I love whiskey. I love it straight, I love it in my Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds. It’s a spirit with a long, sometimes-sordid past, inextricably linked to the dark days of prohibition. Perhaps no single variety of whiskey is as associated with this bygone era as Templeton.The amber-hued hooch hails from the cornfields of Iowa, where it was made in secrecy during the late 20s and early 30s to help farmers supplement their paltry earnings. Today, the term has taken-on specific branding, as ‘Templeton‘ has been trademarked by a specific Iowan brand of whiskey preserving the drink’s proud tradition.
To be expected, the process of commercial branding invited all sorts of legal calamities. I’ll spare you the boring details and fast-forward straight to the merits of the drink itself. Dry and spicy, Templeton’s flavor profile diverges from a more traditional Bourbon-style whiskey. The sweetness is more subdued and there is little to no peatiness. What you will find, however, is a bold and complex finish that establishes itself firmly with bitters or even a touch of Vermouth.
The days of Prohibition are long over and obviously we are a much stronger country because of it. Still, there is something romantic about the notion of sipping exotic elixirs in clandestine basements, hidden from the prying eyes of the law. Although there is no longer a need to hide your passion for whiskey, a simple taste of Templeton, mixed just right, might evoke the indelible memories of bootleggers past.