This is it. The literal “big game.” Two teams remain. The AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs will take on the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV this Sunday. And while the hard-hitting action is taking place on the field, we’ll be enjoying spicy chicken wings, cheese-laden pizza, and way too many other appetizers and desserts in the privacy of our own homes (or at a party).
We’ll likely wash our gluttonous two-hour meals down with a beer or two. But after we’ve had our fill, we’ll relax with a glass of whiskey. If you’re doing the same, it only makes sense to pay homage to the final two teams by imbibing spirits from these dueling states. So grab a spot close to the TV, make yourself a plate of wings, and pour a dram of one of these whiskeys from California or Missouri.
Sonoma Bourbon Whiskey
When you think of Sonoma, you probably think wine. The region is historically grape-centric. But it’s also home to the Sonoma Distilling Company. Born in San Francisco, founder Adam Spiegel opened Sonoma Distilling back in 2010. It was the first distillery in the area and one of the first modern distilleries in California. Since then, the distillery has become well-known for its rye, wheated whiskey, and bourbon.
Whiskey purists might be surprised to learn that great bourbon can actually be found outside of Kentucky. But even the most ardent fans of spirits from “The Blue Grass State” can begrudgingly enjoy Sonoma Bourbon Whiskey. This blend of 70 percent California corn, 25 percent California wheat, and 5 percent Wyoming rye is big on flavor. Due to the high content, the corn sweetness is right upfront. This is followed by creamy caramel, sticky toffee, and rich vanilla notes.
Redwood Empire Lost Monarch
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“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." -John Muir . . Happy #thirstythursday time to celebrate with a taste of Fall in a whiskey glass! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite new whiskeys to drink and they share in a cause that is close to my heart. If you buy a bottle of The Lost Monarch Whiskey from @redwoodempire they will plant a tree. In my book this is a win win, you get the chance to drink a perfectly crafted American Whiskey and it helps reforestation! . . Redwood Empire is crafted in Sonoma, CA and they are deeply tied to the forest. Why the name, 'The Lost Monarch'? It comes from the Grove of Titans which is home to the largest community of redwood trees in California. Long hidden in plain sight of a popular trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the Grove boasts the Lost Monarch, the largest coastal redwood on earth, it measures 320 feet tall and 26 feet in diameter. . The whiskey is a blend, composed of 60% rye and 40% bourbon. This blend of 'house-distilled rye whiskey includes mature stocks of four, five and eleven-year-old bourbon aged in classic, high char American oak casks. Portions of the rye are aged in used port and wine barrels for unique blending components.' . Everything about this Whiskey is inviting, from its warm amber color to its slight sweetness from the corn, this is a perfect sip for sitting around the fire pit with on a cool Fall evening. On the nose you get an mixture of vanilla and wood, including cedar and some oak. For me this whiskey taste like a smoked butterscotch sundae with a spiced vanilla ice cream and a finishing taste of cedar on the tip of your tongue. Such a fantastic flavor, balanced and smooth, everything you want in a glass of whiskey. . . Do you enjoy a glass of whiskey on a cool Autumn evening? . . Visit @redwoodempire to learn more about this 'Lost Monarch'. . . . . . . #cheers #gin #bourbon #liquor #cocktails #redwoodempirewhiskey #drinkinnaturephotography #wine #spirits #cocktail #whiskey #scotch #tequila #lifestyle #brandy #distillery #whisky #spirits #vodka #rum #madeinamerica #nature #youcansipwithus #winelover #happyhourathome #wanderlust #optdrinkinnature
If you know your northern California geography, you’ve probably heard of the area known as “Redwood Empire.” This is the area from San Francisco to Humboldt County and is dotted with Redwood forests. These massive, rust-colored trees were the reason the brand was created. Distilled at Graton Distilling in Sonoma County, the brand makes Pipe Dream Bourbon, Emerald Giant Rye, and Lost Monarch. Each bottle is is adorned with unique artwork and was inspired by the ancient trees.
Similar to other popular American whiskeys, like High West Bourye and Rebel Yell, Redwood Empire is a blend of rye and bourbon whiskeys. The result is a complex flavor experience that begins with the nose. The first sniff brings hints of orange zest and caramel that make way for toasted oak. The flavor starts with sweet caramel corn and goes into peppery rye spice before finishing with a pleasing vanilla and toffee note.
Charbay R5 Hop Flavored Whiskey
This is the fifth iteration of this series. The first was released way back in 1999. This one-of-a-kind whiskey is widely believed to be the best California has to offer. It’s definitely different than most of its competitors. Instead of the usual basic whiskey ingredients, Charbay R5 is made using a beer. That’s right, beer. It’s double-distilled from Bear Republic Brewery’s Racer 5 IPA.
This isn’t the only beer-based whiskey on the market (Rogue comes to mind immediately), but it is one of the first and the most well-made. Making whiskey with an IPA gives it a subtle hint of hops, but aging it in French oak adds toffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and a subtle smoky finish.
StilL 630 Rally Point Straight Rye Whiskey
One of the most well-respected distilleries in Missouri, StilL 630 has been making award-winning spirits in St. Louis since 2012. The passion of founder David Weglarz can be tasted in every bottle of whiskey, rum, and gin the distillery crafts. One of its best is its Rally Point Straight Rye Whiskey, a high rye (90 percent), double-distilled potable perfect for sipping or mixing.
StilL 630 is well known for its well-rounded, smooth drinking whiskeys and this high rye offering still manages to have a buttery mouthfeel. That silky texture comes paired with peppery spice notes, warming oak with hints of cloves, dried orange peels, and flavors of Christmas spices, cinnamon, and creamy toffee.
J.J. Neukomm Malt Whiskey
Established in 2008, Spirits of St. Louis Distillery was the culmination of years spent by founder Steve Neukomm in the food and beverage industry. Found inside Square One Brewery, the distillery touts itself as “Missouri’s First Craft Distillery Since Prohibition” and makes Regatta Bay Gin, Hopskey Flavored Whiskey, Vermont Night Whiskey, Urban Bourbon, J.J. Neukomm Malt Whiskey, and a handful of other whiskeys, rums, gins, tequilas, and even absinthe.
One of Spirits of St. Louis’s most popular offerings is J.J. Neukomm Malt Whiskey. This award-winning spirit was made with cherrywood smoked malts before being aged in oak barrels. The result is a whiskey with hints of toasted caramel, dried fruits, cinnamon, tree nuts, and a subtly spicy, vanilla finish.
Rieger’s Kansas City Whiskey
The most well-know distillery in Kansas City, J. Rieger & Co. was founded in 1887. At the time of prohibition, the distillery crafted more than 100 spirits. Sadly, like many of its fellow distilleries, it was forced to shutter its doors during prohibition and didn’t reopen until 2014. In the half-decade since, J. Rieger has been winning awards and cranking out whiskeys, gins, amaros, and vodkas. One of its most popular offerings is its flagship Kansas City Whiskey.
There might be no better whiskey to toast to the city’s football success than this blend of bourbon and rye that was aged for a minimum of four years. On top of those spirits, a small percentage of the blend is made up of 15-year-old Oloroso sherry from Jerez, Spain. The result is a pleasing, sweet whiskey with hints of charred oak, rich caramel, subtle wine astringency, orange zest and sherry sweetness.