Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Squid Mixes: Old Overholt vs. Ezra Brooks

Ezra Brooks Straight Rye Whiskey is a relatively new product on Vermont's liquor store shelves.  It is $4 cheaper than our former standby, Old Overholt.  Therefore, it presents a meaningful challenge as a staple rye for when none of the higher-priced brands - George Dickel, for instance - is on sale.  Worth noting before we dig in: the Ezra Brooks is 90 proof whereas Overholt is 80.  Let the whiskey battle begin!

On the Rocks Test

Both whiskeys were perfectly nice straight.  Brooks was more bitter while Overholt was both sharper and fruitier.  Call this one a tie.

Manhattan Test

My wife tasted both blind and found the Ezra Brooks to be smoother.  I thought it more flavorful.  I let her finish the EB one while I finished the Overholt.  She accepted, with apology.

Edge: Ezra Brooks

Highball Test

A blind test again.  This time, she found the Overholt smokier and preferred it.  We both agreed, though, that the ginger beer was once again the more dominant flavor, the whiskey difference essentially negligible.  We used Otto's again.  At some point, once we've settled on a whiskey, we'll do some ginger beer tests.  The main thing we've learned so far is that there's no harm in sticking to the cheap stuff.

Slight edge: Old Overholt

Overall Winner: Ezra Brooks

Far and away, we consume most of our whiskey via Manhattans so the Brooks is the clear winner, especially with the difference in price.  Looks like the end of the road for Old Overholt at our house - kind of a shame but what can you do?  The change in recipe was not a good choice for the brand.


  1. I haven't tried Eliza Brooks (Generally use George Dickle), but I like rye, so I'll have to try it and it's time I pick up a bottle of "Old Overcoat"

    1. The Ezra Brooks is significantly less than the Dickel, too. I do recommend you try it.

  2. I've still only had the Rittenhouse, which I do quite like.
    I'm not sure if I will get around to testing other brands much. We tend to be a rum house.

    1. I hope we'll explore rum one day, too.

    2. Pina Coladas tend to be our drink of choice, but there are some other really great rum drinks, too. We're also very fond of daiquiris. Not the slushy ones, the real ones. They're hard to beat and have so many fruit variations that they're like totally different drinks.

    3. Rum definitely goes better with fruit than whiskey does. Part of the reason we don't drink more rum is that we don't keep much juice in the house. It becomes an ingredient management issue.

      That said, there is, of course, a rum manhattan! One simply swaps out the rum for the whiskey. Might be fun for me to explore someday.

    4. I almost always use fresh fruit to make drinks with, the exception being pina coladas. Fresh pineapple is too much trouble to deal with.

      I'm going to have to try the rum Manhattan, though!

    5. I feel the same regarding fresh fruit so, of course, one must also be conscious of what's in season.

      Rum Manhattan: