Introducing: Chockie Tom, Drinks Distilled Bourbon Whiskey Guide
Meet Drinks Distilled Spirits Guide, writer and founder of Doomersive, Chockie Tom.
Chockie Tom is an Indigenous, award-winning bartender turned writer who focuses her work on advocacy and cultural empowerment in the bar industry.
A literal California native in every sense of the word, Chockie spent her formative years in Los Angeles, honed her bartending and hospitality skills in New York, and is currently residing in London.
Connecting her Pomo and Walker River Paiute heritage with her advocacy work, she brings a unique perspective to an industry lacking Indigenous presence.
Chockie is best known for her innovative cocktail building techniques, unique brand and event art and witty cocktail naming abilities.
She is a founder of Doommersive (formerly Doom Tiki). This internationally recognised pop-up series tackles the issues of appropriation in Tiki subculture and fundraises for communities that are still dealing with the effects of colonisation.
She was featured as one of the 2021 Imbibe 75 and her work has been profiled in PUNCH, BUST, The New York Times and The Kitchn. In 2021 and 2022, she organised and moderated the first Indigenous-led panels in Tales of the Cocktail history. She has also partnered with Portland Cocktail Week to create more Indigenous-focused content and educational materials for Native American Heritage Month and beyond.
We caught up with Chockie Tom to find out more about her Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey selection and her top tips when it comes to whiskey…
Tell us why you picked Four Roses?
Four Roses Bourbon is my favourite gateway bourbon. I've made sure that it's part of any bar program I've put together. It's a great price point, approachable, and has an amazing history that folks love to learn about. I find it works well for sipping and classic bourbon cocktail staples! Crisp, soft and smooth, with fruit and honey, as well as big buttery notes of sweetcorn and the spicy, peppery flavour of rye, thanks to the unusually high (28%) rye content of the recipe. The spicy, fruity, mellow notes, and brown sugar notes work well in both Highballs and stirred bourbon classics.
What are the most common mistakes people make when selecting bourbon whiskey?
Most people always think the most expensive bourbons are the best but there are plenty of great options available for all budgets. Look for the “Kentucky Straight Bourbon” designation – this ensures the whiskey complies with all regulations under bourbon legislation, as well as a minimum age of 4 years to mellow out some of the more fiery notes of the freshly made spirit, popularly known as “White Dog”. Hoarding bourbon as opposed to drinking it is the biggest mistake you can make – you will stop enjoying them, and get too caught up in collecting rather than having fun!
What’s Your Top Tip For Picking A Bourbon?
Look for the traditional tasting notes found in American Whiskey – caramel, vanilla, baking spice, and honey, as well as more fruity, summery notes, and even dark chocolate and dessert flavours. I always look to flavour and mouthfeel for bourbon. I prefer a nice finish and a bourbon that'll linger on your tongue a bit. I suggest doing a bit of research and tasting to find those gems out there.
Tell us your top home bartending tip!
Want to try out some new homemade ingredients for drinks? Entertaining is the best way to make sure you use every bit. There's nothing like a punch or large format cocktail to prevent waste. Use summery, seasonal fruits that match your spirit, like peaches and apricots, which pair well with Four Roses, and have historically been paired with bourbon in many cocktail recipes.