Living life between the barrel staves in Bourbon Country

Posts tagged “Whiskey

Angel Wings…

Sampling the new Angel’s Envy 95% rye 100 proof whiskey, which has been finished in Caribbean run casks. Oh my word, rye with a sweet rum finish. Outstanding. Run, don’t walk, and get a bottle.

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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.

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Painting the Big Blue Red

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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.

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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.

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Thanksgiving Musings

Selecting a turkey for Thanksgiving has, in the modern world, become a laborious exercise. The bird we take for granted at mealtime is a domesticated version of the American wild turkey (scientific name Meleagris gallopavo), a relation of the guinea fowl. Much criticism has been heaped on the American turkey in recent years, fueled by claims that the birds – not known for being very intelligent to start – are having their breast size artificially enhanced by hormones to appeal to the tastes of the American marketplace. The end result is a dumb animal with breasts so large it actually topples over when it tries to walk (scientific name Meleagris kardashian). If your holiday dinner tastes run against the industrially constructed, you can opt against farm raised and choose instead free range, organic – or my personal favorite – Kentucky Wild Turkey (scientific name Meleagris gallopavo one-oh-one).

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The Right Moment

I had really hoped that this would be the year. Along with every other University of Kentucky basketball fan, the feeling for the last six months was “We’re back”. But even more so than the much desired eighth championship banner, I wanted the Wildcats to clinch the title for a much more selfish reason. I had a bottle of bourbon I wanted to drink.

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