I was all set to tell the New York drinking world about my discovery in Denver of a Colorado whiskey. So I admit I was a little disappointed when I sauntered into Louis 649, in the eastern reaches of Alphabet City (between B and C), for an event promoting Averna cocktails and asked guest bartender Damon Dyer if he’d ever heard of Stranahan’s. Damon, who can usually be found at Flatiron Lounge, swiveled around, grabbed a bottle of the stuff and plopped it in front of me.
Damon likes it, but he says he’d like it even better if they aged it a bit more.
I just got off the phone with Stranahan’s founder Jess Graber, who says his whiskey tastes cleaner at a younger age than most whiskeys because he contracts a craft brewery — Oskar Blues in Longmont, Colo. — to make the beer that he distills into whiskey (using 100 percent barley from the Rocky Mountain steppes of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho).
But Damon would still like them to age it more.
Jess told me that micro-distilling is taking off like micro-brewing did a couple of decades ago, and with his help I found this interactive map that can help you find them.
Also tending bar at the Averna event was Tad Carducci, a man of very good character whose web site I will link to here.
Of particular note to me at the party, apart from the presence of the Stranahan’s which had nothing to do with the event, were the chocolate mole bitters that Damon was using.
A couple of years ago when I was on a panel at Tales of the Cocktail, someone asked me what the next bitters would be. I didn’t have a good answer then, but a couple of days later I did, got in touch with the guy and suggested chocolate bitters.
It seems I was right.