Mint chip is a flavor reserved for one thing and one thing only: ice cream. Right? Wrong. Stillhouse, a new-kid whiskey company set on disrupting the system, is making a strong case for mint chip whiskey.
But before you even get to the ice cream-inspired whiskey, you’ll notice something distinctly durable about Stillhouse’s … well … bottle isn’t the word. These whiskeys (which go for $29 each) are packaged in cans. The proprietary stainless steel can was designed over the course of two years to be completely neutral, adding no flavor or color to the spirit. Plus, the can allows drinkers to get rugged with their whiskey. “Stillhouse goes where glass can’t go,” says Brad Beckerman, Stillhouse CEO. “It can go hiking, to the beach, poolside, to parks—everywhere.” It can also get very very cold, very very quickly, which leads to something else that sets Stillhouse apart from its competitors.
Rarely would you jam a bottle of whiskey in the freezer, but Stillhouse suggests you do just that. That’s because Stillhouse is setting their sights on a group that’s been all but forgotten by whiskey brands: shot takers. Not grizzled, Boilermaker-ordering shot takers, but 23-year-old shot takers on a night out. “When people do a shot, they want it chilled,” Beckerman says. “Whiskey companies have never really promoted or marketed ice cold whiskey.” Stillhouse is changing that with not only their freezer-friendly can, but also a specialty shot machine. “It’s not like any other shot machine out there,” Beckerman says. “We took the functionality of a traditional shot machine and mixed it with a high-end espresso machine. It gets below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.” The machine is a page right out of Jagermeister champion (and marketing guru) Sidney Frank’s playbook.
Now, about that mint chip whiskey. It’s one of five flavors, including Apple Crisp, Peach Tea, Coconut and Red Hot—the brand also offers a clear corn whiskey. The first thing you’ll notice after pouring yourself a shot of the unctuous, fresh-from-the-freezer Stillhouse is that it’s clear. It’s unaged, after all. But it’s also an appealing quality to neophyte drinkers—those who are afraid of brown spirits. If you haven’t caught on yet, Stillhouse has put a lot of thought into this line of whiskeys. It is meticulously crafted for the millennial generation, from the rustic-chic packaging, to the clear color (which won’t muddy up those Instagram-worthy cocktails), to the nostalgic mint chip flavor.
The biggest surprise, though, is that it’s not all gimmicks. Stillhouse’s Mint Chip really does taste like mint chip ice cream. On the nose, there’s a faint twinge of spiced chocolate. Upon first sip, the mint comes through with a refreshing blast, buoyed by soft notes of vanilla. It doesn’t taste like whiskey per se, but who cares? It’s good. And while it won’t replace your go-to Vodka-Soda or Johnnie Walker on the rocks, it will brighten up your night and help remind you that drinking is meant to be fun.
Stillhouse isn’t stopping with their market-disrupting, ice-cold, unusually flavored whiskies. “We’ve been aging some goods,” Beckerman says. Expect a limited release bourbon in 2018—sold in that same stainless steel can, but intended to be sipped like your standard bourbons. And that’s not all: “We’re building a lifestyle brand,” Beckerman says. “Whiskey is only one of the offerings.” What that means remains a bit of a mystery, but Beckerman did mention high-end pool floats. As long as they come with can-shaped cup holders, we’re in.