Raleigh's Whiskey Kitchen works Patience with Wild Turkey 101
By Jennifer Primrose
Whiskey Kitchen, located at 201 W. Martin Street hosted its Supper Club No. 5, Tuesday, July 17. This was our first time visiting the Kitchen, but certainly not our last. Described as modern, sleek and industrial, and occupying the former White Horse Transportation location, the space welcomes you into a contemporary and upscale feel the moment you walk through the doors. Opening about two years ago, this restaurant and whiskey bar certainly has a bright future.
Whiskey Kitchen hosts Supper Club the third Tuesday of every January, April, July and October – each with a unique theme. July’s theme was “Aging 101 Four-Course Time Machine – Patience is a Virtue.” Six months prior, they began the aging process with Wild Turkey 101-proof straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey in four different barrels using varying aging techniques. This was then paired with a four-course meal.
As guests were arriving, we talked with owner Michael Thor and his wife Sarah on what we could expect from the evening. The aging process that went into the whiskey being served and the process of pairing with just the right dish.
The evening began socializing over hors d’oeuvres of 101 Midnight Manhattans paired with Bagguettes. The Manhattans were made with Wild Turkey 101, Montenegro Amaro and Angostura bitters and paired beautifully with the baguettes made with boursin cheese, grilled peach jam and white balsamic gastrique. A simple appetizer yet one of our favorite pairings.
The first course featured Wild Turkey 101 – extra aged paired with shrimp & grits. Being in the South you typically can't go wrong with shrimp and grits – but add a slab of house cured maple smoked pork belly and you can’t go wrong. The extra-aged 101 was the perfect way to start this 4 course meal. The extra aging didn’t take anything away from the whiskey, and made this the base for the other three to come.
The second course featured Wild Turkey 101 – Pinot Noir finish paired with double oaked duck with rested cherry sauce, chard and cauliflower puree. The Wild Turkey was aged for three months in a new, charred white American oak barrel, then another three months in a charred barrel used to age Pinot Noir. Being wine lovers, this intrigued us. Typically when we hear duck, we’re not quite sure what to think, but in all honesty, this was our favorite pairing of the night. The addition of the pinot noir barrel for this whiskey added a subtle hint of the grapes fruit flavors of black berries as well as some tannins. For us wine lovers, this whiskey really hit the spot.
The third course featured Wild Turkey 101 – Trophy stout finish paired with barreled beef wellington. The rosemary smoked beef wellington was accompanied by Carolina mushroom farm duxelle, confit pebble potatoes, broccolini with pickled carrot radish, barrel reseted imperial stout, barrel rested Worcestershire and house smoked onion jus. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, then imagine this paired with Wild Turkey 101 aged three months in a new, charred white American oak barrel, then three months in a charred barrel used to age Trophy Brewing Company’s Imperial Stout. The stout left what we felt was an ever-so-slight chocolate finish. It was also nice to see Trophy’s co-owner Chris Powers and head brewer Les Stewart both on hand for this dinner.
Finally, the fourth course of the evening paired Wild Turkey 101 – Bieler Rosé finish with Peaches & Cream and was the perfect way to end the night. Barrel rested rosé marinated local peaches, almond sponge cake, brown butter almonds with peach cream mousse paired with Wild Turkey 101 –Bieler Rosé Finish aged in three months in a new, charred white American oak barrel and a then three months in a charred barrel used to age Bieler rosé. Next to the Wild Turkey aged in a Pinot Noir barrel, this was our second favorite sample of the evening. The whiskey took on some of the semi-dry complexities of the rosé barrel – which again, for true wine lovers, we really enjoyed this one.
Our first ever experience at Whiskey Kitchen certainly has us wanting more and we’re looking forward to future visits and to also try the regular menu. With one part whiskey bar and one part Southern kitchen, you can’t go wrong.