Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Honey whiskey leaves drinkers buzzing

By Matthew M. Robare

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Matt Robare/Collegian

Matt Robare/Collegian

The trouble with many whiskeys – especially those in the price range of most college students – is that they can have a harsh taste and can therefore be unpleasant for developing palettes. Well, Evan Williams Honey Reserve, a straight Kentucky bourbon infused with honey, has solved that problem. The Honey Reserve manages to combine the sweetness of honey with the kick of quality whiskey without compromising either element.

Plus, it has a great price: A 750 ml bottle will only set you back $13.99.

If the honeybee and the words “Evan Williams Honey Reserve” on the label don’t tip you off, pour a shot and smell it. It has a lovely amber color and the whiskey and honey smell combine nicely to form a bouquet that is neither too sharp nor too sweet. But the taste is really something, starting out honeyed and sweet and then cascading into smooth, hot whiskey. It’s like every whiskey molecule is trapped inside a bubble of honey that effervesces in your mouth.

Shots of this stuff are not recommended. To enjoy it properly, sip and savor. There are also a few cocktails that can be made with the Honey Reserve. The website suggests: “Ginger Honey,” Honey Reserve over ice, filled with ginger ale; “Honey Splash,” combine the Honey Reserve, cranberry juice and lemon lime soda (like Sprite or Mellow Yellow) and pour over ice; “Lemon Honey,” with lemonade and “The Stinger,” Honey Reserve, ordinary straight bourbon, an energy drink and grenadine shaken and poured into a chilled shot glass.

Soon after first encountering the Honey Reserve, I invented a cocktail, currently unnamed: pour equal amounts Evan Williams Honey Reserve and Bacardi Grand Melon, a watermelon-flavored rum, into a chilled glass.

The chilled glass brings out all the flavors of both the Honey Reserve and the Grand Melon, and the scent takes on distinctive watermelon characteristics. On the tongue, the flavors combine like two soulmates very much in love reuniting after a long time apart and who were very, very lonely.

The Evan Williams distillery is owned by Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., bottled in Bardstown, Ky., and named after an 18th century distiller. Evan Williams was an immigrant from Wales who is credited with being Kentucky’s first whiskey distiller. Heaven Hill is the world’s largest family-owned distillery. It was put together after the repeal of Prohibition by a group of investors led by a branch of the Beam family, who still owns it.

Evan Williams Honey Reserve was introduced in the fall of 2009, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve was launched in September of last year and eggnog premixed with bourbon is available during the winter Holiday season. The Honey Reserve was awarded a Silver Medal at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

According to the website, bourbon must be made from a mash of at least 51 percent corn and aged in a charred oak barrel for at least two years, although the Evan Williams brand bourbons are aged four years or more. The Honey Reserve is 35 percent alcohol, or 70 proof. It is an extraordinary drink and worthy of at least a taste.

Matthew M. Robare can be reached at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Honey whiskey leaves drinkers buzzing”

  1. sheila simonds on October 26th, 2013 4:04 pm

    you should call it lovers since they just re united It would be fun asking for one to… yes bartender I would like a lover… LOL

  2. just me on April 21st, 2014 7:57 pm

    Unsweetened iced tea, shot of lemon juice, double shot of evan williams w/honey. You can thank me later.
    PS. I call it a Sir Evan.

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