The gifts of grain are as diverse as human imagination.
Grind the precious kernels into flour and you have the raw materials with which to make the Staff of Life: bread.
Two boules of pain au levain with whole wheat... my latest foray into whole-grain sourdough breadmaking.
Bread is alchemy, the seemingly magical transformation of various powders and liquids into something completely new. It never ceases to amaze me.
Mmmmm... bread. The perfect Butter Conveyance Device.
Another alchemical transformation is possible. Ferment the grain and then distill it, and you have Spirituous Liquors. Case in point: rye whiskey.
If you have a load of rye, you can do any number of things with it. You can sell it outright. It’s easily transportable, and as long as you keep it dry and away from insects and vermin, it will retain its wholesome character. You can add value by baking it into loaves of rye bread. Bread, however, has a limited shelf life, so an efficient distribution and marketing network is critical.
By converting your rye into whiskey, you solve the shelf life problem. Whiskey doesn’t spoil or go stale; it even improves while it is aging in the barrel. It’s also easy to transport. Now, that’s value-added!
If you have some rye whiskey sitting around, you should consider doing something useful with it. Why not make a Cocktail à la Louisiane?
The Cocktail à la Louisiane is a sweeter cousin of the Vieux Carré, one of several venerable tipples originating in old New Orleans. If you like that one, you’ll probably like this as well.
Cocktail à la Louisiane
¾ ounce rye whiskey (I splurged and used WhistlePig 100/100)
¾ ounce sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica works well, so would Punt e Mes)
¾ ounce Bénédictine
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
4 dashes absinthe (Herbsaint or Ricard also work)
Combine the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker glass. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
If you wish, drink your Cocktail à la Louisiane and eat a slice of bread... it’s a grainy twofer!