Hybrid Booze Is a Thing. A Very Delicious Thing.
Your guide to gin sakes, bourbon Scotches and “vodquila”
Some men devote themselves exclusively to a single drink of choice.
Then there’s the other extreme — men who love plumbing different bottles so dearly that they’ve created an entirely new class of booze to quench their multiplicitous thirst: the hybrid spirit.
Think of it as the grown-up’s suicide soda (aka that thing you definitely did in junior high where you mix all the fountain sodas in one cup because sugar).
Here are seven worth trying.
Red Eye Louie’s Vodquila
When it comes to ideas for hybrids, putting the two classic hard-partying fraternity liquors into one bottle is a no-brainer. This one takes 100% agave Highlands tequila and mixes it with a six-times-distilled, imported grain vodka. This hybrid seems sure to start a new fad in novelty shots, and to become a staple of efficient, cutting-edge mixologists.
A few years back, the outside-the-box idea in hybrid spirits was undoubtedly Jinzu, bartender Dee Davies winning entry for the 2013 Show Your Spirit competition. Essentially, he put dry, juniper-forward British gin in with the subtle fruitiness and smooth finish of good sake. It’s already known to make killer martinis and “J&Ts”; bartenders will be finding new uses for this stuff for years to come.
Piedre Almas +9
Taking the next step in the gin-boom concept is this number from Oaxaca. Instead of mixing gin into some high class mezcal, the mezcal is taken back to the distillery and rectified with the nine staple botanicals of gin. It’s essentially gin made with mezcal, and the first agave-based gin. Try it in your next Paloma.
Jim Beam Kentucky Dram
The highest profile entrant in hybrid spirits is Jim Beam Kentucky Dram, a limited edition found mostly in upscale travel retail outlets. Using Beam’s straight Kentucky bourbon as a base, blenders added some peaty Highland whisky to play up the barrel char, creating a smoked vanilla flavor.
Grey Goose VX
Unless you hang out with a lot of Russians, straight isn’t the way you usually take your vodka, but that is something Grey Goose VX is meant to fix. By taking the fairly neutral base of vodka and blending it with cognac, what Grey Goose has done is fashion a softer cognac flavor with a cleaner finish.
High West Campfire
If you like whiskeys of all stripes, Campfire is a blend of high-rye bourbon, rye and a peated Scotch whisky. Sweet, well-seasoned and lightly smoky, Campfire is a big hit in craft whisk(e)y circles, and one of the best creations to come from innovative Utah blenders High West.
Most hybrid spirits are things you could drink straight, or at least with some ice. But for a hybrid meant strictly for cocktails, there is Malibu Red. By mixing tequila into coconut-flavored rum, Malibu has taken flavored rum and made it into an above-par mixto tequila. Malibu Red balances its tequila and coconut flavors well, and it makes for an interesting margarita, especially for those who don’t want to reach for 100% agave.
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