Trendy bourbon spirits make for spirited adventures
Gin and bourbon are this season’s IT girls in the cocktail world. Both are increasingly in demand and hard to get, especially the craft spirits. Bombay Sapphire and Hendricks Cucumber gin are still popular, but it’s the small batch gins that get all the love, especially those from Ireland and Japan since there’s less juniper available for mass quantities.
Ditto bourbon, and that’s why 2018 is the season of the bourbon blend cocktail. With Kentucky’s Vintage Spirits Law taking effect, it’s now legal to sell rare and antique bourbons by private individuals directly to retailers, instead of going through a distributor. Look for vintage bourbon lists and classic retro cocktails, a la Mad Men. Bourbon aficiandos can’t go wrong with batches from Buffalo Trace, Angel’s Envy, Willet Distillery, Michter’s Distillery and Peerless Distillery.
Mixologist and Intermezzo owner Jarrett Sabatini knows a thing or two about bourbon, hosting bourbon tasting events (and vinyl!) at his downtown coffee and cocktail craft bar.
Locally, American Freedom Distillery showcases some fine bourbon whiskey, including Commander’s Select and dR’s favorite, Horse Soldier Bourbon, a uniquely complex, wheat-forward expression, aged a minimum of 8 years in new American Oak with a robust, powerful flavor and a long, crisp finish of dark stone fruits, vanilla and oak. americanfreedomdistillery.com
Local Bourbon Bastions
Elevage, The Mill and Flute & Dram both feature fantastic bourbon cocktails; read about these restaurants in the dRDining guide.
Bazille – Nor’Easter: Maker’s Mark, housemade Grenadine, fresh lemon, absinthe rinse. (Nordstrom’s, International Mall)
Cask Social Kitchen – 125th & York: Medley Brothers Bourbon, Amaro Lucano, Black Walnut Bitters. casksocial.com
Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club – Old Fashioned: Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon, Demerrar sugar, Angostura and orange bitters. cirostampa.com
Del Mar Gastro Lounge: A back nook is home to dozens of vintage bourbons; happy hour daily 11-7. delmarstpete.com
Iberian Rooster – Recycled Paper Plane: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, lemon. Iberianrooster.com
Paul’s Landing @ The Vinoy- The Shiplap: Bulleit Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, blackberry-basil syrup Peychaud’s Bitters and St. George Absinthe wash. https://bit.ly/2HwMTUG
Repeal 18 Cocktail Lounge: Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade: Buffalo Trace – Blackberry Fresh Lemon Sagerepeal-18.com
5th Annual Beach, BBQ, Bourbon & Beer Weekend: From June 15-17, the Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande, FL serves up a Father’s Day feast and Southern hospitality Gasparillainn.com
The Bourbon Salon at Oxmoor Farm: Louisville and the Kentucky Derby celebrate good whiskey, and Oxmoor Farm offers a monthly salon for a meet and greet with distillers and tastings. neworleansbourbonfestival.com
The New Orleans Bourbon Festival: You’ll have to wait till March 2019, but this year’s venerable winners can be sampled locally. Look for Blackback Straight Bourbon, Redemption High Rye, Bourbon Bulleit Barrel Strength and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.
Whiskey Live USA: Follow the bourbon trail to Louisville (June 2), California and NYC. For finest whisky for 150 bourbons, cocktails, food and entertainment. whiskyliveusa.com
Kentucky Bourbon Festival: Bourbon tastings, cigar and entertainment, this event has grown since its 1992 creation with the support of the following distilleries – Barton 1792 Distillery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., Jim Beam Distillery, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Rebel Yell, Wild Turkey Distillery and Woodford Reserve Distillery, Sept. 10-16; kybourbonfestival.com