Bone Spirits Distillery bottles a Texas bourbon

After five years of spiriting up all manner of hard alcoholic beverages — a vodka, a gin and a pair of whiskeys — Bone Spirits Distillery is gearing up to release its latest, one that the founder and distillers have been waiting on for quite some time.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Bone Bourbon is a Texas whiskey made with corn and rye for a bold, spicy finish.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Bone Bourbon is a Texas whiskey made with corn and rye for a bold, spicy finish.

Their new Bone Bourbon has been aging for more than two years in charred white oak barrels but is just about ready for bar and store shelves. Try it first this weekend at the distillery during an all-day launch party for the whiskey, where you’ll be able to sip it straight or mixed into a cocktail.

No matter how you try it, Bone Spirits founder and owner Jeff Peace promises that it won’t be like other bourbons you’ve had before.

For one thing, the bourbon might have the majority corn mash bill required of all whiskeys that want to call themselves bourbon, but it’s also got a lot of rye for a lean, spice-filled backbone. Although many bourbon producers tend to favor accompanying the corn with wheat for a slightly sweeter finish, Peace found himself preferring rye’s bold stamp of flavor.

“Wheat makes for a soft, sweet bourbon,” Peace said. “We wanted to veer a little from the pack and chose to make ours with the more spicy profile of the rye.”

To do that, however, required the Bone Spirits distillers to step away from an important philosophy of the distillery: making each spirit with as many Texas ingredients as possible. Rye doesn’t grow here — it thrives in colder environments — but it was so integral to Peace’s vision of the bourbon that he decided to source the rye from Hennessey, Oklahoma, in the northern part of the state.

Using the rye, Peace said, turned out to be so very worth it. Indeed, the bourbon is remarkable in part because of how well the rye, the corn and the wood of the barrels get along with each other. Take a whiff of the Bone Bourbon and you’ll pick up aromas of walnut, cinnamon and cherry. Take a sip and you’ll relish the striking mix of vanilla and pepper on your tongue. A rye-forward bourbon like this one can have a bite to it; in this case, it’s a nip that finishes dry and easy and leaves you clamoring for more.

Peace aims to sell out of all cases of the distillery’s Bone Bourbon at the release party on Saturday (where you can keep yourself clear-headed with a lunch or dinner of brisket from Zimmerhanzel’s), but in a couple of weeks, bars and retailers will get their supply of the bourbon on shelves as well.

After that, keep an eye out for additional Bone Spirits beverages: Peace said in the next couple of months, an aged gin will be available at the distillery. And just in time for the holidays, Bone Spirits also plans to release an aquavit — the dream of one of the distillers, whose Norwegian family and friends have been calling for one.

“No matter what we do, we’ll keep it Texas-focused,” Peace said. “Made from scratch here, aged here, bottled here.”

The Scofflaw

2 oz. Bone Bourbon
1 oz. dry vermouth
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. grenadine
2 dashes orange bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

— Bone Spirits Distillery

Bone Spirits’ Bourbon and Brisket Party. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Free. 802 NE First St., Smithville. bonespirits.com.


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