Tag Archive for bourbon

Alley 26

Alley 26
320 East Chapel Hill St.
Downtown Durham
Website
$9 to $12 per drink
4 pm to 2 am
(May I take this moment to say
I love a bar that posts a closing time?)

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To my disappointment, Alley 26, Durham’s newest upscale bar, is not located in an alley. It takes up actual streetfront property, though I’m sure the alley beside it will be used in nicer weather than we had when I tried it in February. I was pleasantly surprised to find the bar had more than a handful of patrons at 8 pm, mostly young professionals. That’s a good sign for me because I like mid-evening drinking but I hate feeling like the only person in a joint.

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The bartenders dress in today’s snazzy bar wear, namely nice vests over black pants and button-up shirts. Jazz plays over the stereo system, but none of that elevator music. Instead, a beautiful jazz lyricist sang loud and clear on the recordings. The vibe is somewhere between an antique saloon and a speakeasy with tables built of medium-colored wood and a row of benches covered by peach cushions that aren’t very comfortable but are somehow perfect because they make you feel like you’re at your cool, alcoholic great-aunt’s house. You know, Aunt Maude’s place.

(Insert standard apology for bad low-lighting pictures here. If anyone wants to be my 2.8 f/s or wider lens fairy godmother, you knock yourself out, okay?)

(Insert standard apology for bad low-lighting pictures here. If anyone wants to be my 2.8 f/s or wider lens fairy godmother, you knock yourself out, okay?)

The Corpse Reviver No. Twenty Six, the bar’s take on the standard concoction, is made with a North Carolinian apple brandy, Lillet rosé, Aperol, lemon, and a brut rosé. It’s a distinctly fruity corpse reviver with a gorgeous color. The citrus elements of the drink are delightful, and the mild bitterness of the Aperol counteracts the nearly peach flavor of the brandy. With light fizz tickling my tongue, I found it an exquisite, vibrant drink.

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Little Fŭk’ər at the Borough

Little Fŭk’ər
The Borough
Downtown Raleigh
$6.50

borough lil fcker

I’ve been to the Borough twice now, and I love it as a casual night spot to relax with slightly trussed up comfort food and a good drink list. This is my second time drinking the Little Fŭk’ər as well. It’s made with bourbon, red apple Schnapps, butterscotch Schnapps, and ginger ale. The presence of ginger ale or club soda in a cocktail’s ingredient list is usually a sign I’ll think it’s watered down, but that’s not the case with the Little Fŭk’ər. Instead, the soda makes the sweeter Schnapps participants less cloying. I swear I can taste cinnamon, but that may be the red apple flavor playing games with my mind. Regardless, it entices me from one sip to the next. There’s no unpleasant alcohol burn from the bourbon, and the butterscotch serves as an invisible unifier of the other elements.

This is a nicely blended drink; all the ingredients melt into each other beautifully.

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Reviewed 26 Jan 13.

The Borough on Urbanspoon

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Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey

Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey
Kentucky
45% ABV

Bernheim

This winter wheat, small-batch whiskey is made in the same style as bourbon but the wheat is 51% of its makeup rather than corn. Its color is lovely, reminding me of opaque almond brittle, not the creamy stuff. It is significantly sweeter to smell than most bourbons. That sweetness sucks me right in and doesn’t let go even after the alcohol fire roars to life. The nose also has mellow cinnamon. Star anise comes to mind but so gently that licorice haters should not worry.

The sweetness coats my throat while sipping. It’s floral first, sweet blossoms like honeysuckle. Then the flavor segues into rich pecan and ends with classic bourbon notes and butter that lingers on the tongue. The body has an airy quality like taking a bite of Laffy Taffy complete with the filminess of that candy. But I like bourbon a lot more than I like taffy, and it’s no distraction here.

I don’t want to mislead you with candy comparisons; this is a strong whiskey. But it achieves a balance that makes drinking it entirely more pleasurable than the hard stuff often is.

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