Two of “Best Bars in America” select and share unique, single recipe barrels of highly acclaimed Four Roses Bourbon.
Two of the most highly regarded bars in America announce the release of a unique flight of Four Roses bourbon today. The owners of Elixir (H. Joseph Ehrmann) in San Francisco, California and Jimmy’s (Jimmy Yeager) in Aspen, Colorado met up in Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year to tour distilleries and find unique bourbon for their collections. The result is a selection of individual barrels from the Four Roses Distillery’s Single Recipe Barrel Program that are distinctive and, when served as a flight, help tell the story of bourbon production, the distillery itself and the friendship between these two great bar programs and owners.
“Four Roses has been a favorite bourbon of mine since I lived in Spain years ago, so when it was re-introduced to the American market, I got on board right away to support it. I became friends with the great team at the distillery, including (Master Distiller) Jim Rutledge, and have been anxious for some time to get down there and hand select my own barrels” said Ehrmann.
“Today’s whiskey market is changing rapidly. Here’s a distillery that has been making phenomenal products for generations and they are once again at the front of the pack in their own country. The unique approach to their product line makes them not only a stand out in the industry, but a great study in American whiskey and where it can go from here.”
Mr. Ehrmann brought Elixir Bar Managers Shea Shawnson and Nick DesEnfants with him to select the barrels and at the last minute invited friend Jimmy Yeager to join the trip. “H. simply told me to make the trip happen and that I had to be there, so I did, and he was right!” declared Yeager. “The experience was unique of all of my distillery visits and the whiskey we selected is not only delicious, but, when served as a flight, it tells a story and creates an experience for our guests. One of the things shared between Elixir and Jimmy’s is a passion for an exceptional customer experience, and this is a bourbon tasting you won’t find anywhere else.”
The single recipe approach to Four Roses Bourbon means that ten distinct bourbons are made by crossing two mash bills (grain recipes) and five different yeasts. Master Distiller Jim Rutledge selects the bourbons that are used for the company’s different products that are released to the general public. For this particular “barrel program”, Mr. Rutledge selected one barrel of each recipe for the tasting and the four gentlemen tasted through them, evaluating and choosing their favorites.
“One barrel in particular stood out to everyone as the richest, most well-rounded bourbon of the bunch and we unanimously agreed that it had made the cut.” Ehrmann continued. “As we tasted some more, we agreed that one barrel was not enough. We chose another two barrels that had the same yeast strain but different mash bills, demonstrating the difference that the mash bill makes on the final product, with all other variables held relatively constant (including equal aging). So in the end, we have three distinct bourbons to pour in the flight and a story of bourbon production that we can share with our customers.”
Mr. Ehrmann and Mr. Yeager have been friends for several years, spending time together in both Aspen and San Francisco, sharing ideas in better bar programs and bartender training. This June, Mr. Ehrmann will return for his fourth annual stint as the Guest Bartender at Jimmy’s during the famous Food and Wine Festival where he’ll be hosting parties and pouring the flight with others, including some of the fourth barrel that he bought for Elixir alone and dedicated to his fiancé.
“We have some fun plans for reusing the actual barrels that we get to keep for aging some products from other distiller friends of ours.” declared Yeager. “Our friendship, and that of our bars, brings together circles of friends in ways that will hopefully continue to develop new, delicious ideas for our customers and the industry. If you can’t have fun with this business like we do, why do it?”