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Started by a bartender, Standard Proof Whiskey Co. began as a treat for bar regulars and industry colleagues. In fact, the company’s slogan, “Born behind the bar,” speaks to its beginnings. Today, Standard Proof boasts a complete line of infused whiskeys and an impressive tasting room in Nashville’s bustling downtown. We spoke to Robert Longhurst, Standard Proof’s Creative Director, to learn more about their unique approach to the infusion process and their tasting room offerings. Plus, we’re sharing three of their delicious seasonal cocktail recipes!

The first thing to note is that Standard Proof whiskeys aren’t ‘flavored’ — they’re infused. And only with the highest-quality ingredients. “Everything is inspired by bartender techniques and traditions while using real ingredients and quality whiskey,” says Robert. “This also speaks to the versatility of our products. They can be used in cocktails, by themselves, or as a shot.”

One gleaming example of Standard Proof’s process is their Pecan Rye, which has quickly become a crowd favorite. Infused through a 16+ week soaking process that incorporates pecans from San Saba, Texas — the world capital of pecans — this infusion is whiskey-forward with subtle pecan notes and lacks the syrupy sweetness often associated with other ‘flavored’ whiskey lines. It’s an excellent introduction to the whiskey world for folks who might not normally enjoy whiskey.

In addition to their wildly popular Pecan Rye, Standard Proof’s infusion line includes four additional whiskeys: Ginger Rye, Wildflower Rye, Golden Rye, and Emerald Rye. They also offer straight rye (one of Robert’s personal favorites), which is not infused; instead, it is a delicious blend of Tennessee-distilled rye whiskey.

Red Eye Rye whiskey from Standard Proof Whiskey Co.

Red Eye Rye was Standard Proof’s very first offering. It began as something Robert was experimenting with, using real coffee beans and infusing them into rye whiskey, which ultimately led to the creation of Standard Proof Whiskey Co.

Whether you prefer your whiskey in a quick shot, a cocktail, or savored slowly by itself, Standard Proof’s whiskeys are known for their versatility.

Standard Proof’s unique infusion process is what makes their liquor stand out. In addition to using real ingredients, they are one of the only infused whiskey companies that keep their liquor at a full 80 proof. “We use real ingredients. There’s no caramel color added, and we use a straight rye whiskey as a base — that’s a whiskey that’s aged a minimum of two years,” explains Robert. “It’s not a neutral grain spirit with a little bit of whiskey added — it’s 100% whiskey.”

Bottles of Standard Proof Whiskey

Every bottle of Standard Proof’s whiskey is made using real, natural ingredients, aged a minimum of two years in new American barrels, and bottled at 80 proof.

If you’re looking for even more whiskey options, be sure to stop by Standard Proof’s tasting room. Robert says the bartenders are constantly blending whiskeys and trying different infusions, so they always have a rotation of unique cocktails and new whiskeys to try. Right now, when you visit the tasting room, you can find Standard Proof’s first release of Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey. Infused with clove, ginger, and nutmeg, it’s a spiced whiskey perfect for the holiday season.

The fun doesn’t stop there. The tasting room also offers live music every Wednesday at 7 p.m., cocktail classes, bottle service, and happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Plus, on the first Saturday of every month, Rep. John Lewis Way North (which is located near the tasting room) shuts down to host the “First Saturday Art Crawl,” so stop by Standard Proof for a drink after perusing the neighboring art galleries.

Bartender pouring shot

Robert says bartenders play a critical role in everything Standard Proof does. In fact, the bartenders at the downtown Nashville tasting room came up with the idea for Standard Proof’s Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey.

Standard Proof Whiskey Co. tasting room

In addition to whiskey tastings, Standard Proof’s tasting room offers live music, cocktail classes, and bottle service.

Now that you’re familiar with Standard Proof’s history and infusion process, here are three delicious cocktail recipes that use Standard Proof Whiskey as a base. Each one is a unique take on a classic cocktail and offers a perfect beverage to help you capture the holiday spirit. Try creating them at home, or visit the Standard Proof tasting room!

Pecan Old Fashioned

This unique take on an Old Fashioned uses Standard Proof’s Pecan Rye as a base, which, again, is a great option for those new to the whiskey world or who may not typically enjoy it. “[The Pecan Rye] is definitely still whiskey forward,” Robert explains. “The pecan is more subtle on the back as opposed to being a more syrupy, thick flavor. It’s great for someone who might not normally like whiskey or who wants to get into whiskey.” The cocktail also includes simple syrup, angostura bitters, and an orange slice for garnish.

Pecan Old Fashioned

Available at the Standard Proof tasting room, the Pecan Old Fashioned is a fantastic cocktail to help you unwind this holiday season.

Pecan Old Fashioned

Standard Proof Whiskey Co.
A unique twist on a classic cocktail using Standard Proof's Pecan Rye.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 175 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add ingredients to mixing glass with ice and stir.
  • Strain into glass with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with orange.

Nutrition

Calories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 7gSodium: 4mgPotassium: 5mgSugar: 6gCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Fall cocktail, Standard Proof Whiskey Co. cocktail, cocktail, holiday cocktail
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Smashing Pumpkin

The Smashing Pumpkin uses Standard Proof’s iconic Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey, which came about through some experimentation last holiday season. “We were messing around with different infusions, and everyone had the idea of making a pumpkin spiced whiskey just to see,” says Robert. “We thought it would be a tongue-in-cheek thing — it could be good or it could be bad — and it turned out fantastic.” In addition to the Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey, the cocktail includes cinnamon syrup, spiced agave syrup, and lemon juice.

Smashing Pumpkin cocktail from Standard Proof Whiskey

Also available at the Standard Proof tasting room, Robert describes the Smashing Pumpkin as “a pumpkin spiced whiskey sour variation.”

Smashing Pumpkin

Standard Proof Whiskey Co.
Using Standard Proof's Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey, this cocktail puts a unique twist on a whiskey sour.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 32 ounces
Calories 79 kcal

Ingredients
  

Spiced Agave

  • 1 jalapeño sliced
  • ½ oz. boiling water
  • 27 oz. agave

Instructions
 

Spiced Agave Syrup

  • Stir water and agave together.
  • Let jalapeños sit until desired spice (depends on the jalapeño) and strain.

Smashing Pumpkin

  • Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice.
  • Add dehydrated lemon wheel and cinnamon sprinkle for garnish.
  • Stir ingredients together.

Nutrition

Calories: 79kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 3mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Fall cocktail, Standard Proof Whiskey Co. cocktail, cocktail, holiday cocktail
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Ryde About Town

While this cocktail is not available at the Standard Proof tasting room, you can still whip it up at home. A variation of a classic boulevardier, Ryde About Town is equal parts Standard Proof Straight Rye, Cynar, and Italian vermouth. To finish it off, simply add a few dashes of black walnut bitters.

Ryde About Town from Standard Proof Whiskey Co.

If you’re a fan of boulevardiers, offer the Ryde About Town for your holiday gatherings this season.

Ryde About Town

Standard Proof Whiskey Co.
A variation of a classic boulevardier cocktail using Standard Proof's Straight Rye.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Calories 238 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add ingredients to mixing glass with ice and stir.
  • Strain into a coupe glass.
  • Garnish with an orange peel.

Nutrition

Serving: 3ouncesCalories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gPotassium: 1mgSugar: 4gIron: 1mg
Keyword Fall cocktail, Standard Proof Whiskey Co. cocktail, cocktail, holiday cocktail
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Standard Proof Whiskey Co.’s tasting room is located at 219 5th Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37219. To learn more (and purchase their whiskey!), visit standardproofwhiskey.com.

This article is sponsored by Standard Proof Whiskey Co. All photography by Leila Grossman.

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