Holiday 2022 Q&A
PATRICK LARSON | NOVEMBER 23, 2022
Q: Which bourbons should be on my short list to buy for my best friend’s collection?
A: Whenever I am buying for someone else, before I think about brands, I first think about what I know they like. If they are open to something experimental, Resilient has released quite a few 17-year Bourbons with unique finishes like Madeira and Tawny Port cask. For those who like traditional I've really enjoyed Russell's Reserve 13 Year and Calumet 14 Year.
Q: Once all your presents are wrapped, what are you pouring to celebrate? A: Whenever it gets to be the cold season I always enjoy something that matches the weather, but also reminds me of what’s to come. Bardstown Bourbon Plantation Rum finish is perfect for this. Rich notes of brown sugar and cherrywood with tropical notes of pineapple is exactly what I’ll pour.
Q: For after-dinner drinks, is Scotch your spirit of preference? What is? A: Maybe this is a bit old school, but I love ending the night with older Cognac or Armagnac. A nice pour of PM Spirits Project Grande Champagne Cognac or Chateau Laubade 1971 after a great meal is hard to beat in my book.
Q: So many people are into tequila right now. What are some great ones I should pour for large parties? A: Tequila can be tough because there are so many styles and they vary so much from distiller to distiller. Lately I’ve really been digging Siembre Valles Ancestral Blanco. It has those clean mineral and citrus notes followed by a light earthiness. It’s also cask strength which really brings it into balance and lets you experience that spice.
Q: When it comes to Japanese whisky, what are some approachable starters I should consider? A: In the last few years there have been so many excellent craft distillers coming into the US market that I’ve been lucky enough to try. Fukano 14 Year is a great starting point because it has a nice age and has all the classic notes of nougat, dark honey, and ripe apricot. Matsui Shuzo 21 Year is another awesome example of a terrific distillery putting out excellent juice over 2 decades old that costs a fraction of what some of the well known brands would and really delivers.
Q: What is your “go-to” cocktail to celebrate the holidays? Depends on the occasion? A: Even though it’s cold, I still always want something refreshing. A Kentucky Mule with Dickel 13 Year Bourbon and a dash of celery bitters is just one of the cocktails I’ll be drinking until New Years.
Q: What spirit would you bring to a holiday party when you want to impress? A: Whenever I’m going to a party I usually assume the main types of spirits will already be there, so always try to bring something a little different. Hampden has always been one of my favorite Rum producers and the LROK the Younger will show you why. I have yet to find someone not blown away by Roger Groult Calvados 13 Year Old, Jurancon Cask.
Q: Is there a bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion, or something special on your holiday wish list? A: George T Stagg Bourbon 2009 141.4 Proof - going to wear my hazmat suit.
Q: What is the most surprising food and spirits pairing you’ve ever experienced? A: Isla Scotch and oysters. Ardbeg 19 and plump West Coast on the half shell is extraordinary.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you? A: I’m an extremely avid cook. When I’m not researching spirits I’m poring over cookbooks or exploring new ingredients.
With more than a decade of experience in the food and wine world, in 2018 Patrick joined Acker and quickly entrenched himself in Acker’s retail business operation - building teams, purchasing, and planning retail strategy. A trained sommelier, Patrick has focused his passion on spirits and is known as Acker’s resident spirits expert - the “go-to” guy for everything from cocktail inspiration to the finding the best fireside sippers. His dead-pan humor is second to none, and is the first person you’d want to drink with for some well-placed one liners, and loads of spirits knowledge.