Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A Free State Collaboration: Dragon Dog's Frederick Rye Whiskey

Frederick Maryland is at the crossroads of many family road trips,  those leading north on Route 15 towards Thurmont and Pennsylvania or those leading west towards Cumberland, Seven Springs, and beyond.  It also explains the high frequency of Civil War battles fought in the city or surrounding land including the battles of Antietam and to some extent Gettysburg.  Today, Frederick city and county is a craft beverage destination with a plethora of wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries. 

Two of these are Maryland's largest brewery, Flying Dog Brewery, and Dragon Distillery. Flying Dog beers are widely distributed, of excellent quality, and are known for the Hunter S. Thompson inspired labels drawn by artist Ralph Steadman. Dragon Distillery is a small operation whose Frederick county roots dates to the mid-1700s.  Some of their products are inspired by the Founder's great-grandfather Bad Bill Tutt and long-held family recipes. 

A newer recipe is a collaboration between Flying Dog and Dragon called Dragon Dog's Frederick Rye Whiskey ($42, 48%) and is marketing as "Frederick's first Rye Whiskey". Flying Dog prepares a mash using a proprietary blend of nine specialty rye grains which is then fermented and aged at the distillery. Over ice, the spirit provides a spicy wet stone aroma, with the spice and rye packing cinnamon and other dry baing spices. The heat is noticeable upfront but quickly backs off during the tail. 

And as a BevFluence contributor, we are still beating the Negroni drum via recipes from Negroni, More than 30 classic and modern recipes for Italy's iconic cocktail ($12) by David T. Smith and  Keli Rivers available by Ryland, Peters, & Small.  An offshoot of the Boulevardier is the Old Pal which replaces the bourbon with rye whiskey and calls for equal parts rye, Campari, and Cochi Americano or red vermouth.  My version of the Old Pal uses the Mt. Defiance Distillery Sweet Vermouth ($19, 350ml) (pre-mixed with Campari) and with the Dragon Dog provides a very dry and chalky version of this cocktail where it feels like the glass has been rimmed with cinnamon powder.  

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