Golden Grain

goldengrainI’m betting I’m the first around this segment of the blogosphere to do a review of Golden Grain. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Golden Grain Alcohol is grain neutral spirits and damn little else. If you haven’t heard of Golden Grain, you probably have heard of its competitor, Everclear. I put competitor in quotes, since both are made by the same company, Luxco of St. Louis, MO. I’d make fun of Luxco for having two brands for what can only be the same stuff, except Luxco, if you read or care about the business pages, seems to have the distinction of being the only American distiller with a wide range of brands (57 by my count) that is still actually owned by Americans. So they (sort of) get a pass. If you haven’t heard of Golden Grain, or have never seen it, it is because it is illegal in many states.
I believe that you can tell a lot about your state by whether you can get the Grain there. There is an eternal struggle between all governments and the governed, about who knows better about… well… anything. The government, every government, is filled with people who want to prevent you from smoking, driving without a seatbelt, letting your kids play with lawn darts, driving after even one drink, skiing without a helmet, letting your kids even see the Sun without SPF 50, gambling (except the lottery), and having a side of fries. If you can buy the Grain in your state, the citizenry still holds out the quaint idea it knows more about how to live its life than the state. If you can’t buy the Grain, the terrorists government has already won, so sell your McDonald’s franchise.
As I said, the Grain is grain neutral spirits—190 proof grain neutral spirits. It is rocket fuel/high explosives in a bottle that implies by its appearance that it is a beverage. This is why it gives bureaucrats hives. When I was down visiting Georgia (Grain-legal) from Ohio (Grain-banned), I had reason to pick up a flask.

Seriously, why? Don’t you dial 911 before you drink that stuff, just to save time?

Good Lord, you don’t drink it! Not straight, unless you want to die. And the overwhelming majority of cocktails made with it are undrinkable messes with names like:

  • Jungle Juice
  • Flaming Blow Job
  • The Alpha Gamma Rho Panty Dropper
  • The Screaming Purple Jesus
  • Real Romulan Ale
  • The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster #3
  • and Instant Death

If you know anyone you care for who drinks any of these, or hundreds like them, buy them this book. Today.

You wanted to write this post, just to put in all those names, didn’t you?

The idea had some appeal, but no that wasn’t the real reason.
First off, the flask of Golden Grain was an emergency purchase. Yes, Golden Grain usually causes emergencies, seldom solving them. But I am a responsible adult, not a Darwin Award contender who drinks Mind Slicers. However, I did drip queso sauce on my favorite pink tie.

Sorry, Mr. Adult. I guess that you still need a bib, dontcha? Bummer about the tie though.

The PeguWife was not letting my tie go down without a fight. With no access to a dry cleaner, and another occasion where I would need said tie looming, the tie had to be cleaned. I was dispatched to The Still to buy some Golden Grain.

Wait a minute.
Alcohol really stains!

Actually, no. Alcohol is a great solvent, that evaporates off silk with little or no trace afterward. It’s the water, even in pure liquors like vodka, that does the staining. The Grain is 95% pure alcohol. There’s precious little room for that staining water. With a batch of Q-Tips, and a capful of Golden Grain, Maggi salvaged my very expensive tie in no time. And it looks great.

A recent Mixology Monday, Made from Scratch (hosted by some idiotic backwater blog) had lots of recipes for syrups and cordials to make and use in your cocktails. These are usually made in huge batches that, if you used up while fresh, would require the same 911 call as sucking down a couple of Tucker Death Mixes. In most cases, a small amount of high-proof vodka is called for to stabilize the ingredient and give it some shelf life. Golden Grain is an even better choice. You use less, and therefore it’s less likely to dilute or throw off the texture of your housemade grenadine, or even simple syrup.

The Shamwow guy? Really?
And what’s with this post? Cleaning hints and preservatives? Introduced by Vice and his Slap Chop? What is this now, Heloise’s Blog?

Ha! Stand back, Guy. Here comes the cocktail portion of this mess.
As Maggi was assiduously working to save my tie, I was packing up my new traveling kit. The chief problem, as I saw it, was room for enough booze to really put on a show. I take a backseat to no man in feeling that Pegus should be enough for everyone, but there are still pockets of resistance out there, particularly among vodka drinkers. But I had no space for a big, honking bottle of Sobieski.
I turned and looked back at Maggi and saw on the counter beside her…. vodka concentrate!


Yes, vodka concentrate.
What is vodka? It is grain neutral spirits, diluted with water to a drinkable proof.

Hey you!
You just got distilled water in my Golden Grain!

No way!
You got Golden Grain in my distilled water!

Why yes, Dear Reader, I am having a complete psychotic break. Why do you ask?

No reason.
No reason at all.

OK, in all seriousness, I wanted to try this experiment. What would happen if I mixed the Grain and distilled water? Would I get vodka?
After an embarrassingly long time struggling with my math, I figured that 1.25 ounces of Golden Grain, mixed with 1.75 ounces of distilled water should make for 80 proof… something. This took about two minutes to execute, and I was soon shaking up two Vodka Montgomerys, one with Chopin, and one from vodka concentrate.
The results? The Chopin was an easy winner. It was significantly more viscous, with a broader, longer lasting taste in the mouth. Simply put, there is enough character there to give (someone who thinks they are a) cocktail snob something to hang their hat on.
But the concentrate wasn’t bad. It was at least as good as some well brands, maybe better. There were none of the nasty flavors or impurities that you often get in cheap Vodka. I’d never serve someone a Martini made with this (unless I really wanted to expose them as a poser), but I could easily whip up a Kamikaze, or even a Cosmo using the concentrate. The Grain stays in the travel kit.
But not the giant gallon of distilled water! What is the perfect way to mix up a batch of GG Concentrate? Why, I have it right here:
Now, what do we call this brand made from a kid’s juicebox filled with water and hobo killer? There can be only one choice. With a tip of the hat to my favorite conservative, filthy-minded, moron blogger, Ace of Spades, I give you:


  • 1 box Wateroos plain water
  • 5.75 oz. Golden Grain

Shake well to combine.

Ace-O-Lanche! UPDATE-Welcome Morons! Take a look around this alcoholic corner of the blogosphere. I’ve got posts on aphrodisiac liqueurs, creative liquor ads, a whole series on building your own Basement Bar/Hobo-hunting base, and I’m holding another cocktail blogger prisoner around here somewhere….

About the author


I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.


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