only six months in cedar barrels; saké does not age well beyond that time under most circumstances.

Rice whisky, on the other hand, is distilled using the same process as whisky made from corn, wheat, rye, or malted barley. A well-known spirit available in Japan, known as shochu is a distilled rice spirit. By aging shochu in wood casks, a spirit is produced that meets the legal definition of “whiskey” even though it has been produced from rice.

How is Japanese whisky served?

While you can consume Japanese whiskies in a variety of ways, including neat, on the rocks, with water, and in cocktails, the most common way to consume Japanese whisky is in a highball. To make a Japanese whisky highball, mix chilled Japanese whisky with chilled sparkling water, club soda, or sparkling mineral water.

What food pairs well with Japanese whisky?

Importantly, Japanese whisky highballs are almost always consumed with food in Japan. So, to do your Japanese whisky justice, head to the burger restaurant and whiskey bar for these pairings.

  • Smokey foods, like burgers and bacon. The smokiness of Japanese whisky and smokiness of grilled burgers from your favorite burger restaurant reinforce each other rather than compete against each other.
  • Meat, like chicken or beef. The full body of Japanese whisky makes meat taste, well, meatier. Beef tastes beefy and chicken tastes chicken-y, if that is a word.
  • Spicy foods, like jalapenos. Alcohol tames the capsaicin that causes spicy foods to burn. Pairing Japanese whisky with spicy appetizers or burgers from the burger restaurant cuts through the eye-watering, tongue numbing burn and allows other flavors in the food to shine through.
  • Desserts. Since some Japanese whiskies are aged in sherry casks and bourbon barrels, they can pick up overtones of fruit, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and coffee. Pairing Japanese whisky with dessert at the burger restaurant can enhance the flavor of peanut butter pie or shakes made with vanilla ice cream.

Americans spend over $2,500 per year eating out. Spending a little of that trying a rare whiskey from Japan might open your eyes to a completely new and rare experience.

What Are Millennials Eating? A Look into Burgers and Craft Cocktails

Are you a food lover? Craving a good munch? Then this article is for you and an estimated two-thirds of Millennials who regularly snack. They also mentioned burgers to be among their favorite snack.

If you are a burger person, then you already know you need a refreshing drink to go with it. Craft cocktails made by the skilled hands of your local expert craft bartender are an excellent option. Always try and ensure you get a craft cocktail bar with a wide variety of ingredients.

So, why do Millennials have an undying love for burgers?

That seems like a pertinent question that has so many answers.

Unbeatable Taste

There is something that the burger’s taste has that will see you licking your fingers to the last bite. Burgers are more than a snack. A great burger prepared by a skilled chef has a unique charm that is able to fight its way to a special place in your heart.

Different meats used to prepare different types of burgers will also make your mouth water.

Healthy Food

Don’t believe it? Well, you better. Just by the mention of fast food, people start imagining all kinds of unhealthy living. Though associated with fast food, burgers offer a variety of healthy options you can explore.

People are increasingly becoming watchful of the type of food they consume. A healthy food is one that contains fresh ingredients. Burgers are also a rich source of nutrients. The meat carries high amounts of proteins. The bun, too, is a rich source of carbohydrates. So you get to enjoy delicious and nutritious food.

Unites People

Having excellent food in a magnificent place is a favorite thing for many. You get to hang out with your friends in various unique burger joints and later pass by a whiskey restaurant for some craft cocktail.s

I mean, isn’t that a perfect outing?

It’s a Source of Comfort

Going through a hard time? Stressful job? Does school seem to get tougher by the day? Great food is a remedy. Great food can be a great relief for a troubled soul.

The amount of soothing that good food gives your troubled soul is just one of a kind. One that guarantees you maximum comfort.

It Doesn’t Cost a Fortune

Another thing that gets Americans craving burgers is their pocket-friendly price. Even people on tight budgets can afford a burger treat or two.

If you’re worried about the cost of a dinner date, you might want to consider your local burger restaurant.

Variety

Different food types mean different great tastes. Burger restaurants offer nothing less. There are many options to explore with sandwiches. Different types of beef used to make the burgers also add to the variety. Also, contrary to popular belief, there are many burger options for vegetarians.

Good Food for Hanging Out

When planning for your next out of town picnic or road trip, you should try and pack a few burgers as part of your snacks.

They offer certain advantages over what you have previously been packing. For example, they are quite easy to eat comfortably without getting your hands dirty. They are also better at making you feel cheerful and ready for those craft cocktails your friends probably brought for the picnic.

In Conclusion

Americans’ love affair with burgers seems to be getting stronger by the day. And it can be justified. I mean, who doesn’t want cheap fast food that has an unbeatable taste and comes loaded with rich nutrients? So, grab your friends and check out a good burger restaurant with excellent craft cocktails and the best whiskey selection.

Top Burger Joints to Visit On Your Journey to the Stock and Barrel

Did you know that 65% of social media conversations are about deciding where to eat out? It’s no surprise: food is an important aspect of American culture, and most people prefer eating out to cooking for themselves.

Whether you’re thinking about taking a road trip to experience the best burger joints or you’re just curious about the top burger places ranked by critics, the following is a list of the top ten burger joints in America.

1. Bill’s Hamburgers: Los Angeles, CA

Considered one of the top burgers in LA by some critics, this is one of all too few burger restaurants that offer old fashioned, no-nonsense burgers. Served by its namesake and grill master, Bill has spent over half of a decade flipping burgers, and his endearingly gruff attitude serves as extra seasoning for the plate.

2. Brooks’ Sandwich Shop: Charlotte, NC

While the title seems to indicate specialization in sandwiches of all kinds, this charming little restaurant is very much one of the great burger joints. Twin Brooks brothers opened the place for business all the way back in 1973, and to this day, it’s considered by many to be the best of the burger joints in either of the Carolinas.

3. Cherry Cricket: Denver, CO

Generally, the town of Cherry Creek in Colorado caters to its moneyed residents with high-end cuisine and culture. However, Cherry Cricket is one burger joint in the area that aims to serve the entire city of Denver with its down-to-earth, yet perfectly-crafted, hamburgers. It closed down temporarily after a fire, but upon reopening in 2017, it maintains its old school feel (complete with a massive fish tank in the middle of the restaurant).

4. Fred’s Meat and Bread: Atlanta, GA

This one isn’t too far away for Tennessee residents who normally (and intelligently, we might add) seek out great burger joints in Nashville, like the Stock and Barrel.

To be completely honest, Fred gives us a lot more at his “Meat and Bread” restaurant than hamburgers, but its Burger Stack is the undisputed star of the show.

5. Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill: Fort Lauderdale, FL

This burger place, located in the unlikely environment of a strip mall, features rustic, flame-broiled, half-pound hamburgers. What’s perhaps most fascinating about this restaurant is that it’s just as appealing to vegetarians: you can’t go wrong with a portobello mushroom burger.

6. Grill Marks: Greenville, SC

Outside of their occasionally eccentric menu items, the coolest thing about this place is that their burgers are made with chopped beef, instead of ground beef. This makes the patty’s texture full, rich, and meaty. For a truly monumental dining experience, ask for the Cafe Au Poivre, which features a patty encrusted with coffee and peppercorns, topped with mushrooms and Au Poivre sauce.

7. Hubcap Grill: Houston, TX

Unlike the other burger joints on this list, which mostly confine themselves to a single landmark location, Hubcap Grill has expanded its domain to include multiple joints in the Houston area (including inside its airport). Unlike some expanding empires, their taste hasn’t suffered at all.

8. Miller’s Bar: Dearborn, MI

Outside of their bar, this charming little spot has been around for over 50 years, and offers some of the best burgers around. Their perfectly cooked medium hamburger, with Velveeta and white onions snuggled together in a steamed bun, is a time-tested and dependably delicious option.

9. The Stock and Barrel: Nashville, TN & Knoxville, TN

After trekking across America, nothing will taste better than a bourbon and a burger at your tried-and-true Stock and Barrel locations. When you want traditional Tennessee cooking and classic whiskey to dance on your palate, rely on our connoisseurs to give you the farm-to-table options you crave. Contact one of our burger joints today!

Bourbon For Beginners: The Best Ways to Drink Bourbon

Did you know that whiskey and bourbon are becoming increasingly popular among Millennials? This is good news for craft distillers who are trying to appeal to a younger demographic, but it’s even better if you’re interested in trying bourbon for the first time. This rising trend means that more restaurants and bourbon bars are coming up with unique pairings and innovative ways to drink this type of spirit. Nowadays there are more than 1,500 distilleries trying to win you over across the nation.

Are you trying bourbon for the first time? Here’s how you should drink this American-aged spirit.

Neat

If you’re a purist, this is the only way you can appreciate your alcohol. Drinking a beverage “neat” means that it’s served to you at room temperature straight with no ice and no additives. This will give you the purest appreciation for the liquor since there are no other elements getting in the way of its rich, aromatic flavor.

Some bourbon bars might include a few drops of water. This doesn’t dilute the overall flavor of the bourbon; the water actually opens up the aromas, making it even better for whiskey enthusiasts. Be sure to inhale this scent deeply to try to identify the rich, smoky flavors.

On the rocks

If you can’t stand your alcohol served at room temperature, the second-best way to indulge in bourbon is by pouring it over ice. This will dilute some of the stronger flavors of the whiskey, but it will also make it a more enjoyable drinking experience. If you’re a first-time whiskey drinker, this is probably the best way to try bourbon for the first time. Take a small sip after inhaling some of the scents. Keep in mind that straight bourbon isn’t meant to be chugged like a cocktail. Instead, this beverage is meant to be savored.

Manhattan

The Manhattan is one of bourbon’s quintessential cocktails. Made with delicious bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters, this craft cocktail is a staple at any bourbon bar. Typically served in a martini glass, you’ll get a fanciful experience indulging in this multifaceted cocktail.

Mint julep

There’s a reason why the mint julep is the Kentucky Derby’s cocktail of choice: this aromatic cocktail pays homage to bourbon’s rustic Kentucky roots with a simple concoction almost everyone can enjoy. Made from bourbon, spearmint, water, and sugar, this cocktail is light on the palate but packs an unexpected punch.

With friends

No matter how you drink your bourbon, the best way to do it is with friends. When you’re ready to try bourbon for the first time, gather a crowd and head down to the best bourbon bar Nashville has to offer: Stock and Barrel.