Tag Archives: Mixed Drinks

Whiskey Places – Cadillac Ranch National Harbor

Our first stop of our trip was the Cadillac Ranch. We were walking along Fleet Street and their menu looked the best compared to the nearby options of Public House and the Brass Tap.

We had a full meal, and multiple drinks at Cadillac Ranch. Our favorite item was on the appetizer list as they had some amazing taco choices. We also had fried pickles and the tater tots with everything.

We originally thought we’d just get some appetizers and then order some entrees but once the apps got there we realized there was more than enough food for all four of us.

As we ate and caught up, we tried a bunch of different drinks.

My first drink at Cadillac Ranch was the Blue Suede Shoes made with Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and black cherry purée:

I took a sip through the straw and my blood sugar spiked so high I almost didn’t take a separate sip. My son (he’s an adult) sipped from the edge of the glass and said it wasn’t too sweet, which made me realize it wasn’t mixed yet. I’m honestly not sure if that was on purpose or not, but after I stirred it I was able to drink it – but it was still too sweet for me. Just remember that I don’t really like Old Fashioned for the same reason though, they are just too sweet and I can’t appreciate the whiskey when there is too much sugar.

My second drink was a Blood Orange Bourbon sour made with Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and Finest Call Blood Orange Sour. I wanted to try it, but I’m not a hug van of sweet and sour, and this was very sweet, and moderately sour. Yes, I drank it, but I wouldn’t order it again.

My son’s girlfriend (all adults) got a Black Cherry Rye Cola but she’s not a fan of whiskey and let the rest of us finish it off for her. For me, it was very much lick a Jack and Coke, and I honestly wouldn’t waste good whiskey in Pepsi.

I tried to order the Sazerac Soda with Redemption Rye Whiskey, simple syrup, Absinthe, and soda water, but they were out of Absinthe so I went with a classic Craig Small Batch Bourbon Manhattan for my final drink of the night:

This Craig Small Batch Bourbon Manhattan was the perfect way to end the night. It is a classic bourbon in a drink that lets the bourbon really shine.

Overall we had a lot of fun at Cadillac Ranch. The staff were friendly, incredibly attentive even though it was crazy busy, and the food was really tasty.

Cadillac Ranch is coming in the Moderate Cost Per Person range, but its the National Harbor and everything is pretty expensive, so keep that in mind. I’m giving them an overall 70/00, mostly driven by the fact that most of the bourbon drinks I tried were just a bit too sweet for me.

PlaceLocationScorePrice Scale
Cadillac Ranch National Harbor70/100Moderate

Cost Scale

Up to $30 per person – Low Cost

$31 to $50 per person – Moderate Cost

$51 and above per person – High Cost

WHISKEY DREAMS – Stillhouse Black Bourbon MANHATTAN

Stillhouse Black Bourbon scored a 61/100 after I recently re-reviewed it with a good bit more Whiskey Dreams knowledge under my belt. So now that Stillhouse Black Bourbon is in Mixed Drink Only territory, how does it stand up as a Manhattan?

The nose on this Stillhouse Black Bourbon Manhattan is all sweet fruity vermouth. Whatever nose the Stillhouse had is completely overwhelmed by the vermouth.

This Stillhouse Black Bourbon makes an odd Manhattan. At first I didn’t like how the astringency mixed with the sweetness of the vermouth, and it leaves an odd lingering taste on my mid tongue, but the more I sipped it, the less it bothered me – but that was probably the alcohol. I really struggled with whether this was a 51, making it Sip Worthy, or if it was a 50, making it Just Bad.

At the end of they day I’m going to settle on 50/100, making this Just Bad. My main reason being that I’d rather drink this whiskey straight than make a Manhattan with it, even if its not perfect there either.

BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Agitator MANHATTAN

I used my standard recipe for a Manhattan, mixing bourbon to vermouth in a 2 to 1 ratio.

I tried this Agitator Manhattan with, and without Orange Bitters.

Agitator Manhattan

I was thinking the red wine finish on this Agitator bourbon would pair well with vermouth and make an amazing Manhattan.

Boy, was I wrong. What I was hoping would become a nice pairing of red wine and vermouth, turned out to clash, and badly.

I’m giving this Agitator Manhattan a 49/100, put it in Just Bad territory.

Pros

  • If you like cheap whiskey with strong red wine notes, this might be for you.

Cons:

  • The red wine finish from the Agitator clashes with the vermouth.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – ON THE ROCKS KNOB CREEK OLD FASHIONED

I picked up this mini bottle of On The Rocks Knob Creek Old Fashioned pretty much on a whim. They had a rack of them by the check out and I’d never seen them before, and it said Bourbon, so I grabbed a bottle.

I’m not a huge fan of Knob Creek Bourbon’s to be honest with you. When I reviewed Knob Creek Small Batch it scored a 49/100 but I’m happy to say this makes a much better Old Fashioned.

This premade On The Rocks Knob Creek Old Fashioned has a sweet fruity nose. That burnt sugar and char I didn’t like so much with the straight Knob Creek Small Batch mixes well to make an Old Fashioned. It likely also benefits from being diluted down to 35% ABV, compared to 50% for the Small Batch.

The palate is a pleasant woody char followed by sweet. If you like a sweet mixer, you will love this On The Rocks Knob Creek Old Fashioned. If your like me, and can’t have a lot of sugar, this mixer might not be the best choice for you.

I did enjoy sipping this Old Fashioned, but by the second tumbler I had a headache, which is what too much sugar does for me. I literally don’t eat any sugar or carbs, so this my just be a “me” issue.

If it weren’t for the headache, On The Rocks Knob Creek Old Fashioned, would have scored a 90 as a mixed drink, but for me the headache brought that score down to an 83/100.

On The Rocks Knob Creek Old Fashioned

Pros

  • Great value at $13 bucks for a bottle. Sure, it’s a small bottle but even if you buy two that’s only $26 bucks for a regular sized bottle’s worth.

Cons:

  • If you like sipping bourbon, this might be a tad sweet. For me it was almost like a desert drink.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Fistfull of BOURBON MANHATTAN

I was a little disappointed in Fistful of Bourbon as a sipper. It scored a 53/100 when ranked against other sipping options. You can read the full review here.

What do I do with bourbon that isn’t sip worthy? I make Manhattans of course.

If you can find or buy this online at the $25 price point, this is a great bottle to make mixed drinks. The Vermouth and Orange Bitters takes this rough edged bourbon and turns it into a smooth, tasty, Manhattan.

I feel like I got ripped off as I payed $40 bucks for my bottle of Fistful of Bourbon. At $25 this would be a great bottle for mixed drinks like a Manhattan.

A Fistful of Bourbon Manhattan scored an 80/100, and mixes into Sip Worthy Manhattan.

Pros

  • Makes a tasty Manhattan.
  • Benefits from the sweetness of the Vermouth.

Cons:

  • I would not pick up another bottle of Fistful of Bourbon unless I can find it at the $25 price point.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Wild Turkey MANHATTAN

I gave straight Wild Turkey a score of 63/100 so I was curious how it would rank when mixed into a Manhattan.

I used my normal formula to start.

  • 2 Ounces Bourbon
  • 1 Ounce Sweet Vermouth

After I finished my first Manhattan I remade my drink but added in two drops of Orange Bitters. This Wild Turkey really benefited from the Orange Bitters, giving it a little more complexity where it was flat.

Overall this is what I’d call a classic mixer. It’s not out of this world, but its very sippable and its a perfect drink for parties and gatherings when you want to save the “Good Stuff” for those who will appreciate it.

A Wild Turkey Manhattan ranks 73/100.

Wild Turkey Manhattan

Pros

  • Affordable way to make lots of mixed drinks.
  • Great option for parties and gatherings of people who like Whiskey, but don’t Love Whiskey.

Cons:

  • If you don’t like toasted marshmallows, this may not be for you.
  • Very simple taste profile.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Maker’s Mark MANHATTAN

I hate Mondays. Why am I saying that on a Sunday? Because I decided to have one more aperitif before bed, and decided I might as well make a Manhattan.

Straight Maker’s Mark ranked 60/100, putting it into the Mixed Drinks only category. How does it fair as a Manhattan? The sweetness of the vermouth brings out that subtle sweetness in the Maker’s Mark and highlights a sweet cherry note, which I really enjoy.

This Maker’s Mark Manhattan scored a 65/100, making it a Sip Worthy mixed drink.

BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Manhattan AMERICAN XXX BORN

If you remember y original review of American XXX Born you know I wasn’t a huge fan. American XXX Born scored a whopping 1 out of 100. When your drinking it neat or on the rocks this bourbon burns and I figured that I might be better off using this whiskey to clean guns and carburetors.

So why did I make a Manhattan out of a whiskey that got a score of 1?

The main reason is my wife. She yells at me that I have too many bottles in the cabinets, and doesn’t understand why I buy new bottles when I have thirty or forty in the “bar”. This is why I’ve been trying to drink some of my less than stellar bottles in the form of Manhattans, because Vermouth does wonders for crappy bourbon.

I figured I’d give American XXX Born a shot, and if it was horrible in a Manhattan, I’d pour it out to make room for something better.

I used my normal to 2 to 1 ratio and took a sip, expecting my mouth and throat to burn, ready to pout the bottle down my kitchen sink. I hesitated, letting the sip flow over the back of my tongue before I swallowed it, quite surprised that I wasn’t already being driven to pour the bottle out.

When mixed into a Manhattan, American XXX Born gets a huge jump in score. I know you may look at this and say, what? It only got a 35, but that is a massive 34 point increase from where it was starting.

Am i going to buy another bottle? Hell no. But I will drink the rest of this one so I don’t feel like I just pissed the money away.

Pros

Let’s see, what can we do with American XXX Bourbon?

  • Saves the money you spent on a bottle that isn’t fit to drink neat/on the rocks.
  • Makes a cheap bourbon at least drinkable when mixed into a Manhattan.

Cons:

  • Still has a little funky aftertaste on the back of the tongue.
  • Makes me think about cheap alcohol I drank at college parties.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Manhattan LEGENT BOURBON

If you read my original review of Legent you will remember that I noticed the burn of the alcohol at first, but adding a bit of ice really let me appreciate the butterscotch sweetness underneath. It is a decent budget bourbon that scored just well enough at 72 to be worth drinking straight, which made me curious how it would be when mixed into a Manhattan.

My first thought is that if you are trying to introduce someone to bourbon, and using Manhattan’s as your tool, this might be the perfect bourbon cocktail for them. The butterscotch sweetness of the Legent turns into what I would almost call a dessert cocktail when its mixed with vermouth.

For me, this Manhattan opens well, but the finish it sickly sweet to the the point where it took away from the experience. It did however negate the alcohol burn of the straight Legent, so I’m still giving the Manhattan a few extra points, as I do think this mixed drink does have its purpose for the right group of guests, which earned this Legent Manhattan a 75/100.

Pros

  • Lovely fruit and butterscotch when it opens up.
  • Good price to value.
  • Good to introduce bourbon to drinkers who like sweeter drinks.

Cons:

  • A little too sweet on the finish when the vermouth and Legent blend togther.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan