FEW Spirits’ Cold-Cut Bourbon

I had somehow missed the release of FEW‘s cold-cut bourbon in 2019. Fortunately, somebody notified me about it last month.

I don’t usually go for FEW’s whiskeys — or those from the other Chicago distilleries — for one simple reason: Chicago & Evanston only re-started granting distillery licenses in 2008 and 2011, respectively. They’re new distilleries, so they haven’t had time to age the whiskey.

They have used cold-brew coffee to cut the cask-strength hootch down to bottling proof. That’s damn clever, so I figured I could make an exception to my “no local whiskey” rule in this case.

The bourbon-y and cold brew flavours are balanced really well. It’s impressive that they managed to get this right — cold-brew coffee can vary so much. But you can clearly taste the whiskey and the coffee, so major props to FEW. There’s a nice long aftertaste of coffee and bourbon.

I did not love this on its own, though. There was a flatness to the whole thing. It really felt like it needs some sweetening to reach its full potential. And that’s fine with me: I bought it mostly for cocktails!

So far, I’ve only done a riff on an old fashioned, with chocolate bitters. As I had suspected, the syrup took care of the flat note. It was very pleasant, and I highly recommend it. The recipe is below!

FEW cold-cut bourbon, chocolate bitters from Scrappy's Bitters, a jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries, and a jar of sugar cubes.
I don’t actually use sugar cubes for cocktails, but they sure look nice in pictures!
  • 2 oz FEW Cold-Cut Bourbon
  • 0.25 oz 2:1 Simple Syrup
  • 3 dashes Chocolate Bitters

Put everything into a stirring glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry or an orange twist.

I’ve got some other ideas for cocktails to use it in. Next up, I’m going to try pairing it off with china-china liqueur, which is orange and vaguely bitter. I’m trying to dig out from under all the wine Bright Cellars (disclaimer: that’s a referral link!) has been sending me, so I haven’t been mixing up as many drinks as I normally do.

As an aside: once the coronavirus is slain, I need to go re-take the FEW distillery tour. I used to have a pair of their branded glencairn glasses, but one ended up in an unfortunate collision with a water bottle, and its twin is chipped. The FEW tasting room is the only place I’ve seen them.