House Spirits Distillery

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How lucky am I to have made friends in the whiskey business? Very. I Recently spent some time at House Spirits Distillery in Portland checking out their operation and tasting some of their fine spirits.

They’ve been producing White Dog, which is one of their limited releases. If you aren’t familiar with White Dog, it’s a new whiskey straight from the still. Colorless and plenty strong, this is whiskey that’s never touched a barrel. Typically whiskey will be aged in charred oak, all the while darkening in color and mellowing from the process. The aging process can be used to mask imperfections in lesser whiskeys, but with new whiskey like this – there’s nothing to hide behind. The level of craft at House Spirits makes for an amazing and wonderfully drinkable spirit.

Made from 100% malted barley, you can really breathe in the distinctive malt flavor when sipping. A bit of sweetness, and a light spiciness make it easy to drink neat, but with enough heat to really shine though in a cocktail.

Evan Kinkel from House Spirits even suggested a couple cocktails perfect for the occasion:

The White Zombie

  • 1 1/2 oz. White dog
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh pressed lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. B.G. Reynold’s Don’s Mix
  • Dash of Angustura bitters
  • Garnish with mint &lime

Silver Sunrise

  • 1 1/2 oz. White Dog
  • 1 oz. Stumptown cold brew
  • 1/2 oz. Molasses syrup
  • 3/4 oz. half & half
  • Dash of Reagan’s bitters
  • Garnish with an orange disc & cinnamon

If you try some, let me know what you think. If you’d rather stick to your favorite aged whiskey, I’ve got a DIY coming up for you… I’m gonna try to micro-age some White Dog. I’ll post in a few weeks and let you know how it turns out and show you the simple process.

photos taken by Lisa Warninger 
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Homemade Ginger Ale

drink_title_gingerale
You’ll need some tools:
  • Clean 2 liter bottle with cap (no glass at this stage)
  • Funnel
  • Fine tooth grater
  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • 1/4 tsp and 1 Tbl measuring spoons
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Lemon juicer device
You’ll need a few ingredients:
  • Ginger root – enough to grate for two heaping tablespoons.
  • One lemon
  • One cup table sugar
  • Water – Portland tap is awesome
  • 1/4 teaspoon brewer’s yeast – I use dry ale yeast from F.H. Steinbart

It’s not really Spring weather around here, but you can still enjoy some Spring/Summer beverages. Here’s my home-made ginger ale recipe for you to try. (previously blogged at KO-OP)

Begin with your clean 2 liter bottle, use your funnel and pour in the sugar and yeast. Grate the ginger so you have about 2 Tbl worth and put in a glass measuring cup. You can use a potato peeler to clean the ginger if you like, not necessary, but at least rinse it and cut off any dry root. Cut your lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the measuring cup as well. Mix it up so it’s a slurry of lemony ginger. Making a mash will help it pour through the funnel. Don’t worry if you get a seed in there, you’ll be straining later anyway. Pour the slurry into the bottle, fill with cool water, leaving a couple inches at the top. Cap tightly and put in a warm place, like near a window. The heat will help activate the yeast.

You’ll need to check on the bottle within the 24 next hours, squeezing the bottle to feel the bottle pressure. This is why you should always brew in a plastic bottle, the pressure can explode a glass one. Fermentation should take 24-48 hours, so keep checking the bottle’s firmness. I’ve had the yeast fail for one reason or another and the bottle never pressurizes, but you can add another 1/4 tsp of yeast and cap again. Once the bottle is firm like a new bottle of soda, put immediately into the fridge and let cool overnight.

After the ginger-ale is cooled, I usually pour into 1 liter glass bottles for storing, serving or giving to friends. Still remember that it’s a carbonated beverage and even when cooled, the yeast will still ferment slightly, so there’s some pressure when opening. Always point away from your pants when opening!

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