Classification: Straight Bourbon with Dark Cherry & Bourbon Vanilla Beans
Company: St. Elmo Steak House
Release Date: Ongoing
Age: 3 Years
Mashbill: 54% Corn, 36% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Color: Dark Ruby
MSRP: $35 (2021)
Dark chocolate | Vanilla bean | Black cherry | Light brown sugar & oak | Non traditional yet inviting opening
Strong cherry syrup | Crushed black cherries | Vanilla | Two dimensional with a viscous mouthfeel
Cherry syrup | Light vanilla | Flash of baking chocolate | Peppercorn spice | Sweet
St. Elmo’s Steak House is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the oldest Indianapolis steakhouse in its original location, having opened its doors in 1902. While St. Elmo’s is famously known for being a favorite of Peyton Manning during his time as quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, it is also well known for their famous Elmo Cola. This drink consists of ice, 2 ounces of St. Elmo Bourbon, cola, and a two cherry garnish. Simple in nature, it’s the twist in how St. Elmo’s bourbon is made that makes it unique.
According to Elliot Dixon of Huse Culinary, the restaurant and retail food group that owns and operates St. Elmo’s, “the barrels are dumped and then we add the cherry and natural vanilla bean, if you see floaters at the bottom of your bottle – that is why.” This gives the bourbon a unique flavor profile providing a good base for simpler cocktails. The company states that St. Elmo’s Bourbon “is often served on the rocks with a dash of bitters for a Manhattan or the way we serve it in St. Elmo Steak House with a splash of cola to recreate our signature Elmo Cola.”
So how does the whiskey taste neat? While it may not be finished in a secondary barrel, it reminds me of the bourbon equivalent of Angel’s Envy Rye. Ultimately, it is a bourbon that needs to be judged by its overall capabilities versus its standalone sip. As a sipping whiskey, the cherry syrup flavor profile dominates, creating a sickly sweet bourbon that will instantly produce a love it or hate it reaction. However, if used as the company recommends, and it's mixed with cola or a just few dashes of bitters, the bourbon transforms into a fantastic cocktail bourbon. These characteristics are why it made the cut for our Ultimate Valentine’s Day Whiskey Drink Guide. As long as you know your end use for it, this whiskey has serious potential.