Friday, November 6, 2015

Troy & Sons Whiskey: Aged Moonshine Salted Caramel Sauce

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a media event held here in Denver by Troy Ball, of Troy & Sons and Asheville Distilling Company.

In person, Troy was nothing like I expected. Most surprisingly, Troy is a woman, and a rather posh woman at that. I guess since this was billed as a moonshine tasting, I expected a Ralph Lauren type man, handsome and maybe just a little bit rugged who had been making moonshine most of his life. My assumptions couldn't have been more wrong.

I was delighted to learn that the name of her company, Troy & Sons, is a combination of her own name with a nod to her three beloved sons. Like many dedicated moms, Troy decided to spend the first part of her sons' lives taking care of them at home. It was once they got a bit older that she decided to enlist help with them in order to pursue something outside the home for herself.

In 2008, Troy got to taste some "keeper" moonshine, which is what the locals call the stuff that they keep at home for themselves, selling the throat burning spirits to outsiders. She was amazed at how smooth and complicated the flavor of the keeper moonshine was, and decided that she would like to provide everyone access to this superior type of moonshine whiskey.

In the summer of that same year, Troy set about learning how to distill from local moonshine makers in and around Asheville, NC. At first she was skeptical of the type of people she might find, but was delighted to find them both generous and patient as they explained the distillation process that had been passed down through the generations. On August 18, 2010, she distilled her first perfect white liquor using non-GMO, heirloom Crooked Creek corn.

Today, Troy & Sons and Asheville Distilling Company, produce three delicious whiskies. Platinum, made with heirloom corn and pure Appalachian spring water, this true American moonshine honors the tradition of Appalachian spirit makers. This clear, white whiskey is perfect mixed in cocktails with bright citrus flavors.

Blonde, starts with rare heirloom Turkey Red Wheat and White Corn, grown on Peaceful Valley Farm in the lowland hills of Western North Carolina. This is a smooth spirit with notes of oak and vanilla.

Oak Reserve, described as "aged moonshine",  is made with heirloom corn and Appalachian spring water, and is stored in in charred oak bourbon barrels, which give it, its tawny color. This smooth spirit has subtle flavors of oak and vanilla with just a hint of spice and licorice.

Now, I will never profess to be a whiskey connoisseur, but I do like what I like and like all three of Troy's products. More of a cocktail girl myself, I find that all three of these moonshine liquors are great in some of my favorite mixed drinks.

Platinum makes a great substitute for tequila in a refreshing margarita. Oak Reserve is a delicious base for many cocktails, with my favorite being a slightly chocolaty, Moonshine Milkshake. As for Blonde, I love a shot in my coffee with lots of cream, and a splash of my favorite chocolate liqueur. For more recipes and ideas please visit Asheville Distilling Company's site by clicking here. 

Since Troy has so many great cocktail recipes on her site, I decided to use her Oak Reserve in a dessert sauce that really showcases its smooth, velvety flavor. My simple buttery salted caramel sauce makes anything better when it is poured over, but add a little aged moonshine and it is dessert sauce perfection.

Aged Moonshine Salted Caramel Sauce

It really doesn't get much better than this. I've poured my caramel sauce over my favorite vanilla ice cream here, but it is just as good over panna cotta, plain old custard, or any pie you can think of. Why heck, you can even add it to shakes and coffee.

1 - 4 ounce stick unsalted butter
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Troy & Sons Oak Reserve
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (start with 1/4 and build from there until you like the flavor)

Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan set over medium high heat. Once butter is melted and starts to sizzle, add the brown sugar and stir into butter. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is melted and smooth, about 2 - 3 minutes.

Stir int the vanilla extract, Oak Reserve and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and serve while hot, warm or room temperature. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Makes about 2 cups.

A big thanks to Troy Ball and Asheville Distilling for providing me with bottles of their products to sample and create with. No compensation was given for this post, and all opinions and statements made here are my own.

To learn more about Troy Ball, Asheville Distilling Company, and where you can buy a bottle of your very own, please click here.

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