Six ways to serve Laws whiskey

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This past Sunday at Bonny and Read, I co-judged the A.D. Laws Cocktail Competition, largely organized by Wobbly Olive proprietor Sean Fitzgerald.

Beyond building community and camaraderie amongst local mixologists, the event served to highlight the very fine whiskey product. One of the first things you'll hear spoken about Laws is that it comes from distiller Jake Norris, original partner in Stranahan's. It's an exceedingly good whiskey. 


First place finisher Jason Sweeney of The Principal's Office. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • First place finisher Jason Sweeney of The Principal's Office.

Bartenders from the following spots participated in the comp: Supernova, The Principal's Office, Wobbly Olive, Cowboy Star, and TILL. 

As judges, we scored inside three categories: taste, mixology and appearance. In that first category, we sought balance and proper texture as well as flavor-enhancing aroma. In the second, our scorecard addressed post-presentation expectations as a taster, creativity and "wow factor." Appearance factored in garnishes and "sex appeal." 

Most of all, we looked for a drink that best utilized Laws whiskey, meaning it was accentuated, not masked, and played off of to pull out aspects such as its vanilla characteristic. 

In the end, it was Jason Sweeney of The Principal's Office who won the day with his Shroom cocktail — a brilliant use of a surprising ingredient like mushroom-ginger syrup. Its rosewater ice cube enhanced the aroma and sherry contributed to a slightly creamier texture, while the ginger delivered a nice zing across the tongue. Here's his recipe:

1.5 oz AD Laws Four Grain Bourbon
.5 oz Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso Sherry
.5 oz Mushroom Ginger Syrup
Pinch of salt
Rose flower water
Stirred, rocks glass over rose water ice cube, optional peeled ginger garnish.

Fitzgerald's wife and Wobbly Olive co-owner and bartender Inez Fitzgerald earned a second place finish with her Breaking the Law cocktail. It's a fabulous play off a classic Old Fashioned, featuring house-made orange caramel Oleo-Saccharum. Here's her recipe:

2 oz Laws
.5 oz Smoked Caramel Oleo
.5 oz Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso Sherry
Bitters (Ango and Vanilla)
Second place finisher Inez Fitzgerald of the Wobbly Olive. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Second place finisher Inez Fitzgerald of the Wobbly Olive.

Alejandro Sanchez
, formerly of Cowboy Star and now at the newly opened TILL, nabbed third place with his Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub. Here's his recipe:

2 oz Laws
.25 lemon
.25 simple syrup
.25 strawberry rhubarb syrup
.50 Cynar
.75 Amaro Montenegro
Orange bitters
Angostura bitters

Though the other three creations didn't place at the top, the bartenders still contributed recipes and I'd still happily drink any of these drinks again. So here's a few more options for how to use Laws if none of the above are immediately appealing to you: 

The Wobbly Olive (Adam Gasper)
2 oz Laws
1 oz Deep Eddy Sweet Tea
.5 oz Dancing Pines Cherry
.5 oz Mango Tea Syrup
.5 oz Peach Liqueur
Splash Fever Tree Tonic
Fee Bros Cherry Bitters
Muddle Peach and Basil

Supernova
2 oz AD Laws Four Grain Bourbon
.5 oz Dry Vermouth
.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz jalapeño simple syrup
1 egg white

Cowboy Star
1 oz LAWS
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 oz oj
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz maraschino
Lastly, I should note that if you aren't a seasoned at-home bartender, these recipes above may be a bit tricky to pull off (especially since we didn't get mixing directions from each bartender). Normally, I'd suggest visiting them at their respective work places to request an off-menu drink. But not all of these have ingredients regularly stocked. So I'm adjusting that here to say go have a drink with them and while enjoying it, pick their brain about how exactly you could replicate the drink at home. Cheers. 

Adam Gasper didn't place with his Laws Bourbon of Proof, but it had the most interesting appearance by far. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Adam Gasper didn't place with his Laws Bourbon of Proof, but it had the most interesting appearance by far.


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