Cannonball Run Production’s Whiskey Feast is the ultimate bar crawl, situated in a single room.
This past Saturday afternoon and night, just shy of 30 of the country’s most esteemed spirit purveyors stood shoulder to shoulder in Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Expo Center—plying festival attendees with unlimited tastes of scotch, bourbon and rye.
Stranahan’s brought small-batch, non-chill filtered single malt all the way from the Rocky Mountains, while Pennsylvania’s Hochstadter’s showed off their Slow & Low Rock and Rye, essentially an Old Fashioned in a bottle infused with raw honey, air-dried naval oranges, angostura bitters and bits of dissolved rock candy. Hailing from the birthplace of American whiskey, Virginia, Copper Fox displayed their signature spirit made from hand malted and applewood smoked barley, and Breukelen Distilling threw down for the borough with their smooth and oaky 77 Whiskey, created from 100% New York-sourced wheat.
And they were joined by about 20 more of the city’s best drinking establishments, all hoping to curry favor from an assembled crew of judges (we had the distinct pleasure of being one) with a whiskey-based, perfectly calibrated cocktail. Top marks went to Highland Park, who coupled their peaty, honeyed scotch with autumnal spices and bitter orange aperol, for a perfect-for-fall libation, Maison Premiere, who also tipped a hat to the season with an easy-sipping cider drink, spiked with Virgin Kaine’s ginger-infused bourbon, and Ditmas Park pizza parlor, Wheated, who stood out from the crowd with a Four Roses-fueled, Gray’s Papaya-reminiscent beverage crowned with aquafaba—a chickpea brine that produces a buoyant, eggless foam.
16 assorted food purveyors battled it out as well, pan-Asian food truck, Sweet Chili, produced the ultimate bar bite with pumpkin hot sauce-slathered sliders paired with whiskey-brined pickles, and Tipsy Scoop more than got into the spirit with a trio of powerfully boozy ice creams, vanilla bean bourbon, maple bacon bourbon, and dark chocolate whiskey salted caramel.
Which, needless to say, did exceedingly little to help ward off the inevitable next-day hangover.
Photos by Rodney Bedsole