The name White Dog, or un-aged, un-oaked whiskey, can often conjure thoughts of homemade distilling contraptions producing blisteringly strong paint thinner — or at least that’s the misconception. Historically, America owes a lot to the moonshiners that have pioneered the product throughout history (hint: the smaller the production, the better). Thankfully, this pungent spirit is now being produced and sold by a wide range of craft distillers domestically, gaining popularity for it’s unique flavor in contrast to the aged-whiskey we all know well.
New whiskey has nothing to hide behind, since aging in oak can often be used to hide any small imperfections. So the ingredients, fermentation, and distilling have to be considered very carefully. One distillery, House Spirits in Portland, OR, makes a delicious white dog not from corn (a grain many distillers use for raw whiskey), but from malted-barley, sourced from a local, organic farm in Oregon. This barley eau-de-vie, while still packing a punch at 100 proof, offers an incredibly floral and fruity aroma, and drank way too easily for what I was expecting.
Though sipping can be fun, this White Dog’s aromatics really reminded me of a Pisco, prompting me to try it out in a sour. The result was not quite as sweet as a Pisco sour, but it certainly was a fun experiment (note: I brought the amount of base spirit down a bit in the drink, due to its strength).
I’d also recommend trying out an Old Fashioned with white whiskey, or applying it to an Improved Genever cocktail, using Maraschino instead of sugar. I’m sure we’ll see more White Dogs coming to market soon, so I’d definitely encourage that you give them a try, or perhaps seek out a jar of homemade moonshine, if you can find it.
- 2 ounces House Spirits White Dog
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- egg white
- Combine ingredients and egg white in a shaker and dry shake (without ice, shake vigorously for a few moments).
- Add ice and shake again for about 10 seconds, then strain into chilled coupe or sour glass.
- Dash Angostura bitters, artistically if desired.