The Distillers: Garrison Brothers Whiskey
Dan Garrison used to work in high-tech until he woke up one day, and the company had been sold. The next logical choice? Buy a ranch with his family in Hye, near Fredericksburg, to create “the first real, authentic straight bourbon whiskey made outside of Kentucky or Tennessee.” The notion isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, though: in just a few hot summers, Garrison discovered that Texas’ cyclical climate can yield a bourbon that tastes like it’s been aged for decades.
Today, Garrison Brothers produces only a few hundred barrels each year, preparing each bottle by hand. And it’s not just the state’s climate that shapes its flavor profile—the distillery stresses the Texas-made quality of their ingredients, like the corn they acquire from Muleshoe, in the Panhandle, and the Hill Country rainwater they purify before using it in the distilling process.
Unlike other Central Texas distillers, however, Garrison Brothers wants to stick to one drink: bourbon, although they will produce variations. “Bourbon is the nectar of the gods,” Garrison says. “I don’t understand why anyone would drink anything else.” He especially relishes the stringent adherence to authenticity bourbon demands: “With bourbon, it’s 100% authentic— you can’t add food coloring, red dye #7, caramel extract or seasoned wood chips,” he says. “All of the contents come from the barrel, the rain and the grain.” Look for Garrison Brothers bourbon everywhere in Texas west of I-35 (including Austin) and in Houston.
Although Dan Garrison's recommended cocktail is "two parts glass, one part Garrison Brothers," this little gem manages to highlight the subtleties of Garrison Brothers while celebrating the long, hot Texas summer. Use an extra-large ice cube to help it fight the heat.
2 oz Garrison Brothers Whiskey
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz Allspice Dram
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice to chill. Strain into a rocks glass with an oversized ice cube.