Whiskey 101

A homegrown bourbon cocktail how-to

By Phaedra Cook March 21, 2013 Published in the April 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Downtown’s Reserve 101 offers 300 types of whiskeys and bourbons, some from as far away as Japan and India. But the wood-accented, slightly gritty saloon takes its name from the number of American brands they pour—and they’re not all from Kentucky, either. Outlaw Bourbon is made by Yellow Rose Distilling, which set up shop last year in Pinehurst, the small town just northwest of Tomball. 

As the name suggests, it’s a distinctly local, and nontraditional, concoction.  “Unlike everyone else we know who’s making bourbon in Texas, we didn’t want to make a Kentucky clone,” says Yellow Rose co-owner Ryan Baird. “That’s why we age it in three-gallon barrels for less than a year. You get a lot more flavor using a small barrel, so you can create something very different from a Kentucky bourbon. There are already plenty of those on store shelves.” 

Thanks to the warm temperatures in these parts and the high bourbon-to-wood contact a smaller barrel provides, it’s possible to produce Outlaw Bourbon in only five to seven months. The shorter aging period makes the taste a bit “hot” from the alcohol, but there’s some sweetness too, courtesy of its main ingredient. Outlaw is made with 97 percent corn and 3 percent malted barley, which is needed to turn starch into sugar for the fermentation process. 

Reserve 101 hosted the debut of Outlaw Bourbon last year. In honor of the occasion, the bar’s co-owner, Mike Raymond, created the cocktail recipe below and then aged the concoction in a used Yellow Rose barrel. Barrel-aging isn’t a requirement, although exacting home mixologists should be advised that the option does exist. Yellow Rose sells its used barrels online. 

The Yellow Rose Cocktail

  • 1 ¼ oz Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon
  • ¾ oz Lillet Blanc
  • ¼ oz sweet vermouth
  • ¼ oz honey
  • Lemon twist (for garnish)

Without ice, stir the ingredients together in a mixing glass to dissolve the honey. Add ice and stir until very cold. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with the lemon twist.  

Bottles of Yellow Rose sell at Spec’s for around $70. Yellow Rose Distilling is a small producer, so call ahead before you go to ensure that Outlaw Bourbon is available. 

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