Using a two-step barrel aging process, the spirited folks making Sonoma’s own Hooker’s House Bourbon import the good stuff from Kentucky distilleries, then age it in hand-picked pinot noir barrels for a flavor that’s entirely unique. The four-year-old bourbon “finished” for nine months imparting subtle wine and oak flavors and nuances. According to creator Fred Groth of HelloCello/Prohibition Spirits, the result is deep flavors of coffee, caramel, black cherry, vanilla and baking spices.
So what’s with the name? Let’s turn our history books back a page to General Joseph Hooker, a Civil War veteran best known for his love of stiff drinks and friendly ladies. Hooker’s House Bourbon refers to the handsome soldier’s Sonoma home and is also, of course, a cheeky reference to the frisky gals Hooker brought along during some of his military campaigns to raise morale among the men. Among other things. These agreeable ladies became known as “Hooker’s Brigade” and later, just “Hookers”.
At 100-proof there’s not doubt this is one stiff drink. Just the way the captain would have wanted it.
Available through Prohibition Spirits locally at Bottle Barn, 3331 Industrial Drive Santa Rosa, 528-1161, $36.