Cherry Whiskey Challenge

By | March 8, 2015

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For me, the appeal of alcohol took a nosedive following my 21st birthday, and although life has changed a great deal since then, one constant remains: the need to cover up and/or numb myself to my crippling emotional pain. Of course, that is an exaggeration. My emotional pain is far from crippling. A wise man once said, “To alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” That wise man was Homer Simpson. Now that I think about it, he is neither wise nor a real man.

Regardless, alcohol is nice is moderation. With two little daughters, I don’t like the idea of having bottles of beer in the fridge. The idea of wine is too overwhelming and my lifetime of mocking wine drinkers that comment on the nose of the wine compared to the oaky undertones would open me up for too much hypocrisy. Liquor it is.

Rum? No. Never did anything for me. Vodka? Its endless flavors and mixability is worth paying attention to but they always taste artificially gross. Whiskey? Now, we’re talking. In the college days, we would enjoy a bottle of Jack Daniel’s green label mash. Why? Because, it was a full $2 cheaper than the black label alternative. That $2 could be stashed for the next all-you-can-eat steak offer at Ponderosa.

Living in Pennsylvania means that the search for a fine wine or good spirit begins and ends at ‘Fine Wine and Good Spirits.’ The PA state store has all the options you seek with the Johnstown Flood Tax added on for your convenience. Why should the poor people impacted by the decades old flood go without appropriate funding?

I had a short must-have list including:

  1. Must be able to mix with pop. Coke preferably Mt. Dew would be a bonus.
  2. Must be from the whiskey family. It vibes well with my DNA.
  3. Must be cheap. Hey, I’m looking to forget my problems, not add problems with an expense addiction. I was looking for the crack of alcohol not the cocaine.

Looking at the whiskeys is mind-boggling for a nonalcoholic like me. The colors, the labels, the sizes. Weeding through the options for some time, two options emerged. Evan Williams Cherry whiskey and Red Stag by Jim Beam Black Cherry Infused whiskey. I actually think that each are considered bourbons, but if I have to Wikipedia something to figure out what it is, I’m out.

As far as my criteria was concerned, they each scored a perfect three out of three. Cherry and Coke is pure magic. There are whiskey-ish, at least and with prices in the teens, they fit the crack budget. Here’s how they stack up head to head.

The Evan Williams was my first try, and whoa, it’s good. It is sweeter than I thought it would be initially, but not so over-the-top. Imagine spiked cherry grenadine. That’s pretty much what you get with Evan Williams cherry. In terms of proof, it’s on the weaker side, but again, I’m not looking to get hammered or pregame for my pregame. I just want to enjoy Simpsons reruns on FXX with added openness to humor.

Surprisingly, the Red Stag had a much different taste and profile to it. Profile? Is that to “whisky-snobby”? Anyhow, they were right to call it Black Cherry. It has a much more tart flavor that is a striking contrast to the Evan Williams. The tartness seems to intensify in the freezer so leave it in the pantry if you fear the tart.

So, the big question: Who wins? It was a close one, but the clear winner is … drum roll … me. The reason: I get to relax and unwind with cherry whiskey goodness.  These are both good.   Pop is good. The accompanying salty snacks are good. Try both, just not at the same time to find the one that suits your mood, your tastes and the level of amnesia you are looking to achieve.

Consume.Review.Repeat. gives both cherry whiskeys 8.75 forgotten problems out of 10. A rare but well deserved tie.

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To make and enjoy a Consume.Review.Repeat cherry whiskey Coke, follow these drinking instructions.

  1. Wait for the kids to go to bed. They don’t need to see this.
  2. Start with a mug. I’m not sure why but a coffee mug or larger is perfect. My mug of choice is a Tough Mudder bright orange mug because it reminds me of my masculinity.
  3. Load in some ice. Don’t go crazy, though. A few cubes will do you. Like it crushed? Big mistake and avoid at all costs.
  4. Pour in the whiskey. Chilled or room temperature works. Oddly, I would say Evan Williams is better chilled and Jim Beam is better room temp. No idea why.
  5. Add Coke. Coke is a natural fit for its mixability. Pepsi is obvious if you passed the Pepsi Challenge. Think outside of the cola box to try Mt. Dew and even an orange pop like Crush or Sunkist. The whiskey is sweet enough to blend well.
  6. This is the most important step and what separates other drinks from the CRR cherry whisky. You must stir the finished drink ever so slightly with a fork. Not some huge dinner fork, I’m not a barbarian. You know, one of those little forks that are always in high supply even when the dishwasher is piled high.
  7. Leave fork on counter. This really is only done to annoy your wife. If you don’t have one, get one and then annoy her.
  8. Enjoy!
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