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.

Geek Grind Coffee’s Goblin Gulp

In one of my DnD campaigns, our mascot is a goblin we adopted early on. He’s a big fan of coffee, so on a lark, I google image searched “goblin coffee” for something funny to put in a scheduling email.

I was surprised to find officially-licensed Pathfinder coffee offered by Geek Grind Coffee. I immediately ordered a pound of their Goblin Gulp blend. It turned up two days later.

I’ve already got coffee beans out, so I moved it into a vacuum bag and froze all but one cup’s worth of beans. The bag it arrived in is a nice collector’s item!

I brewed this with my go-to method: inverted aeropress with a little bit of salt added to the grounds. I used my metal filter instead of a paper filter so I’d get The Full Experience, oils and all.

Empty bag of Goblin Gulp & mug of brewed black coffee
Brewed Goblin Gulp coffee

It turned out really well! The mouthfeel was velvety and smooth, just like they claim in the description. I’m not sure if I’ve had another coffee with that kind of body, so it’s unique in that respect. Flavour-wise, I got lots of dark chocolate.

This was an awesome coffee and I look forward to finishing what I’ve got out now so I can have this as my morning cup. I’ll probably restock with the the 5lb bag once I’ve run out. 😁

I didn’t read much about their company — I assumed they were just a board game cafe or something — when I bought it (hash tag impulse purchase), but when I was writing this up I clicked through to their about page. They are actually a fantasy-themed coffee company that operates their own farms in Columbia:

We do not “source” our coffee as most companies do – rather we actually grow it. We harvest by hand from our own farms and the nearby farms of our friends and neighbors. We then immediately dry the coffee beans in the sun right at the mountain farms. Just hours after drying we roast the coffee in small batches then finally package the roasted in special protective packaging that assures freshness before shipping directly to your door.

story | Geek Grind Coffee

So that’s kind of cool.

Colectivo’s Java Ciparay

Colectivo is hands-down my favorite coffee shop. Even before they opened a location in town, we were buying their beans at the grocery store.

I picked up a bag of their seasonal Java Ciparay for the weekend. I had not tried this blend yet. The beans were roasted and packaged the day before I bought them.

Coffee time

Unfortunately, this is just not working for me. I’ve made this in my aeropress and french press, with the same results. The bag describes the flavour profile:

Fans of Sumatran coffees will enjoy our Java Ciparay for its herbal and earthy flavors with notes of pine, cedar, and orange peel.

Colectivo

I’m getting an overwhelming amount of cedar, to the point where it’s just flat. To me, it tastes like a cardboard box smells. A bit of salt can help, but it didn’t have much impact here.

There’s still plenty of beans left, so I am going to try brewing and serving this a few other ways to see if it’ll wake the flavour up.

In other Colectivo news: they’re supposed to have in-app ordering starting this week!

I would normally hit Starbucks in the morning since I didn’t have to talk to anyone. Starbucks’ actual coffee isn’t very good, limiting me to either an americano or something with way more calories than I should be drinking…