Glossary: Bonded

Bonded Whiskey Warehouse. Photo via PBS
During a recent visit to Barrelhouse Flat, we noticed something we had never seen on a cocktail menu before - 'bonded" bourbons and ryes. The bartender did a good job of explaining the distinction, and we wanted to pass it on to you.

"Remember the Maine" cocktail at Barrelhouse Flat
The term comes from the U.S. Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, which was enacted to ensure patrons were getting the real deal liquor in their glass. There are a few distilleries still adhering to the practice - like Wild Turkey, Laird's Applejack and Evan Williams - so it's good to know a little provenance.

Here are the stipulations for an American spirit to be bottled in bond:

1. It must be the product of one distillation season.
2. It must come from one distiller and one distillery.
3. It must be stored in a federally bonded facility under government supervision for four years.
4. It must be 100 proof (the very reason to know the meaning of this term when ordering - that's a stiff cocktail!).
5. The bottled spirit's label must identify the distillery (as a number), where it was distilled and where it was bottled.

I encourage you to peruse Barrelhouse Flat's online cocktail menu, and if you get the chance, stop by and get a drink - you'll definitely enjoy the bygone aesthetic.

The cocktail this week is from the New York Times. Said to aid the digestion of a stuffed stomach, it's a good nightcap after a holiday meal. Remember though, at 100-proof, stick to just one.

Medicinal Bonded Whiskey, an exception during Prohibition. Photo via PBS
The Reanimator via the New York Times
1 1/2 ounces straight rye whiskey, like Rittenhouse Bonded Rye Whiskey
1 1/2 ounces lighter Italian amaro, like Nonino
Thin-cut lemon peel, for garnish.

Stir the rye and amaro together with plenty of cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with the lemon peel.

P.S. A wealth of information: Ken Burn's "Prohibition"

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2 Responses to Glossary: Bonded

  1. That's pretty rough. Any 100 proof drink is absolutely hard to drink, one small glass is enough to give you a fatal hangover.
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