A few weeks ago I attended the Masters of Taste preview in the locker room of the Pasadena Rose Bowl. The participants that evening were a sampling from the main event and it’s safe to say that that event, held April 3 and also written about in this blog, were all masters of their craft in dining, desserts and beverages. As this is a wine and spirits blog, it’s only apropos that I share the one boozy item that stood out. You’ll be surprised to learn that it was a classy bottled cocktail – newly minted from a company called Knox and Dobson – with the most amazing flavors and the same ABV as any cocktail you would order in a fine bar.
At the preview I just inhaled samples of two of the four the company had created. This was their recent social media post about the pre-event, “Our first event at the Masters of Taste Media Preview serving our Knox & Dobson Martini, Old Fashioned, Improved Whiskey Cocktail and Rye Manhattan cocktails CRAFT ON DRAFT!” (From Eve: the idea that you can get a cocktail on draft instead of batched sounded incredible, and they were. Some busy bartenders make their more popular cocktails in advance, and keep them in glass or plastic in the well of the bar to serve as needed.)
I did speak with Creative Director Peter Lloyd Jones for a moment (they were slammed at this pre-event) and learned that they came up with the idea while working at the popular Raymond 1886 in Pasadena. Imagine a pre-made cocktail made by mixologists that you know know their trade well.
Being Eve…well that teaser tasting just wasn’t enough. My visible salivation required that they send me home with samples for full review. This is what happened next.
Each pretty black bottled cocktail serves two drinks. I had four different bottled cocktails, and being the good sport I am known to be, I shared all of them with my husband. Below are the cocktails and what we thought of each:
Per their recommendation, I kept them in the refrigerator (they also suggested that you can store in the freezer) before serving.
“Aromatic gin martini, hint of dry vermouth, citrus, slightly earthy, juniper forward and refreshing.”
EB: I’m a Gin Martini girl. With that said I usually add a little Lillet Blanc (White Bordeaux wine with quinine and other botanicals) and/or an orange peel when I make one at home. Not wanting to change a thing, I tried the K and D as it was made, and it was pretty perfect. Crisp, definitely earthy with savory Umami notes as well – and I could imagine it as a perfect pairing with sushi. Interesting.
“Straight aged bourbon, natural cane sugar, orange oil and Angostura Bitters. Enjoy the taste of aged bourbon with bright citrus flavors, bitters, raw cinnamon, clove and American oak.”
EB: Lively spices, toasted oak and dried citrus fruit on the nose and palate – so much more than in your average Old Fashioned! Had to wonder how they did that. Really tickled my taste buds on the first sip. Looks like I need to buy orange oil, it may have been what gave the cocktail a slight orange glow too. Maybe the orange oil brings out the spice. Very tasty stuff.
Improved Whiskey Cocktail
“Made with straight aged rye whiskey, Maraska Maraschino Liqueur and Angostura bitters. This cocktail has a spiced flavor profile and is combined with American oak, citrus, along with bright and deep cherry notes.”
EB: Sweet, smoky, spicy and citrusy on the nose. (My favorite combination in a brown spirit cocktail!) Lots of cinnamon and sweet charred oak on the palate, the drink is very much spice-driven. The citrus elements joined the spice, dancing across my tongue, and together they held on for a long finish, making all of the notes come together for a home run.
“Rye Manhattan cocktail with straight aged rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. Combined with aged whiskey, the aromatic Italian-style Vermouth makes for a terrific flavor profile with spices, citrus and charred oak wood.”
EB: Lots of fresh orange on the nose, the bitters and warm oak that I just wanted to cozy up to! The spice comes out forward on the palate; the oak is strong as well, then the juicy orange rounds everything out nicely!
$15 a bottle retail and $10 wholesale. Get yours here: https://shop.knoxanddobson.com/
More info here:
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.