Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Max Wastler of All Plaidout and Basil Hayden’s fame. He has an incredible eye for both quality + craftsmanship and makes some excellent bar cart choices in this post. He'll take if from here...
Chicago’s Greta de Parry is an artist, a carpenter and a welder. The woman who proudly refers to herself as the “Lumberjane,” has proven to be a known entity in the otherwise male-driven world of woodworking. With her furniture now showing up in homes, bars, and restaurants the world over, Greta has quieted her critics, solidifying her reputation with sturdy, minimalist designs.
With her recently launched online store up-and-running, she is set to co-star in The Discovery Channel’s forthcoming reality series Bar Masters. From the sound of things, you might say Greta’s bar is fully stocked.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Greta at her studio and while there, I got a lesson in proper protection while welding, learned a bit about what makes her tick and laid some concrete. By the end, I was practically spinning.
One of her newest products is a bar cart built with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon in mind. “I wanted the cart to exude originality, warmth and timelessness in a variety of environments; akin to its home and suitor,” says de Parry. “The warmth of the naturally-finished, solid oak pays homage to the rich golden tone of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon. The organic, live-edge top compliments the geometric lines of the steel base much like the smooth and spicy flavor of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon.”
While she walked me through the particulars of her bar cart, I took it upon myself to walk Greta through the elements of what I’d place atop it to create my ultimate bar cart:
Basil Hayden’s Bourbon: For the past year-and-a-half, it’s been my job as Basil Hayden’s Cultural Bloodhound to share the stories of fans of our bourbon – folks like Greta who are making things by hand using only the highest quality materials. This same mentality goes into making every bottle of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon. Distilled by hand in small batches in rural Kentucky, Basil Hayden’s is made with twice as much rye as traditional bourbons. It owes its spicy rye flavor to a Hayden family recipe that dates back to 1796. At this time, Master Distiller Basil Hayden, Sr. mixed the spiciness of rye with the smoothness of corn to create a bourbon that has a light body, is super mixable and super smooth.
Cocktail Kingdom Bar Supplies: The Koriko weighted shaking tins and Hawthorne Strainer offered by Cocktail Kingdom are hands down the standard-bearer in my book. Durable, balanced and manufactured to last, these are a must for anyone serious about making good cocktails.
Dram Apothecary: About thirty minutes West of Denver, up a steep road from the interstate, shorter than a long driveway, sits the town of Silver Plume. As the name would suggest, this was a mining town’s mining town. It’s clear from the Victorian homes that dot the main street that this was a once-bustling town. With Dram Apothecary, Shae Whitney and her partner Brady Becker intend to rekindle that bustle. With a much cleaner feel, their all-natural “Hair of the Dog” puts all other aromatic bitters to shame. Their nutty-flavored pine syrup makes just as much sense in winter cocktails as it does in summer ones. It’s nearly as tasty as tapping the tree yourself.
Jack Rudy Grenadine: Unlike the typical bottle of grenadine with its shock of red food coloring, Brooks Reitz of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. uses only the highest quality ingredients - hand-picked cherries and pure cane sugar - for a well-balanced syrup that isn’t drowning in high-fructose corn syrup.
Old Blenheim’s Ginger Ale #3: There is something about eating ginger: that sharp, sweet, although somewhat bitter sensation. It gets lost in the corn syrup soaked ginger ales found in your grocer’s soda section. This bottled beauty, Old Blenheim, which I first found at Zingerman’s Deli in Greta’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the perfect addition to Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon for a sweet summer treat. A bourbon and ginger to end all bourbon and gingers, this South Carolina ginger ale is close-your-nose spicy, but the spice of the ale pairs perfectly with the spicy finish of Basil Hayden’s. Pro tip: go big or go home. Buy the red cap or you’re just wasting your time.
Pok Pok Som: Drinking Vinegar: just saying it makes my mouth pucker, and that’s kind of the point. I discovered these sour suckers at Sway, a Thai restaurant in Austin, Texas. My two favorite varieties of Pok Pok owner Andy Ricker’s creations have been mellowed with the essential essences of tamarind or raspberries. Add a splash to your favorite cocktail and feel that kick of vinegar offset some of the sweetness. It works remarkably well.
Scrappy’s Bitters: On a recent trip to Seattle, I toured the Theo chocolate factory, and afterwards, I picked up a bottle of Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters, made exclusively with Theo’s delicious chocolate. When Scrappy’s owner Miles Thomas and I met for a drink, he suggested I try two or three drops of chocolate bitters to a Manhattan, my favorite drink. When I got home, I did just that, and wow! The warm chocolate flavor finished off my first several sips and it made for an enjoyable experience.
Seedling Fruits Bittercube Cherry Bitters: Exclusively made available through Chicago’s Seedling Fruits, I received these rich bitters from Seedling’s founder Pete Klein, a personal hero of mine. He teamed up with Milwaukee’s Bittercube to create bitters with the plumpest cherries from his orchard in South Haven, Michigan. It resulted in the ideal addition to any Manhattan. Better than any cherry on top, next time try these bitters.
To read more about Max's journey as Basil Hayden’s Cultural Bloodhound, visit www.BasilHaydens.com. He has excellent taste and is always sharing the coolest stuff.