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Jim Beam Black Bourbon Bargain, Pricey Oxtail


Blanchard's in Allston had 1.75L JB Black for $31.99 and White for $21.99.

Lately I am in a Jim Beam Manhattan rut so this comes in handy.

Hit the Allston Stop and shop and was shocked to see oxtail for $4.99 a pound. Ouch. For what used to be an inexpensive cut...

Was reading somewhere else that chicken wings these days are often pricier then white meat breast. Up is down, down is up the sky is brown and the earth is blue I guess. ;-)

  1. That is true about wings being costlier than breast meat, which explains why your local pub might be pushing the chicken tenders.


    1. Last time I went to Liquor World in Somerville they had Jim Beam Black 750ml for $18 which was the same price they were charging for the white. I thought that was a good deal as I like the smaller bottles so I can try more different brands.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nickls

        That is a bit pricey for Beam White, which usually goes for about $14 for 750. Not a bad price for the Black. My standard fall end of day libation is a Manhattan so I do go through a bit of Beam. 1.75L of Black is often over $40 so...

        1. re: nickls

          I went the day before yesterday to try to pick up a bottle of the Black at Liquor World- None in stock. Bummer.

        2. That is crazy about oxtail and I love that you are shopping for it. My (Korean) mom has told me about the days when she could get oxtail for free from the "regular" (read: Western) supermarket meat counter...they were going to just chuck it anyway. She would appreciatively take it and make some damned amazing soup.

          Maybe you could find them for free-to-really cheap still in the 'burbs?

          8 Replies
          1. re: digga

            Oxtail is awesome. Nothing makes a better beef stew/soup.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              That is not an uncommon price for Oxtail in supermarkets, going back at least a couple of years. I have commented in the past that even though for instance DeMoula's is less expensive overall, things like Oxtail are slightly more pricey there. And Super88 also never sold it cheap either. As some folks mentioned on a thread a week ago, McKinnon's was selling it for significantly less (I think $2.79 and they had some packages with only meaty large pieces). That said, the cryovac "never frozen" Latino brand that some Demoula's carry is pretty good stuff. When I can, I prefer to buy at Lord Jeff's because you can have it cut to order (frozen) the thickness you desire and they sell a lot. But more often I tend to get it from Puritan Beef at Haymarket (I prefer buying during the week and getting stuff from the walk-in, but oxtail is pretty safe) and sometimes Mayflower Poultry (frozen). Hilltop is another place that has it cheap, but can be pretty mixed.

              If you want a stew meat which is uncommon and also excellent, check out turkey necks. They have a lot of gelatin (give a body in between short ribs and oxtail), but unlike chicken necks have enough meat that you end up with something you can eat. And pork neck bones, beef shin (Asian and Brazilian markets will sell just the muscle alone for pot roast)... and many other things are still inexpensive, but make a great soup base.

              1. re: itaunas

                Hmmmm, never seen shin meat, but will definitely look for it now.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  They often have shins at Market Basket too.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Market Basket, McKinnon's, and Johnnie's sell beef shin, cross-cut (with the bone). At a Chinese market or from a Brazilian butcher as "musculo" you can buy the whole shin muscle (boneless) from one side which makes a really nice pot roast/stew. I generally like having the bones, but the whole cut is nice from time to time. If you look around you can usually find it somewhere for $2.99/lb, but can be more (particularly at Johnnie's when not on sale). The meat doesn't get that silky texture of nicely braised oxtail or short ribs, but I do recommend it.

                  2. re: StriperGuy

                    Lots of shin meat at H-Mart, including off the bone. I got some there for $2.99.

                    H-Mart is also a good source for oxtail. If you get it frozen, it is $1 less per pound.

                    3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                  3. re: itaunas

                    And thanks for reminding me of McKinnon's.

                  4. re: StriperGuy

                    Agreed, but aside from a rare sale, I've never seen oxtail for less than 4.99/lb - even in Chinatown where you can have savings on the less popular cuts of meat. The one advantage in Chinatown is you sometimes get better cuts of tail (whether you want the giant meat parts, or the smaller parts that are fun to gnaw on).

                2. Damn, happened to shanks of all kinds too, especially lamb, which was a throw-away until someone made it famous and not it's almost as expensive as the chops!

                  Good bourbon, hit up Deep Ellum, I was amazed at their listing of bottles and Max the owner is obsessed with the stuff. I am with him on that now, a new found love for it to substitute for the more common desire for good scotch.....American whiskey, yeah.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: Zatan

                    flank steak, too. didnt it used to be a cheap cut? maybe its my old brain but it seems to me we used to grill this up for sandwiches, etc. precisely because it was cheap. am i mis remembering?

                    1. re: hyde

                      Yes. I could go on and on about flank steak and yes it used to be cheap.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        hanger steak used to be cheap as well.

                    2. re: Zatan

                      Zatan, you might be interested to know that there was a recent tasting of Four Roses bourbon - this stuff I guess is real old school and prohibition-era had been a big brand, but got dumbed down when it was acquired by Seagram's - was mostly bottom rail and exported to Europe thereafter - now they are controlled by a Japanese company and they are trying to come back into the premium bourbon market - I thought it was middling, but I am not a connoisseur. You might chat up the Deep Ellum folks about it next time -

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        I had meant to go to that tasting - was that at Federal Wines?

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          Misty Kalkofen at Drink recently Tweeted about accidentally breaking a bottle of Four Roses, and I thought, "Did the customers a favor", but now I'm not so sure. They apparently have a fancier ($40+) single-barrel version on the market now, too, so it sounds like they're trying to reposition the brand.

                          If it hasn't been reformulated recently, the yellow label (cheaper version, around $20 retail) is pretty rough stuff. On the other hand, Old Overholt rye is still about $12 retail, and its harder-edged character actually makes it work better in certain cocktails than more expensive, smoother ryes, so I always keep it around. Hopefully its appearance as a Don Draper tipple on Mad Men won't make another Plymouth Gin out of it.


                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            It was at Federal Wine and Spirits.
                            We tried the single barrel, the small batch and the yellow label in that order and in that order of preference - I cut the single barrel with a tiny bit of water like a single malt scotch and it smoothed out all the edges - really smooth, silky even - nice bourbon - the yellow label was pretty rough to my tastes - there was also a limited edition that I was too bourboned up to try at that point. *hic* The single barrel was 100 proof and it was a lot smoother than the 80 proof cheap stuff.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              yeah, when I told my father-in-law about Four Roses he replied, "Four Roses! That's rotgut!" but it appears those days are past (or maybe their low-end is still rotgut, not sure) their small batch/single barrel are both really solid.

                              tried a bunch a few months ago:

                              and re:formerly cheap meats that are now expensive; shhh, don't tell anyone but featherbones are still dirt cheap if you can find them.

                              1. re: joypirate

                                Hey, you made me google. I never heard of featherbones, but that is right up my alley.

                                1. re: yumyum

                                  Gosh me too.. now I'm on a mission... Crispy Mandarin Riblets here I come:

                                2. re: joypirate

                                  aren't these the cut used in Chinese restaurants for "ribs" such as those in dim sum steamed w/black bean sauce? I always called them riblets, think it's the same cut....if so, usually available at Asian markets?

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  Uh-oh - I better stock up on the Old Overholt. I actually prefer it in a Manhattan to the fancier brands as well, and can't believe it's remained so cheap.

                                2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  Really just very happy to see a bourbon/American whisky revival going on, always thought it's been underappreciated and soo many sad stories like the four roses one. I haven't tried that one in ages and did not know about its new iteration.

                                  Old Overholt was for the longest time the only rye I could find around here. Anytime I saw it in a bar I'd get my manhattan made with it.....

                                  1. re: Zatan

                                    There's a huge number of otherwise well-stocked bars in Boston that still don't carry a single American straight rye, especially irksome to me if they have three yards of flavored and super-premium vodkas. That's slowly changing, but there are plenty that still think a bottle or two of Canadian whisky covers them on the rye front. (It doesn't: calling that stuff "rye" is a holdover from Prohibition.)


                                3. re: Zatan

                                  I am increasingly interested in bourbon too, though still a definite novice. Have you found any good retailers where you can find smaller batch bourbons or some of the less frequently seen labels (Bulleit)? Especially a place where they can talk me through it a bit? In Cambridge is a plus. I haven't looked at Wine and Cheese Cask yet, which is usually my standby for alcohol.

                                  By the way, I had Four Roses for the first time at the Old Brown Hotel in Louisville a few weeks ago and it was wonderful. I am not sure which label it was, they didn't say, but perhaps that means it was not the 40/bottle variety...

                                  1. re: hckybg

                                    Take a look at the Spirits board, lots of discussion on this. Most of the big liquor stores have good selections. Fresh Pond, Blanchards, Martignettis, Martys.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      Thank you! I suspect the Liquor World variety of stores will neither have much selection nor know anything about what they sell. I will poke around these, which I have never visited.

                                4. Props to Itaunas as usual, dang that boy is encyclopedic.

                                  Hit McKinnon's. They had Oxtail for $4 / lb. I decided to mix it up:

                                  2.5 lbs oxtail
                                  2.5 pounds meaty beef ribs (not short ribs)
                                  1 pound boneless short rib meat


                                  Added 1 bottle Italian red wine (it was good, maybe should have saved it for drinking, oh well better stew.)

                                  Bay leaves
                                  One toasted guajillo chile (I think that's what it was)
                                  A few tiny chiles pequines
                                  Black pepper
                                  an onion
                                  Red and green bell peppers

                                  Made it late last night, simmered for 5+ hours.

                                  We'll see what it tastes like for dinner tonight ;-)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                    We're on the same wavelength .. I made Beef Braised in Barolo last weekend and used a much too nice bottle of wine for it but boy it was tasty. And better the second day fo sho.

                                    1. re: yumyum

                                      It's beef with Barolo time of year. But dang, seriously, Barolo. I would happily help you drink that and save it from the stew pot.

                                      One of the best bottles of wine I ever had was a 20+ year old bottle of Barolo...

                                  2. Love the Beam Black. Anyone know where to pickup a bottle of Old Fitzgerald 1849 Bourbon in the Boston area? Thanks.

                                    1. Yo stripey, what vermouth and what bitters do youz use in a JB Black manhatt'n?

                                      24 Replies
                                      1. re: Alcachofa

                                        I have been using my homemade bitters, but regular angostura is fine. On the vermouth front I change around from Martini to the french stuff sometimes I even sub a bit of sweet sherry.

                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                          Recently had glasses of Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth (introduced to me at Eastern Standard) and what an amazing thing that is! Would love to stock a bottle or two, and though fantastic neat, it would no doubt go well in a manhattan or any other drink requiring sweet vermouth. Fantastic stuff, really.

                                          Eastern Standard
                                          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                          1. re: Zatan

                                            Funny that you two cocktail nerds would mention it, because I have been toying with the idea of trying to make my own vermouth. How tricky can it be. Start with some sweet wine (sherry, marsala, etc) add some herbs, spices, etc. Voila, vermouth.

                                            I do have to find a bottle of that Carpano Antica Formula regardless...

                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                              Just picked up a liter of Carpano Antica at Atlas Liquors in Medford last week (thanks to a post somewhere on this site) for around $30 - they had two others on the shelf then and one tin that had a bottle of Pernod in it...it does make awesome Manhattans with Rittenhouse Bonded, Eagle Rare, and Pierre Ferrand Ambre (with a splash of St.Germain and orange bitters) - more tests to come. I also like Vya (pricier per oz - at least from Brix) very much as well, but think there's a lot more depth in the Antica - my new standard.

                                              1. re: rlh

                                                Okay it may very well be a good drink, but you are no longer even close to making a Manhattan.

                                                Starts to sound a bit busy with all those ingredients. Everyone seems to be adding St. Germain to everything these days. I have tried Manhattans with all sorts of high end Whiskeys but I always seem to come back to Jim Beam White. I find the longer aged stuff tends to overwhelm the integrity of the drink. Most of the longer aged whiskeys and ryes I prefer to drink on the rocks or neat with a splash of water, the classic Bourbon and Branch. Branch just meaning water from the branch of a small mountain spring.

                                                Where did you pick up the Rittenhouse?

                                                Heck, give the cocktail a name, and add it to this thread I started on the spirits board a ways back.


                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  It took a while for them to restock it, but Cambridge Wine and Spirit at Fresh Pond had lot of it on hand as of a couple of weeks ago.

                                                  To clarify my runon post - those are three separate Manhattans versions I tried with the Antica vermouth - one with Rittenouse, the other with Eagle Rare - both were classic style with only the addition of Angostura bitters and garnish after stirring and straining.

                                                  The third is a reach and more of just a Manhattan-based inspiration that came from a bar in Austin, TX (Peche) - I will post it as their name Paris Manhattan on the other thread (though they had some really excellent housemade cherry vanilla bitters that I don't have in it ) - I agree St. Germain can be overused and trite, but it works really well in this case and it takes the subtlety of the cognac and the Orange Bitters (vs. bourbon or rye) to make it work.

                                                  The only combo of rye and cognac that I think works for me is a Vieux Carre (and Misty's at Drink with the huge handmade iceberg is my gold standard) - in fact, now that the trick or treaters have stopped, I am going to try again to make it well at home....

                                                  1. re: rlh

                                                    Gotcha, I sorta was wondering. I work right near Fresh Pond so will grab a bottle for sure. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: rlh

                                                      Picked up some of the Rittenhouse. Hmmm certainly a quality product at a reasonable price point. Tried it on the rocks and then in a Manhattan.

                                                      I tend to make my Manhattan's on the dry side, light on the vermouth. Which is why I guess I don't worry too much about the vermouth. Though all this talk has me thinking I need to try a bottle of Dolin, Vya, or Carpano...

                                                      I know it sounds funny, but the Rittehouse is a bit rich for my Manhattan. I have recently gone back to Jim Beam White, or Old Overholt for my Manhattans and the thinner style of the less aged whisky suits my liking.

                                                      Rittenhouse reminds me a bit of Jim Beam Black with the addition of the zing that Rye grain brings. Again a real quality product at the price point but think I may find myself drinking it on the rocks more then in a Manhattan.

                                                      My current Manhattan recipe:

                                                      2 oz. Jim Beam White
                                                      Good dash of my home made bitters
                                                      2 Tsp of Vermouth (Martini and Rossi)
                                                      2 Tsp of liquid from my homemade spiced cherries
                                                      Cherry garnish

                                                      Slight sacrilege, but I usually drink mine on the rocks.

                                                      One sad note, I am almost out of house made cherries and the though of going back to crapola supermarket cherries is a drag until next spring when they are back in season. I am not a huge fan of the Luxardo cherries so...

                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        maybe you can "make do" with Amarena Fabbri cherries (amazon.com) until next spring...

                                                        1. re: barleywino

                                                          hmmm, haven't tried those...

                                                          Just on Amazon and found this, not a huge fan of Roland products, but a 6 pound tin could probably hold all of Boston chowhounds until spring ;-)


                                                2. re: StriperGuy

                                                  They have at Liquor World in Porter. I grabbed a bottle last week, haven't opened it yet though.

                                            2. re: Alcachofa

                                              I made a manhattan the other night with JB Black, Vya sweet vermouth, and Fee's whiskey barrel bitters, and I thought it was pretty excellent.

                                              1. re: nickls

                                                How do you like the VYA vermouth?

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  i'm a big fan of the Vya sweet vermouth over the Antica, which I find more bitter/tannic (ymmv)

                                              2. re: Alcachofa

                                                I like to mix it up, keep a few bottles of sweet vermouth in my fridge with VacuVin stoppers: Dolin, Antica Formula (which I see everywhere at local retail now, finally -- fantastic stuff), Punt e Mes, Vya.

                                                For dry vermouth, I keep Vya, Dolin and Noilly Prat (both new and old formulations) around. The Martini bianco is an interesting, sweeter product. Fortified wines like oloroso sherries, late-bottled-vintage and other ports, and non-vermouth aromatized wines like Lillet and Dubonnet make a nice change, too.

                                                A lot of Manhattan variants use monastery cordials like Benedictine or Italian amari like Cynar in addition to or in place of vermouth, which add a lot of interest.


                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  I occasionally use a very slight amount of Pedro Ximenez sherry in lieu of vermouth. Not sure I'd go for the grapiness of the LBV though I'm a big port fan in general.

                                                  Not at all a Benedictine fan and I'll sip my Cynar just with an ice cube or two. Not sure I'd want that in my whiskey.

                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                    Glad to hear that there are some other Cynar fans out there. I bought it on a whim because I am both a fan of exotic cocktail ingredients and artichokes, and I've fallen it love with it ever since.

                                                    I found a great recipe that uses Cynar that's a twist on the negroni: equal parts Cynar, Punt e Mes and gin.

                                                    1. re: kitsune

                                                      As a new devotee of Fernet con coca, can you fill me in on the finer points of Cynar? Also, I periodically look for an arugula-based digestif, but cannot find it stateside. Any thoughts are appreciated.

                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                        Mr. Dobalina what happened to your avatar? Sad.

                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                          I'd say that Cynar can be considered an acquired taste (although in my case, I took to it quite quickly). It's very bitter and strong (and vaguely vegetal), so if you gravitate towards those flavors naturally, you'll probably like it (and since you like Fernet, I'd imagine that you do). I've read that some people find that it has a bit of a metallic aftertaste, but I personally don't notice this.

                                                          1. re: kitsune

                                                            Babbo used to make a drink years ago (pre-"cocktail revolution"), called the Thistle (as in artichoke/Cynar), with Cynar, fresh squeezed OJ, Grey Goose orange

                                                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                            Franklin Southie is having a Fernet cocktail night tonight 8pm, with various guest bartenders/Fernet recipes supposedly

                                                            1. re: barleywino

                                                              Thanks for the responses and the Franklin tip - if only I could make it....
                                                              YY, BP has been retired from here, but he's still out there...

                                                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        On that note, I love John's LIttle Italy version at Drink - bourbon, sweet vermouth, Cynar, and some really great house bitters.

                                                    2. Folks, this thread has drifted far from discussing the availability of various spirits in the Boston area to more general discussion on spirits and mixology. By continuing the spirits discussion here you are limiting participation and visibility of the topic. Please feel free to resume your discussions appreciating spirits on the Spirits board. Let's keep the focus of this board on where to FIND great spirits in the Boston area.