Bourbon-infused Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day always comes too quickly for me. I struggle with what to get my dad every year.  If only he was a bourbon drinker, it would be so easy!  If you happen to have a bourbon-lover in your life who also happens to be a dad, you are lucky.  Your gift options seem endless, and there are gifts that can had for as little as a Hamilton. Or you can try and buy your father’s love with items that will set you back thousands of dollars!

If dear old Dad had been a whiskey drinker, here are ten of the gifts I would have considered buying for him this Father’s Day:

1. A bottle of Elijah Craig bourbon (prices vary, purchased at your local liquor store).

2. Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide For the Savvy Drinker by Fred Minnick ($14.02 – $ 22.99)

3. A subscription to The Bourbon Review ($19.99 print & digital)

4. Bourbon Is A Vegetable T-shirt from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail online store ($24.95)

5. Barrel-aged Pure Maple Syrup aged in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels from Pappy & Company ($38)

6. True Cubes Ice Cube Tray ($45)

image000000 (1).jpg

7. Eat Your Bourbon – Gourmet Grilling Gift Box from Bourbon Barrel Foods ($70)

8. Reclaimed Whiskey Barrel Wrist Watch from Bourbon & Boots ($199)

Reclaimed Whiskey Barrel Wrist Watch image

9. Picnic Time Manahattan Cocktail Travel Bar through Target ($143.99)

10. Executive Bourbon Steward Course with the Stave and Thief Society at Moonshine University ($500/individual)

I hope your hunt for the perfect Father’s Day gift was made a bit easier with these suggestions.  And if you have any ideas for my teetotaler-dad, let me know!


The Start of the 2015 Kentucky Bourbon Affair

Over the last year, Chris, my bourbon BFF, and I have saved our pennies to attend what is hailed as “The Ultimate Bourbon Fantasy Camp”. Though, the official name is the Kentucky Bourbon Affair (KYBA). It is five wonderful days of bourbon-centric events. The daytime events are more likely to involve distillery tours – amped up, of course. The “night cap” events are bourbon parties or bourbon dinners. The events begin today, and I am so excited I could tinkle!

In February, there were 50 Golden Tickets available for purchase, and Chris and I each snagged one before they sold out (in only 6 hours!). One of the benefits of the Golden Tickets is you can pick which events you want to attend before the general public gets a shot at them. It won’t guarantee that your top event won’t be sold out by they time you get to it, but it increases your chances. I really (really, really, REALLY) wanted to attend the Michter’s Rare Tasting and Tour on Saturday morning. Knowing that event would sell out quickly was THE reason I splurged on the Golden Ticket. And I got in. Yes, yes, YES!

Why did I want to attend this event so badly? I love their bourbons, especially their hard-to-come-by 20-year old that I tried at last year’s inaugural KYBA. As Chris would say, “it’s smack yo momma good.” Plus, here is a description for the event:

Don’t miss this rare “celebration” at Michter’s new distillery, the first time it’s been opened to the general public. Tour and taste Michter’s small batch and single barrel brands, including Celebration, the distillery’s luxury sour mash offering blended from special barrels over 20 and 30 years old. Hand-label your own souvenir bottle of Michter’s on the bottling line and enjoy signature cocktails and a Bourbon-inspired lunch.

Michter’s, you had me at Celebration. Ok, maybe it was because I saw “rare”, “hand-label”, and “souvenir bottle”. Either way, I will be there, and I’ll be savoring that Celebration.

So what am I doing later that day, and on the other days of this bourbon fantasy camp? Today I start at Wild Turkey for a private barrel selection, followed by the opening event, called Bourbon Under the Rocks, being held literally under the city in the Louisville Mega Caverns. How cool is that?! Thursday is my Heaven Hill day. In the morning I’ll be at Heaven Hill to find my “Single Barrel Soul-mate”. In the evening I’ll be dining “with three generations of the Shapira family, founders and owners of Heaven Hill Brands, in the Speakeasy lounge at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.”

I’m hoping for a bit of luck on Friday morning, as I’ll be fishing with Chris and the Noe Family. Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe will take us to his father’s, Booker Noe’s, favorite fishing hole. Chris and I continue our day together at Bill Samuel’s home for a Maker’s Mark Southern Style Crab & Crawfish Boil. You already know what I’m doing Saturday morning. The night cap event is the closing event called CasaBourblanca, being held, but where else? Bowman Airfield. I love that – such clever folks behind the KYBA, right? And let’s not forget about Sunday’s “send-off” event at Waterfront Park… Polo on the Waterfront.

Phew! I’m going to be exhausted at the end of the week, but knowing how much I loved last year’s events, I know it will be well worth it.


2015 KYBA Swag

The Bourbon Classic Taste

Kentucky by Copper & Kings

Copper & Kings Brandy Distillery’s Kentucky

It’s winter, and it’s gotten brutal… record-setting snowstorms and record cold. To distract me from the misery that Mother Nature has bestowed upon us, I signed up to attend the Bourbon Classic kickoff event, called the Bourbon Classic Taste. There was going to be bourbon tastings and great food provided by Chef Ed Lee and Lady Fingers Catering.

The event was held on Tuesday, February 17 2015, in the newly opened Copper and Kings American Brandy Distillery. It’s located in Butchertown, just east of downtown Louisville, with a great view of the city’s lights. Julian Van Winkle, the President of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, was on hand to share with us his very exclusive, and very elusive, bourbons. All attendees got one ticket for each of the following: 12- year Van Winkle Special Reserve, 15-year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, and 20-year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve. Of those, the 15-year old Van Winkle Family Reserve was my favorite. I tend to prefer higher proof bourbons, and this 107 proof was no exception – beating out the other two 90 proof drinks.

But let’s not forget, there were other bourbons and spirits on hand. Besides Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, W.L. Weller, Four Roses Small Batch, Four Roses Single Barrel, and Michter’s Bourbons, there was 1000 Stories (Bourbon-barrel aged) Zinfandel, and brandies from Copper & Kings. My favorite drink of the night was the Michter’s Straight Rye. My whiskey of choice is Rye, so that was no surprise. But, the 1000 Stories wine pleasantly surprised me; it was very drinkable, and I can see buying a few bottles for when guests come to visit.

While I did not partake in the sliders that Chef Lee prepared from whole hog, the food provided by Lady Finger Catering was delicious. I’ve been to other events they’ve catered as well, and have always been impressed with their food and service. The party was a lot of fun, no doubt inspired by lots of free-flowing spirits. I hope the Bourbon Classic Taste becomes an annual event. It’s one that I would love to attend again.

Lady Finger Catering desserts

I prefer to drink my desserts, but these were delicious!


Dessert in a bottle.

Bourbon - my kind of dessert.

If Pappy Van Winkle bourbons aren’t your thing, here are more great options.

Buffalo Trace e-cards

You know, I feel like Buffalo Trace (BT) gets me, just really understands me.  I don’t have to explain myself; I don’t have to act differently around BT; and BT makes me laugh. Check out the e-cards they post on facebook for a giggle.

Tonight, I’m raising a glass of Buffalo Trace to Buffalo Trace.


Buffalo at BT

Buffalo Trace makes for a better bourbon name than Moose Juice, don’t you think?

Bourbon Love

I moved from Maine to Kentucky 14 years ago.   It has taken me nearly all of those 14 years to go from I-sort-of-like bourbon to I-love!-bourbon.  It was a steep learning curve. But recently, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar sped up that process.  This past fall, they hosted nearly a dozen Bourbon Flight Nights.  I attended all but one.  After those events, I was smitten with the brown liquid.

The bourbon tastings were held each Tuesday night.  Only one distillery was represented each Tuesday.  That distillery offered four different tastes.  After trying all four, you selected your favorite bourbon, and the bartenders would make an Old Fashioned with that bourbon.  This helped me to learn quite a few things:

  • Four tastes, plus one Old Fashioned is a lot to drink in one night.
  • I’m a big fan of the higher proof bourbons (100 proof +).
  • I like the spice from a higher rye content.
  • This was a convenient way to learn which bourbons come from which distilleries.

While these events might have been a one-time thing (I hope not!), you can replicate the process, at a bar near you, to find your own bourbon wheelhouse.  If you think this liquid gold is just so-so, using this process just might change your mind.



Today’s spirited post is inspired by George T. Stagg Jr. bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  This particular bottle is 134.4 proof.  Here are the tasting notes (provided by Doc Crow’s & Buffalo Trace):

Nose: Heavy spice backbone with burned sugar and sturdy vanilla barrel char

Palate: Rich, sweet chocolate and brown sugar, bold rye spice

Finish: Lengthy with intense clove, cherries