Templeton Rye: The Good Stuff
Imagine a time when booze was banned: a world dry of liquor, beer and wine (or at least a country). Ponder the American economic ideal of supply and demand, and a man who cared just little enough to fulfill that demand at whatever cost.
Enter Alphonse Gabriel Capone, Big Al, King Alphonse, Scarface, Public Enemy No. 1. Looking to help a thirsty country, Capone became the leader of the of the Chicago based Mafia, and the country’s most notorious gangster in history.
We have all seen the movies about him, the 20th century Robin Hood of the Great Drought. The public loved him for his defiance, rebellion, and unruliness. I have a running routine with a friend and fellow bartender revolving around Big Al from The Untouchables. BATTER UP! And he would be
One of the sources of Capone’s whiskey came from the small town of Templeton, Iowa (pop.350) where a rye whiskey was being made that was simply called “The Good Stuff”. Reportedly this was Al’s whiskey of choice, and he even managed to smuggle a few bottles into Alcatraz after his arrest.
Templeton Rye is a small batch whiskey made from strains of winter and spring rye grain, fermented for 3-3 1/2 days then twice distilled. Aged a minimum of four years in American White Oak barrels with a number 3 char, Templeton is surprisingly rich and smooth in taste. Bottled at 80 proof, Templeton Rye’s flavor has hints of spice, and toffee with a chewy mouth feel and low heat.
Interestingly, Templeton has been made ever since Capone’s time but only went legit in 2006 and has been twice awarded a gold medal at the San Francisco Spirit’s Tasting beating out over 1000 other whiskies from around the world (not gonna make the obvious comparison here to Capone).
One more little Big Guy factoid: Capone, when need to go on the lam, one of the place he used to ‘vacation” was right here is Santa Fe, New Mexico at a former ranch called Bobcat Bite (if you are a foodie, then you may know the restaurant of the same name located on that same property)
In honor of Mr. Capone’s birthday (January 17th 1899), try Templeton in any of your favorite whiskey cocktails, or try one of mine
On The Lam Cocktail
- 2 oz Templeton Rye
- 1/2 oz Campano Antica
- 1/4 oz Solerno Liqueur
- 1 dash whiskey barrel aged bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.