Hit the Bourbon before the Bucket

“Hit the Bourbon before the Bucket”
by Joe Macbeth

I’ve been really blessed at Rub to work for a group of owners who have allowed me to indulge one of my great passions; American Whiskey, namely Bourbon. It naturally fits with a Smokehouse bar anyway but perhaps not to the extravagant levels I sometimes take things. It dominates our cocktail menu with over half our drinks containing whiskey in some shape or form. We not only stock a whole range of the most recognizable names such as Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey and the like. But we also have a wonderful selection of top shelf American Whiskies that do not get appreciated as much as they should. And that brings me to the subject of today’s blog. A few key names from our top shelf, that if you’re a whiskey fan, you should really take the time to try the next time you visit. Kicking back, sipping on a great whiskey, is the perfect way to tide yourself over whilst you wait for the old food baby to subside and your legs to regain the ability to walk. So here’s a few of my favourites from our illustrious stock.


BOOKER’S BOURBON - 60.50-65.30% ABV

Introduced in 1988, the year I was born, this delicious barrel-strength bourbon is bottled uncut and unfiltered with each batch varying ever so slightly in it’s ABV content but with all of them packing a warming punch. It’s eponymously named Booker Noe, after the 6th generation master distiller at Jim Beam, and father of the current master distiller Fred Noe. The bourbon has a rich vanilla & nut sweetness. But most notably a pleasant, at least in my opinion, velvety texture that coats your tongue with it’s high alcohol content and lingers with a soft tingling sensation. As frosty winter nights lay ahead, this is the perfect bourbon to curl up with and fight away the cold.


This tiny little bottle of whiskey comes straight from New York where the guys at Tuthilltown Spirits have created the first legal pot-still whiskey created in New York since Prohibition was enforced. The grains in a whiskey give it a fair share of it’s flavour. Think of it like baking bread. You have a slice of rye bread for example it’s a bit more characterful, a bit spiced and peppery. The same rules apply to whiskey. The four grain combines corn, rye, wheat and malted barley for it’s unique blend. It sits somewhere between bourbon and rye whiskey with honeyed caramel flavours, peppery spice and a touch of chocolate.



Recommended as the bourbon for cognac aficionados. It was named after Jim Beam’s grand nephew Baker Beam and uses a special “family secret” yeast strain that’s been around for over 60 years. The result is a silky smooth textured bourbon that is reliably consistent from batch to batch. It’s aged for 7 years, picking up lovely nutty oak and dried fruit flavours with a hint of butterscotch toffee and licorice. It’s a little bit different and something that I think a seasoned whiskey drinker might enjoy as a change of pace.


STAGG JR - 65-68%

Stagg Jr is probably my personal favourite of the bourbons that we stock. It’s uncut and unfiltered like Bookers, and therefore does vary slightly from batch to batch. But it consistently has a toasty, dark molasses and caramel flavoured, high abv kick that engulfs your tongue in a barrel-aged blanket. Stagg Jr is the younger, more approachable version of the Sazerac company’s George T. Stagg. The whiskey is aged for 8-9 years and blends together a medley of flavours such smokey cloves, dark chocolate, rich brown sugar, pecan nuts and a hint of spice. Our bottle also happens to be signed by Buffalo Trace Master Blender Drew Mayville (which for whiskey nerds is pretty cool). If you can handle your booze, you love your bourbon and you’ve not tried Stagg Jr yet then I highly recommend you grab yourself a glass, lean back and relax. It’s hibernation time, you’ve got your whiskey buzz on, someone will wake you when it’s spring.

So hopefully i’ve whet your appetite a little bit for my personal passion project here at Rub. In 2016 to celebrate our new cocktail menu we’re also debuting a “Whiskey Club” at Rub Nottingham. The club will involve bi-weekly or monthly events for a lucky group of 20-30 people with sessions built around different American whiskey brands and topical themes. Whiskey will be sipped, cocktails will flow, nibbles will be devoured. If you’d like to find out some more information look out for posts on our various social media and send any queries to joe@rubsmokehouse.com.

Merry Whiskey drinking to you all!