With close to 500 types of whiskey available, Batch owners Ronnie & Christian Spece have made the most out of their 660 square foot bar.
When Batch opened its doors for the first time in 2015 as a whiskey and doughnut spot in the heart of downtown, Tucsonans kind of lost their minds (in a good way). (Read original opening announcement on Tucson Foodie.)
As the small bar’s offerings evolved, its core items never went away: whiskey and doughnuts. However, as the small but mighty display case reserved for doughnuts near the bar’s entrance hasn’t grown much, the same cannot be said for Batch’s whisky selection.
“Our whiskey selection is not just (very) large,” said Ronnie Spece, “but thoughtful. I taste everything before we bring it in when possible. And as my interest and experience with whiskey has grown, so has our curated collection.”
The whiskey selection is a site to behold. Tastefully crammed into a 660 square foot space on Congress Street, a ladder is required to reach a good handful of Batch’s whiskeys. Those whiskies include, Scotches, bourbons, Japanese whiskies, and much more.
Spece’s interest in whiskey began in 2012 during a visit to a Manhattan basement bar that featured at least 100 different bourbons.
“Out of several the bartender recommended that night, the first and most memorable was Eagle Rare, a 10 year bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery,” said Spece. “That really sparked my interest. I thought it would be awesome to bring a place to Tucson like that that really focused on whiskey. Our location has always reminded me of places in cities like Manhattan and San Francisco that inspire me – intimate, narrow, shotgun spaces.”
While there’s plenty to keep aficionados busy tasting and gawking at Batch, one highlight is the offerings of private barrel selections. Some of those have been selected on site in Kentucky by Spece personally and the Speces have also visited numerous distilleries over the last couple of years.
“We’ve done 7 private single barrel offerings this year alone with more in the works,” said Spece.
With all of those whiskies to choose from, it’s helpful to have a guide. Granted, if it’s available at Batch, it’s available for a reason, namely it’s good, but listed below are some of Ronnie’s current favorites.
Whiskey Del Bac
Batch was the only account in Tucson to pick barrels of both Classic unsmoked and Dorado smoked Whiskey Del Bac. Both are bottled at cask strength and are otherwise unavailable except for Del Bac’s limited releases like their Distiller’s Cut.
Batch Pandemic Pick, Privately Selected Barrel
Batch’s private label of Elijah Craig is an excellent value as it’s an 11 year single barrel bourbon, versus their regular blend of 8-12 year distillate at the same price. It offers more character than the original, which is blended for consistency.
Nine Banded is a lesser-known wheated bourbon (like its highly-coveted inspiration, “Weller“). It’s sweet and smooth with notes of cherry and honey. Local bonus, Nine Banded’s president graduated from Amphi High School.
Copper & Kings
Private Collab Cask
This incredibly unique collaboration provides a classic brandy flavor with hints of bourbon and the stout barrel it was finished in. It’s brandy aged in an imperial stout barrel, which previously held bourbon. This bottle features a rich, feisty character with a long finish.
In case your playing it extra safe these days and not venturing out, Batch does offer limited delivery, but do check in first.
Batch is located at 118 E. Congress. For more information, including menu and hours, visit batchtucson.com.