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The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

May 9, 2024

In this American, singular, and distinctly malty conversation with Tyler Pederson (@cerealdistiller), master distiller at Westland Distillery, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • How Tyler came to be an American Single Malt distiller and what it’s like to develop a resilient supply chain of farmers and malt houses that can sustain itself year after year.

  • Why distillers use the “hot steep” method to conduct sensory analysis of different barley strains, plus a hands-on demo where we compare three different samples from Westland’s barley portfolio.

  • The difference between a “single malt whiskey” versus a true single varietal whiskey, plus what it takes to get a farmer to take a risk cultivating a varietal they’ve never grown before.

  • And what the rules and standards submitted for approval to the TTB by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission could mean for the styles and varieties of spirits that will be available on shelves and behind bars for the foreseeable future.

  • Along the way, we pursue other interesting tangents, like why you don’t see much barley growing in the South, how the Japanese concept of Kaizen plays into running a distillery, Tyler’s personal thoughts on whether or not Bigfoot is real, and much, much more.

It’s entirely possible that this hot steep experiment and side-by-side tasting is the first time the process has been laid out and recorded for the public to see outside of a distillery or a brewery or a malting house. And because I’m super excited about that, I carefully recorded the whole process, and that video will be live on our YouTube channel within an hour or so of when this episode hits the podcast apps.

Featured Cocktail: Malted American Trilogy

This episode’s featured cocktail is the Malted American Trilogy. To make it, you’ll need:

  • 1 oz American Single Malt Whiskey

  • 1 oz Applejack

  • A couple dashes of Orange bitters

  • Some kind of dark, brown sugar - either a quarter-to-half an ounce of rich demerara or panela syrup, or a dark brown sugar cube. 

Combine these ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass with ice - and of course, if you’re using that sugar cube, do your muddling with the bitters and a splash of soda water first. Give everything a good stir, mixing until the drink is properly diluted and chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over a single large cube, garnish with an orange twist, and enjoy.

The American Trilogy cocktail was developed at the famous NYC cocktail bar, Little Branch, in 2006, and it traditionally employs rye whiskey, rather than American Single Malt. But simple cocktail formats like this modified Old Fashioned are a great opportunity to test the character of a whiskey - so why not give it a shot with American Single Malt (which is beginning to play the role today that rye whiskey played when the drink was invented)?