Single Malt – Why this traditional spirit is so delish
Written by Kachentha Bennett, Distiller, Tenth Ward Distilling
There’ve been whispers of the American Single Malt looking to garner its due appreciation on the spirits scene among whisk(e)y enthusiasts. No, we’re not talking about the classically enjoyed and well known Scotch Single Malt, or even the beloved Japanese Single Malt. As a relatively new category of spirits the American Single malt is generating excitement among spirit enthusiasts and collectors. I’ll bet you didn’t know this – the number of American single malt distilleries eclipses those in Scotland (but only by a few)! So, what exactly is American Single Malt and what does it have to do with Tenth Ward?
What makes a single malt?
Currently there is no formally defined category as per the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the federal agency dedicated to alcohol permitting, labeling, and marketing requirements among other things. A movement has sprung up comprising of distillers in the U.S., called the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission. This group is dedicated to championing the formal inclusion and protection of this growing category of spirits. Their proposed definition is the following: “American Single Malt Whisk(e)y is whisk(e)y distilled entirely at one United States distillery, mashed, distilled, and matured in the United States of America, distilled to a proof not exceeding 160° proof from fermented mash of 100% malted barley and stored in oak containers not exceeding 700 liters, and bottled at not less than 80° proof.”
The Tenth Ward Twist
Here at Tenth Ward, we have created our own single malt for you to discover and enjoy this quarter. Starting with a 100% barley harvest locally grown by our partners at Rippon Lodge Farm in West Virginia, the grain is floor malted by the farmers. This painstaking traditional practice, once common before the industrial revolution, is rarely in use these days. It involves steeping and spreading grain on a concrete floor and leaving it to germinate for up to five days. Every eight hours the grain is turned by hand to encourage air flow and prevent roots growing. Although it imparts a distinct, more complex flavor to the barley it is extremely labor intensive and tricky to properly pull off – but we feel that it’s worth it and you deserve it.
We then brought the malted barley back to our stillhouse where it was fermented and distilled on site. Once the distilled spirit was collected, we poured and stored it into new oak charred barrels – and left it there. Now, almost a year later we have harvested the toasty goodness. Just for extra “oomph” we have blended our single malt with barrels of an 8-year single malt from a neighboring distillery. We feel that this creates the optimal experience for our beloved patron’s palates. Give it a try neat, or in some of the cocktails listed below!
Nose: A sweet and grassy impression, oak with rich notes of chocolate.
Taste: Smoke, tobacco, a bright oaky mouthfeel, small hints of pepper and leather. Finishing with a smooth clean refined taste and warming sensation.
How to Mix It
2 ounces Single Malt
0.75 ounce sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Tenth Ward’s Absinthe Nouvelle
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Blood and Sand
0.75 oz Tenth Ward Single Malt
0.75 ounce sweet vermouth
0.75 ounce Tenth Ward Brinton’s Brandy (sub cherry liqueur if needed)
0.75 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
Garnish: orange peel
Add the Single Malt, sweet vermouth, Brinton’s Brandy and orange juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
2 ounces Tenth Ward Single Malt
0.75 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
Ginger beer, chilled, to top
Garnish: lime wedge
Add the Single Malt and lime juice to a highball glass full of ice. Top with the ginger beer and stir briefly and gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge.
How do I get my hands on it???
You can sign up today for free. Bottle Club members get all the perks at Tenth Ward, including having access to exclusive cocktail menu items, four amazing Bottle Club-only releases per year, special invites to Bottle Club-only events, and more. Just check out our blog about the Perks of Being a Bottle Club Member here.