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Barkeep’s Call

The Buzz on Bourbon

TenOak’s Shane Fischer on Garrison Brothers Whiskey

By Molly McManus

Shane Fischer helped to open tenOak in March 2011, sweeping up construction dust off the bar-to-be’s floor. Designed like the inside of an oak barrel, the personality of the bar is sophisticated yet approachable. With bourbon choices galore, tenOak also features a full bar and food menu, and an excellent Sunday brunch, claiming to have the “world’s largest Bloody-Mary bar.” You can also find $5 cocktails and appetizers during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Bourbon 101 is a class tenOak hosts every second Wednesday of the month as a lively and informational event with passed apps and bourbon tasting.

However, the essence of tenOak lay in its vast bourbon selection, the largest small-batch bourbon collection in town. There’s no other bar or lounge like it in Austin; tenOak offers a unique atmosphere that fills a certain void in the city. In addition to Garrison Brothers Whiskey, Fischer also highly endorses two other bourbons carried at tenOak, one being a steal, the other a splurge.

Although one can spend a decent amount of money on a single drink at tenOak, there are inexpensive options as well. Take Rowan’s Creek, for example, priced at $7 a glass. This steal of bourbon has a caramel sweetness up front but is well-balanced so as not to leave a residual sweetness drying up on the palate. As a 100-proof whiskey originating from a very small batch, Rowan’s Creek definitely stretches the dollar, giving you much more than what you paid for.

For those who are bourbon connoisseurs and have some dough to drop, tenOak features the extremely rare, top-tier, most premium bourbon of them all. Neat or on the rocks but never mixed, Fischer awards Pappy 23 the distinction “white whale of bourbons,” with its savory white pepper, oaky and vanilla overtones. Priced at $90 a glass, Pappy 23 is distributed once a year and tenOak is one of its lucky carriers.

Whether you’re looking for a new happy-hour spot, want to broaden your bourbon horizons, or long to try the Garrison Brothers Old Fashioned in a classy, yet laid-back environment, tenOak is sure to meet your wildest whiskey expectations.

For most whiskey drinkers, on the rocks is the preferred approach to fully experience bourbon from its start to its finish. Shane Fischer, knowledgeable bartender at tenOak Bourbon House and Lounge in downtown Austin, recommends Garrison Brothers Whiskey, explaining that, while this drink can be sipped the traditional way, its hint of spice lends itself well to a slightly different method. Fischer loves the peppery burn Garrison Brothers has, which cuts through when mixed well.

His proposal?
The timeless classic:  An Old Fashioned
Priced at $16, this cocktail will awaken your taste buds and quench your whiskey thirst.

Old Fashioned Recipe:
• Orange slice
• 1 maraschino cherry
• Heaping tablespoon powdered sugar
• 1 ½ ounces Garrison Brothers Whiskey
Muddle ingredients.
Top with ice and water.

tenOak Bourbon House and Lounge •  409 Colorado St. •
Food & Drinks M. – F., 4 – 11 p.m., Sat. 11a.m. – 11p.m. & Sun. 11a.m. – 4 p.m. • Bar open until 1 a.m. (Sun.–W.) & 2a.m. (Th.–Sat.)



  1. Molly,

    Just wanted to thank you for featuring Garrison Brothers and TenOak in this story. Shane had nice things to say about my bourbon and I truly appreciate your coverage. We’re excited about ATX Man.

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