David Defazio was once photographed in Skiing Magazine skiing the Grand Teton, and Kate Mead was a collegiate ski racer. They both know skiing, as does Kate’s husband Brad. The trio, all Jackson, Wyoming, residents, decided to combine their love of the hills with a second love, spirits, and founded Wyoming Whiskey in 2006. The staff crushes Jackson Hole when they aren’t making hooch.
A good batch of whiskey, like a good skier, gets better with age. Most of a bourbon’s flavor comes from the maturation process, when heat causes whiskey to be absorbed into oak barrels, and cool temps re-liquefy the spirit with added flavor. These diurnal heat swings occur all summer near Jackson, and Wyoming Whiskey’s five-year-minimum aging process produces a flavor profile different from many traditional bourbons. Defazio recommends trying it on the rocks, and takes pride in the fact that skiers are committed to regularly participating in the après component of their ski day.
David Defazio's Top Bourbons for Skiers
- Wyoming Whiskey's Small Batch Outryder: A light-to-medium profile, "made with just enough rye to be best enjoyed on the rocks."
- Maker's Mark Black Wax: Headed to Japan on a ski trip? Seek out this export-only whiskey. "Like liquid velvet," says Defazio, "incredibly smooth."
- Four Roses Small Batch: Similar to Wyoming Whiskey, "remains light on the pallet and mixes well."
- Knob Creek: Best easy-to-find bourbon on the road, "very drinkable."
- Leopold Brothers: A Denver-based spirit company with many great expressions, "their whiskeys are simply outstanding."