You might not know Steven Grasse, but you’ve definitely tasted the fruits of his labor. The ad man-turned-spirits producer is responsible for spirits like Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Art in the Age, the historically-influenced spirits and lifestyle brand that put out cult-favorites like Root and Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial. Now, Grasse is dipping his toe into the whiskey river with Prizefight, a true Irish-American whiskey.
Made in partnership with Flor Prendergast, an Irish spirits innovator, Pugilist Spirits’ Prizefight is a blend of 10-year-old malt whiskey and 5-year-old grain whiskey, which is produced in Ireland and finished in American rye barrels sourced by Grasse’s New Hampshire-based Tamworth Distilling. The name of the whiskey and the label—which features an illustration of an historic fight between John Morrissey and Yankee Sullivan—were inspired by the Irish men who came to America and literally fought their way to fame in the boxing ring.
Aside from its appealing label and pedigreed creators, the whiskey is extremely drinkable, with qualities of both a classic Irish whiskey and an American rye. Up front, it’s heavy on cereal notes like fresh wheat and corn flakes. Then it throws in some bright peachy notes. Finally, it ends with a mild but undeniable spice that keeps you coming back for more.
Like most Irish whiskeys, Prizefight is an easy sipper over ice, but it also drinks nicely neat. If you want to mix it into cocktails, try pairing it with a not-too-spicy ginger beer or a pour of soda water for a Highball. It would also work well in a lighter take on an Old Fashioned. But before you go too crazy, be sure to try it straight. You might find that you don’t want to cover up any of its wonderfully balanced Irish-American flavors.
Prizefight is widely available in both New York City and Boston at bars and restaurants, but even if you aren’t in the Northeast, you can still buy it online from Warehouse Wines & Spirits for $44.