Local* Favorite: 8 Feathers’ Vanilla Bean Whiskey

*While it might not be local to me right here and right now (I know, the sinnery), it’s a small producer that mostly serves its immediate community (21+! bad joke) and sources locally itself, for which it deserves the cred. And, of course, those of us that are enthusiastic and/or dweeby enough to manage to get it 3,000 miles away.

8-feathersVanilla Bean
Producer: 8 Feathers Distillery
Location: Boise, ID
Type: Whiskey, Flavored, Vanilla
ABV: 56%

It smells like vanilla extract, and more importantly tastes like what you think vanilla extract should actually taste like (c’mon, I know we’ve all been there). It’s an extremely smooth, vanillin-free whiskey made of local grains that are ground in-facility, and the byproduct of fermentation is given to local farmers to feed their animal habitants. Moreover, 8 Feathers recycles the water it uses, saving a hell of a lot of the resource in production. Some really good stuff here.

My only problem with this whiskey whatsoever is that its label is such a monstrosity that I would have never, ever purchased it myself. Never, not ever, forever. Luckily, my mom has been in Idaho for so long enough that she’s immune to dumpety marketing practice that she probably blew right past it without a second thought. Marketing, ya know? Too often it is such a great disservice to bad companies and good companies alike.

Good on the rocks and also strong enough in flavor to hold its own in a cocktail, I got this while still on my New York Sour kick (still good, I promise), and thought this would make a mighty fine variation. Spoiler alert: it did.

8 Feathers’ Vanilla Bean New York Sour (NYS)

2 parts 8 Feathers’ Vanilla Bean whiskey
.5 part lime
.5 part lemon
1 part simple syrup
.5 oz red wine

jigger for measuring
shaker for shaking
strainer for straining
spoon for floating
ice for shaking + serving

Add all ingredients (minus the wine) to your shaker, fill with ice, and shake away. Strain into your glass, and add ice. Holding the spoon convex side up over your glass, close to the surface of the drink, slowly pour your wine over the back of the spoon. This will make your party trick work  the wine float on top of the previously-prepared vanilla sour.

I know, there is lime juice in this, which is not a standard “sour” ingredient. But lime juice and lemon juice, Fun Fact, “appear”, per say, at different times whilst drinking; lime will present a strong initial sourness, and then disappear quite quickly. Lemon, however, will come out later, and linger a bit on the palate. That being said, with the smoothness of the vanilla – as opposed to the traditionally stronger, more strict bite from a non-flavored bourbon or rye – combined with a lower (AKA more acidic) pH, I found it beneficial to cut some lime in to help balance the NYS characteristics all the way through.


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