Living life between the barrel staves in Bourbon Country

Posts tagged “Bourbon

On Mint Juleps and Margaritas

A true Kentucky Mint Julep, from The Bluegrass Tavern in Lexington, KY

In social settings, regardless of what city I’m in, one question comes up repeatedly as soon as I reveal that I hail from the Bluegrass State.

“Do you drink mint juleps?”

It could be the third Thursday in November, and for some reason all anyone wants to talk about from that moment forward is the Kentucky Derby and its ubiquitous cocktail.  Inevitably someone in the crowd either makes “the best mint julep” or knows someone else that does.  Sidebar conversations tend to break out at that point over whether the julep should be “strong” or “sweet”, whether the mint is incorperated as an essential element or used more as garnish.  It’s no wonder there is confusion among outsiders over how to make a proper mint julep.  Kentuckians can’t agree on the correct preparation either.  Books have been written on the subject.  It would not surprise me to discover a thesis at the University of Kentucky has been written on “The Psychological and Social Aspects of the Proper Preparation of the Mint Julep Cocktail”, such is the level of diverse opinion on the subject.



It’s About Trust


There are few greater expressions of trust than telling a bartender “I’m in your hands” when ordering a cocktail.

I give you “The Paper Plane” from Table Three Ten in Lexington, made with Weller 7yo bourbon.

Tailgating Season Arrives

Our tailgating reputation got a little national notice this week in the March issue of Chronicle Connections, from the publisher of The Chronicle of the Horse Magazine.  Be sure to check out the magazine and the article by clicking here.  And don’t forget about the full coverage of our events on the Tailgating Steeplechase Style tab above.   Plans for this years event are well underway.  We hope to see you at the Kentucky Horse Park in May for another fantastic race (and no rain this year!)


Painting the Big Blue Red


Maker’s Mark held a “Maker’s March” for ambassadors along Cheapside Tuesday night, with drink specials at Skybar, The Bluegrass Tavern, Wildcat Saloon, Cheapside and the new Parlay Social.


Cheers from San Francisco

I can’t say that visiting San Francisco next week is one of those “bucket list” items for me that everyone seems to talk about so much these days.  However, the chance to enjoy some of the best the city has to offer is hardly an opportunity one passes on.  What I now about San Fran could easily be summarized on the back of one those vintage postcards. (more…)

Lone Star Whiskey

The Lone Star relief on a bottle of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

A recent article in the Dallas Observer announced plans by Texas distillers to compete with Kentucky and Tennessee in the production of bourbon.  As a life long resident of the Bluegrass State, I know that this a foolhardy enterprise.  After all, no one “up here” considers the boys “down there” in Tennessee to be playing the same game anyway.  A Tennessee whiskey is, as we all know, a separate category from bourbon (it’s the filtering through sugar maple charcoal that negates its designation as bourbon).  So far as we’re concerned, Texas and Tennessee are welcome to duke it out for second place in the American Whiskey category – but there is only one Kentucky Bourbon.

For those who don’t understand the rules (and there are plenty), yes whiskey produced in Texas can legally be called bourbon provided it adheres to the prescriptions laid down by Congress.   But does it taste like bourbon?  I recently had a chance to sample one of the first bourbons to come out of Texas, and coming from the state where everything is bigger than elsewhere, I was expecting great things.  Turns out everything really is bigger in Texas.  Including the hype.


The Blog Oracle for 2011

An ancient Greek oracle predicts the future for the king.

Like death, taxes and the assurance that Vice President Joe Biden will say something stupid that embarrasses the White House, few things are as predictable as the appearance of year-end lists and predictions for the coming new year.  The seriousness these list gatherers ascribe to their prognostications (which prove about as successful as the Cincinnati Bengals’ play calling) makes them ripe targets for ridicule.  At the risk of never being invited back to some of these places, coupled with my long suppressed tendency to be a bit of a smart alec (No! Really you say?), it only seemed appropriate that in the best tradition of David Letterman and the worst tradition of bloggers trying to be comedians, that I should throw out my own year end list of oracular culinary wisdom.