Basil Hayden’s a bourbon that pays tribute to the spice of rye

Although some craft enthusiasts might discard the name of Jim Beam, that’s not so easy to do when trying some of the whiskey in its small batch collection. Basil Hayden’s, a bourbon with a high rye content, is particularly worth extra sips. It’s named after distiller Basil Hayden, who “broke the rules” of Kentucky whiskey in 1796 by introducing more rye than is traditional for a typical bourbon, which must be at least 51 percent corn to earn the name of bourbon on the bottle.

Basil Hayden’s of today stays true to Hayden’s original recipe, with crisp hints of pepper and spice from the rye and a minty warmth in the finish. Its spicy complexity might be better served at a higher proof than the 80 it’s at, but it’s still an easy sipper that doesn’t get lost with other ingredients in cocktails.

Case in point is the Black Rose, a ruby drink well-balanced by the sweetness of the grenadine and the slight spice of the bourbon.

Black Rose

4 parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

2 parts Jack Rudy Grenadine

1 part lemon juice

4 dashes Angostura bitters

Orange peel

Shake and double strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Finish with a flamed orange peel.

— Max Wastler

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