After attending an event for Savannah, GA, tourism, I was introduced to some interesting spirits and beers. One of the distilleries was Ghost Coast Distillery, which agreed to send a few bottles of whiskey for me to review — the four bottles of whiskey were provided by the company, but all opinions are my own.
At the Savannah tourism event, I was given a taste of the distillery’s Carthusian herbal liqueur, which is an interesting drink. There’s a lot going on in this somewhat bitter spirit — so much so that I couldn’t identify a single flavor. It would be a good drink with some club soda, otherwise it needs to be used as a secondary ingredient in a cocktail.
I was also given a taste of the Chalmers Maraschino cherry-almond liqueur. This is definitely meant for sweetening a cocktail as it’s much too sweet to drink on its own. It could also be poured over ice cream.
Following the event, Ghost Coast Distillery sent me four of their whiskies: grain whiskey, straight bourbon, ginger whiskey, and honey whiskey. I tasted all four on their own and made a few cocktails with each.
Notes on the Whiskey
Straight Bourbon — I was unimpressed by this one. It’s lighter than any bourbon I’m used to drinking (in color, aroma, and flavor). There is no whiskey burn at the end, but there is a little bite. Overall, it’s a smooth whiskey that’s good for mixing.
Grain Whiskey — I feel like this whiskey has a bit more flavor than the bourbon. It was definitely better in a Manhattan. It’s still a little lighter than I’d like.
Ginger Flavored Whiskey — This has a light whiskey aroma with a hint of oakiness. The flavor is sweet with a spiciness that tastes like candied ginger without the ginger bite. It’s quite smooth to drink neat.
Honey Whiskey — Definitely sweet. You can taste the honey likely because the whiskey base is lighter. This is a good option for cocktails when you want to cut down on the simple syrup.
Ghost Coast Whiskey for Cocktails
The first cocktail I tried was not from any recipe I found, but based on available ingredients. Let’s call it the Ghost of Summer (which is, admittedly, a terrible name — I’ve found a similar recipe calling it a summer bourbon cocktail). This is a refreshing summer-inspired cocktail that I managed to make close to winter. This is probably better when raspberries are in season and sweeter.
Ghost of Summer
- 2 oz. Ghost Coast Ginger Whiskey
- 0.5 oz. simple syrup
- fresh mint and raspberries
- Club soda
Muddle the mint and raspberries in the glass (I like a lot of mint). Add simple syrup, ice and ginger whiskey. Top off with club soda and stir. Add a mint garnish.
Bourbon Maple Leaf Cocktail
This sounded like a great autumn cocktail, but wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I think a whiskey sour in general requires a bourbon that has a fuller flavor than Ghost Coast to balance out the lemon. I would definitely try this cocktail again with a different bourbon. I might try this one again with the honey whiskey instead.
This would also look a lot better with a cinnamon stick in the glass, but I don’t have that.
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 to 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon, squeezed)
- pinch ground cinnamon
Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour
Much like the previous cocktail, this one was too sour mostly because the Ghost Coast bourbon doesn’t have as strong a flavor as others. Adding a little extra maple syrup (or simple syrup as I did because I don’t have much maple syrup) or club soda cuts the sourness of this drink. This is also better with Ghost Coast honey whiskey, which adds more sweetness to balance out the lemon. I also used more rosemary in my version.
- 1½ oz. bourbon
- 1/2 fresh lemon
- 1/3 oz. maple syrup
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
The Italian Job
This was suggested by Ghost Coast as a cocktail specifically for the ginger whiskey. I get the feeling that it’s a little too much Campari (maybe it’s better with their Italian bitters). It might be that there are too many contrasting flavors with the sweetness of the simple syrup and whiskey, the sourness of the lime, and the bitterness of Campari. It was alright, but I wouldn’t want another one.
- 1½ oz Ghost Coast Ginger Whiskey
- 1 oz Ghost Coast Italian Bitters (can be substituted with Campari)
- 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the bourbon or grain whiskey, but the ginger and honey whiskies were good. I would recommend Ghost Coast whiskey for mixing rather than drinking neat.
This review was sponsored by Ghost Coast Distillery in Savannah, GA. The company provided the whiskey.