Historic Cocktails: Seagram’s “White Wheat” Whiskey
For our penultimate historic cocktail series we feature Seagram’s White Wheat whisky.
The recipes in our column are compiled directly from the book “puis le gar y dit”, by Montreal-based Distillers Corporation Seagrams Limited.
The recipes in this book were found and tasted at connoisseur buffets. Experts from hotel clubs and world-renowned hotels of the time. Divided into five parts, according to alcohol base: gin, Scotch whisky, rye – Canadian and American – and bourbon.
Seagram’s White Wheat Whiskey from the Waterloo Distillery
*In 1857 William Hespeler, a merchant, and George Randall, a contractor, built Granite Mills in Waterloo, Ontario. Then, a distillery called Waterloo Distillery, was created, known as a subsidiary of the mill. But in 1870, Joseph Emm Seagram, hired by Hespeler and Randall in 1863, bought Hespeler’s interests and the company name. From then on, the company will be called “George Randall and Company”.
In 1878, Seagram bought Randall and subsequently purchased every part of the company. Thus he became the sole owner in 1883, when the mill became “Joseph Seagram Flour Mill and Distillery Company” and “Joseph E. Seagram, Miller, Distiller”. It ends up being called “Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Limited” in 1911.
In 1919, when Seagram died, he had already built the Waterloo distillery. He had converted it into a large export company. Here, he produced Seagram’s White Wheat whiskey, which he started distilling just after Seagram’s Old Rye, and which he put on sale in Quebec. In total, he employed 150 men to produce 1 million litres of White Wheat, among other whiskeys such as Seagram’s 83.
White Wheat Whiskey
But white whiskey was not a whiskey like any other. This name concerns spirits that have not been aged, unlike a classic whiskey, whose grain needs to age at least two years to be considered as such. Unaged grain spirits that spent at least one minute in a barrel were qualified as whiskey. However, some microdistilleries in the United States managed to call non-aged spirits “white whiskey”.
We also find Mitchell’s Shamrock Whiskey, this old bottle contains a blend of Irish whiskey in which all the whiskeys are more than 14 years old at the time of bottling.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.