Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What's In Your 12 Bottle Case?: Lance Mayhew, Oregon Culinary Institute


Lance Mayhew is a sophisticated man when it comes to spirits.  A former chef (and still avid home chef), restaurant manager, bar manager, beverage manager, and a top-notch craft bartender, he is now a lead instructor at the prestigious Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon.  He is also a frequent contributor and elegant commentator on all matters spiritual to a number of magazines and internet sites (try Whisked Foodie to see an example) and, as a writer, has the ability to sample pretty much anything he wishes (and often before any of the rest of us have access to it.)
Although he is more than conversant with the cocktail scene, when he drinks he tends to prefer his spirits neat.  When he does choose cocktails, he is usually quite specific about what he wants in those cocktails.

So with all the spirit world at his command, what does Lance like in his private stash?  Here are Lance’s choices for his 12 Bottle Case of Spirits:

Absolut Vodka (For Bloody Marys)


Plymouth Gin (Can't live without Plymouth)


Beefeater Gin (Martinis)


Flor De Cana 4yr Silver Rum (Daiquiris)


Cazadores Reposado Tequila (totally versatile)


Aberlour Scotch (can't decide which marque)


The GLENLIVET 15yr Single Malt Scotch (nice spice)


Laphroaig 10yr Islay  Single Malt Scotch (Need an Islay representative)


Yamazaki 18yr Japanese Whisky (So good, I dream about it)


Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon (Gotta have a great bourbon on hand!)


Old Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey (Best rye out there, IMHO)


Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac (For cold winter nights)


So in the final analysis, one vodka, two gins, one light rum, one tequila, three different scotch whisky iterations, a Japanese Whisky (which is scotch-like), a singular Bourbon, a Kentucky Rye, and a Cognac.
 
It’s obvious that Lance prefers the brown spirits to the white and appreciates the effect of oak barrel aging (9 of the 12 are aged spirits).

 Four of the whiskies are either scotch or scotch-like, in that they are made from malted barley---and the two American whiskies are renowned for their rye-spiced nature and oak barrel aging. 

Although there is no precise age statement on the cognac, the Martell Cordon Bleu is considered a blend of approximately 25 year old eaux-de-vie, with an emphasis on the softer, more rounded cognacs of the Borderies area. The Flor de Caña Rum is 4 years old, and Cazadores Reposado Tequila has a brief “resting in the barrel” of only two months.  Only the vodka and two gins are un-aged spirits.

This is a key item list with highly assertive flavors---notice there are no liqueurs here---and assuming Lance’s island or den has a sufficiency of bitters and the necessary selection of fresh fruits, this selection has the capability of many of the great classic cocktails, as well as a source of some sublime singular sipping. I just hope he has a bottle of white and a bottle of sweet vermouth hidden away somewhere.

Lance Mayhew brings over 20 years experience in the hospitality field. In addition to being bartender/bar manager/ wine director in high-volume restaurants such as Sacramento's Ricci's Restaurant and Portland's Meriwether's, 50 Plates, and Beaker & Flask, Lance has also managed the front of the house - responsible for hiring, training, and scheduling. His original cocktails have been featured in publications including MIX Magazine, Imbibe Magazine, The Bartenders Gin Compendium, and Left Coast Libations; and he's discussed bartending and mixology for publications including the The NY Times, Chilled, MIX, and The Oregonian. In 2008, the Beverage Network named him one of America's "Ten Trendsetting Mixologists". Lance not only brings extensive product knowledge of wine, beer, liquor and food to teaching at Oregon Culinary Institute; but extensive hospitality experience as well. Lance was part of the inaugural class of 2010's Wine Location Specialists (the first of 19 people to achieve this distinction in North America) and is certified by the Society of Wine Educators as a Certified Specialist of Spirits. Lance is the former contributing writer for About.com on whisky and professional bartending and is an experienced journalist, contributing to publications such as Tasting Panel Magazine and Imbibe Magazine. Lance is an active member of the Society of Wine Educators, the French Wine Society and the International Association for Culinary Professionals and frequently conducts wine and spirit dinners for the local community. Lance has appeared as a guest speaker at a number of culinary festivals and trade shows bringing his knowledge and insight of the world of wine and spirits to people around the country. Lance currently serves as the resident expert for all things wine, spirits and mixology for WhiskedFoodie.com.

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