September 28 2017
American Brown Spirits: A Cure For Autumn's Pumpkin-Spice Madness.
I returned from two weeks in South Africa this past Monday to find our country fully immersed in its inexplicable annual descent into pumpkin-spice madness. As I suspected would be the case, it’s gotten to the point where the entire phenomenon has reached a magnificent state of meta-ridiculousness in which the very items themselves seem to be mocking their entire raison d’être. To wit: Not only can you now purchase a product called Nestle Toll House Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice chips, but Villa Italian Kitchen in New Jersey recently announced that they’re offering pumpkin spice pizza. This, of course, is in addition to every pumpkin-spiced dessert-masquerading-as-coffee abomination on the market now that the weather has finally turned cooler.
But for those of us who eschew this sort of thing, there are options for getting into the pumpkin-spice spirit of the season without resorting to any of the above. A quick look through the Betty Crocker web site—which seemed to me to be the perfect resource for researching this quintessentially American spice combination—revealed that pumpkin spice, at least according to them, relies primarily on the flavors of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
Guess what else provides the warm, comforting character of many of those baking spices, plus so much more? Aging alcohol in oak barrels.
This year, then, instead of succumbing to all of the pumpkin-spiced madness swirling around like so many autumn leaves on a windy day, tuck into any one of the following American spirits, all of which possess some semblance of the sort of autumnal flavor that we all seem to clamor for.
Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey, Houston, TX (SRP $30) - Gentle aromatic profile, with a hint of honeysuckle and summertime stone fruit, and a light-bodied, sweet palate with candied pecans, more of that honeysuckle, a ginger note, and pie crust. Very easy to drink.