An Intimate Evening with Far North Spirits

Early this Spring, a select group of wWw ladies gathered at Grand Ferry Tavern in Brooklyn, NY for the opportunity to sample different expressions of the single estate whiskey Roknar Rye from Far North Spirits. The ladies were able to share personal stories about their love of whiskey, their reasons for joining wWw, as well as learn about the unique history of Far North Spirits while meeting the distiller, Michael Swanson, who is also the farmer who grows the grains used to make this flavorful spirit.

Far North Spirits is a field-to-glass craft distillery in northwestern Minnesota. Michael’s great grandpa Gustaf and his wife Anna Christine arrived in Minnesota from Sweden building a farm on the fertile soil. They now produce small-batch spirits using the grains grown on their family farm. Michael’s wife, Cheri, led us through a tasting of 3 expressions of Roknar Rye. Her love for their 100-year-old family farm, the quality of the product they have produced, and their ability to share it with us was very apparent as she became emotional telling us the beautiful history of the distillery.

Here are the 3 expressions we tasted that night:

  • Expression 1

Batch 1/ 95 Proof- filled December 2014; bottled November 2015, 23 barrels, 230 cases

Mash bill: 80% AC Hazlet Winter Rye, 10% heirloom & organic corn (non-GMO varieties), 10% malt barley

Aged 10 months in new, 10-gallon charred oak barrels from The Barrel Mill in Avon, Minnesota; char 3 on the barrel

Finished 6 weeks in Oloroso Sherry (50%) and Cognac (50%) casks

  • Expression 2

Batch R/ 91 Proof- filled June 2014; bottled February 2016, single barrel, 20 cases (only available in NY, CA and MN)

Mash bill: 80% AC Hazlet Winter Rye, 10% heirloom & organic corn (non-GMO varieties), 10% malt barley

Aged 18 months in a new 23-gallon toasted and charred oak barrel from Black Swan in Park Rapids, MN; char 3

Finished briefly in Oloroso Sherry and Cognac casks (entire barrel in each cask for equal amount of time)

  • Expression 3

Batch 2/ 94 Proof- filled May 2015; bottled May 10-13, 2016, 36 barrels, approx 350 cases 

Mash bill: 80% AC Hazlet Winter Rye, 10% heirloom & organic corn (non-GMO varieties), 10% malt barley

Aged 11 months in new, 10-gallon charred oak barrels from The Barrel Mill; char 3 on the barrel

Finished 4 weeks in Cognac (60%) and Oloroso Sherry (40%) casks

My personal favorite was Batch R. The color is a rich amber. The nose is sweet & delicate with hints of toffee, caramel, & spice. The taste is youthful but balanced with sweet notes to start and a peppery spicy finish that is not at all harsh or overwhelming.

Upon leaving Grand Ferry Tavern there was a noticeable buzz in the air with a number of our ladies conceding that this was their favorite wWw event thusfar. You will not go wrong with any expression of Far North Spirits’ Roknar Rye. Below I have listed a few NY bars that feature Roknar Rye. For a full list of locations please visit their website.

Roknar Brand Assets.jpg

 Agern Restaurant- NY, NY

Blue Smoke-Flatiron- NY, NY

Grand Ferry Tavern- Brooklyn, NY

Flight West- Rochester, NY

Henry’s Restaurant- NY, NY

Le Bernardin- NY, NY

Maiden Lane- NY, NY

Post Office- Brooklyn, NY

Reynards-Wythe Hotel- Brooklyn, NY

Romans- Brooklyn, NY

Terra Blues- NY, NY

Woodhull Winebar-Brooklyn, NY

Woodford Reserve Series No. 1: Bourbon Al Pastor Tacos

wWw & Woodford Reserve

Women Who Whiskey has introduced it's members to a variety of Woodford Reserve's whiskey expressions. Woodford's collection includes Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Double Oaked Bourbon, Rye, & a yearly Master's Collection. Today I will be showcasing recipes featuring their Bourbon & Rye.


Bourbon Al Pastor Tacos

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon is crafted in small batches, which allows them to develop distinct rich flavors of toffee, tobacco, & citrus as well as a silky, smooth, & creamy finish. I am featuring it today in a revamped version of a classic Al Pastor recipe. I recommend serving this dish with homemade tortillas, Spanish rice,  & Frijoles Borrachos.


  • Two 3 lb. Pork Loins, cubed
  • Two 20 oz. cans of Pineapple Chunks
  • 16 oz. Pineapple Juice
  •  ½ c. Orange Juice
  •  ½ c. White Vinegar
  •  ¼ c. Chili Powder
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp. dried Oregano Leaves
  • 2 tsp. ground Cumin
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers (canned in Adobo sauce), minced
  • 2 Sazon con Achiote seasoning packets
  • ½ c. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 1 bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • Olive Oil


1. Combine all the above ingredients except the cilantro, brown sugar, & olive oil. Marinate overnight in a large Ziplock bag or storage container.

2. About an hour before you are ready to serve the pork, pull the cubed pork loin from the marinade and set aside in refrigerator. Pour the marinade in a food processor or blender.

3. Add 1 cup of Cilantro to the marinade, blend until smooth.

4. Pour the marinade in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the Brown Sugar, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, simmering ~40 minutes. The sauce should be the consistency of ketchup. Remember as the sauce cools, it will become a little thicker, so do not overcook. Cover and remove from heat. Serve as a sauce with the cooked pork.

5. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add ~1 tsp. of Olive Oil to the skillet & sauté the cubed pork in small batches. Add ~1 tsp. of Olive Oil per batch of pork.

Great accompaniments for the Al Pastor Tacos are pickled red onion, pickled or fresh jalapeños, Cotija cheese, cilantro, sour cream, lime wedges.

Woodford Reserve Series No. 2: Bourbon Beans (Frijoles Borrachos)

Bourbon Beans

A tasty new take on the traditional Frijoles Borrachos, this recipe features Woodford Reserve Bourbon, spicy chorizo, & smoked ham hocks. Serve alongside Arroz Rojo & Al Pastor Tacos.


  • 16 oz. Dry Pinto Beans, soak overnight
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 2 Carrots, coarse chop
  • 2 Celery Ribs, coarse chop
  • 1 Jalapeño, remove stem
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. uncooked Chorizo, remove from casing
  • 4 oz. can Mild Green Chilies, chopped
  • 14 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. Sofrito
  • 1/4 c. Recaito
  • 1 packet Sazón con Achiote (optional)
  • 3 c. Pork Stock
  • 3 c. Water
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Smoked Ham Hocks
  • ½ c. Woodford Reserve Bourbon


1. Soak the beans overnight in water; sort the beans, discarding any that did not plump up.

2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the Onion, Carrot, Celery, & Jalapeño until minced.

3. Heat Olive Oil in a 6-8 quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the uncased Chorizo, sauté for ~3 minutes, then add the pulsed vegetable mix. Continue to sauté until the onions become translucent and vegetables are fragrant, ~5 minutes.

4. Add the chopped Green Chilies & Diced Tomatoes, continue to sauté ~2 minutes.

5. Add the Sofrito, Recaito, & packet of Sazón, stir until the ingredients are well mixed, and continue to sauté for ~2 minutes.

6. Add the soaked Beans, Pork Stock, Water, Bay Leaves, & Ham Hocks.

7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, cook for 1-½ hours.

8. Take out 1 cup of the cooked beans, mash them then add them back to the stockpot along with Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Mix well and continue to cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

9. Taste for final seasoning, adjust for taste, and serve!