Portland distillery Stone Barn Brandyworks is best known for its lineup of fruit brandies and grappas. But it has dipped a toe into the whiskey realm, and its most recent release is a very Portland kind of spirit.
The special edition of Stone Barn's Straight Rye Whiskey, released last week, was made with 100 percent stone-ground rye from Bob's Red Mill and aged for over two years in toasted American oak barrels. Then things got really interesting. Distiller Andy Garrison aged it for two more months in a barrel that once held Hair of the Dog Brewery's "Cherry Adam from the Wood." It's a strong, dark ale that's aged with local cherries in old bourbon barrels. Essentially the barrel went from whiskey to beer and back again — recycling at its best.
"The idea grew out of the wine barrel finishes that are becoming more popular in the world of whiskey," says Garrison. "To me, there's more affinity between beer and whiskey than wine and whiskey. Hair of the Dog's beers have been a big inspiration to me, so this was really exciting. The deep cherry and dark chocolate from Adam were a good fit with the spicy, drier character of our rye."
Garrison says the whiskey offers deep aromas of cherries and cooked fruit, with fig, toffee and plum notes. If you want to try it for yourself, you can hit the Stone Barn Brandyworks tasting room Friday through Monday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., or stop by their booth at the PSU farmers market.
Better yet, pull up a seat at North Light on N. Mississippi, which hosted the launch party. Manager Emily Czarnecki has created a special cocktail called Cherry on the Wing that uses the whiskey, plus vermouth, orange bitters, and Stone Barn's Red Wing coffee liqueur.
Cherry On The Wing
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces Stone Barn Straight Rye Whiskey
1/4 ounce Stone Barn Red Wing Coffee Liqueur
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth
2 Dashes Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6
Garnish: Marasca cherry
Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add all ingredients and stir briskly for about 20 seconds, until cold. Strain into a coupe, garnish with a cherry and serve.
From North Light, Portland