According to legend, bootlegger Virgil Kaine was recovering from being on the wrong side of some Union soldiers when he discovered a secret ingredient to making a good whiskey. Ginger. Virgil Kaine Ginger Infused Bourbon was born.
Tullualh’s bartender and Long Island Pulse’s April “Master Mixologist” Ryan Garrison, discovered Virgil Kaine when he was living in South Carolina.
“A buddy was working for them and brought it into my bar,” Garrison said.
Garrison says he liked that Virgil Kaine didn’t have the heavy sugar feeling of a lot of bourbons.
“It actually tastes like whiskey,” Garrison said. “And the hints of ginger are subtle but add so much flavor.”
Garrison took his affinity for Virgil Kaine when he moved and eventually settled in Long Island as a bartender at Tullualh’s.
“It’s just starting to take off,” Garrison said of the brand.
The brand has been around for almost three years now. Maybe there was really was a bootlegger named Virgil Kaine who discovered a secret ingredient for a good whiskey but the person behind the current Virgil Kaine is David Szlam.
Szlam is a former South Carolina chef and the co-creator and co-owner of Virgil Kaine. He said that while they’ve been making Virgil Kaine for several years it was only in the past six to eight months that they found a formula for making the whiskey they think is perfect. They use a mash build of 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye and 4 percent barley malt for the whiskey. The ginger is an heirloom varietal grown by Spade and Clover Gardens in South Carolina. After the ginger is harvested it’s cured and added to the bourbon.
“We have worked hard to use the spice of ginger to mask the burn of bourbon and have smoothen the finish, so that our juice appeals to new and old bourbon drinkers alike,” Szlam said.
Virgil Kaine bourbon also isn’t chill filtered in part because their bourbon is on the younger side and they don’t want oak to compete with the flavor of ginger.
The result according to Garrison is a flavored whiskey for whiskey drinkers.
Have you tried Virgil Kaine? What did you think? Don’t forget to check out more flavored whiskeys in May’s “Drinkology“