One of my favourite bourbons is Maker’s Mark, plain and simple. This whisky is big, bold and surprisingly smooth. The main thing I like about it is the moderation of the corn aromas in the nose. Being a bourbon it is obviously going to have some corn characteristics, but unlike some cheaper bourbons, Makers Mark has created a wonderful balance. You may notice that I use “whisky” instead of “whiskey” to describe Makers Mark, that’s because the heritage of the company goes back to Scotland and they retained the Scottish spelling of whisky.
Personally, I feel the key to Makers Mark is the inclusion of wheat in the mash bill. This creates a smooth whisky that is different from most corn-based bourbons. Another aspect is that this bourbon is created in small batches which helps maintain the quality of the product. The fact that Makers Mark is 45% alcohol and retains its smoothness is a testament to the quality of the whiskey. If you ever have a sore throat, because of a cold, take a shot if whiskey, it helps.
Nose: Great nose with lots of deep aromas
Palate: Strong bourbon flavours (vanilla) with charcoal and that Bourbon kick (corn alcohol)
Finish: This finish is long and smooth with a touch of oak
The only two Canadian whiskies that come close to Makers Mark are Forty Creek Barrel Select and Wiser’s Very Old whisky (18 years). Neither can compete with Makers Mark nose.
Because this whisky has a lot of character but is still very smooth, it lends itself to a good cocktail. The Manhattan is the perfect cocktail to use Makers Mark in. It’s balanced, but the bourbon plays the key role. Another good classic cocktail is an Old Fashioned made with Makers Mark.
Maker’s Mark Manhattan
2 oz Maker’s Mark whisky
½ oz sweet vermouth
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry. It should be noted that rye whisky is the classic whisky in a Manhattan.
Maker’s Mark Old Fashion
2 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
½ orange slice
1 tsp Simple Syrup (2:1)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Gently muddle orange with simple syrup, bitters together. Fill glass with ice, then add the whiskey. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.