Grind Time: Heaven Hill Whiskey Dinner
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Heaven Hill Distilleries executive Andy Shapira was the special guest at a whiskey dinner hosted by Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and Fujioka’s Wine Times on Wednesday.
Along with a taste of the highly allocated Parker’s Heritage bourbon, bottled in honor of Heaven Hill master distiller Parker Beam, guests sampled two versions of Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig bourbon, along with Evan Williams Single Barrel, Henry McKenna 10-Year Kentucky bourbon, Bernheim Original Wheat whiskey and a welcome cocktail made with Rittenhouse Rye whiskey.
The dinner took place at Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s Waterfront Plaza location, featuring a three-course menu highlighting the restaurant’s quality cuts of beef and family-style side dishes.
The meal started with a choice of soup or salad; I went for a traditional Ceasar salad that could have used a little more dressing. And croutons.
The ribeye, on the other hand, was about as perfect a plate as could be. Nothing but a slab of meat cooked rare and served so hot the juices continued to sizzle minutes after it was delivered to my table.
We finished with a choice of dessert; I went for Ruth’s Chris’ traditional bread pudding.
But the fun didn’t stop there. Along with the special annual Parker’s Heritage release, Shapira brought along a couple of bottles that are normally impossible to find in Honolulu.
Up first was a taste of Evan Williams 23-year-old single barrel bourbon, which was named Bourbon of the Year in 2011 and 2012 by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. At 107-proof, this stuff packs quite the punch, with the full-bodied flavor that comes with extra age. I’m not the biggest fan of the regular Evan Williams Single Barrel, but I would drink this all day long — if I could find it (and afford its $100+ price tag).
And while we didn’t get to crack the bottle, Shapira made jaws drop when he pulled out a Heaven Hill private label bottling that was produced for the Halekulani in 1952.
Distilled in 1948, the bottle features an image of the Halekulani’s original structure on the front and was served to guests staying at the hotel. Shapira stumbled across the bottle in Heaven Hill’s archives shortly before leaving for Hawaii and said it was the only one in existence at the distillery.
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.