On Saturday evening, I attended the cocktail and appetizer portion of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft’s annual Bourbon Bash. Guests looked lovely in dresses and suits as they sipped bourbon cocktails and nibbled small bites crafted by Wiltshire Pantry before the main dinner and live entertainment.
Woodford Reserve’s cocktail, the “Woodford Jewel”, was made of bourbon, lemonade, and pomegranate juice. It was smooth and refreshing, with complex notes of spice, fruit, toffee, and chocolate from the bourbon. Yum.
Four Roses, with an impressive representative behind the table who possessed a wealth of knowledge about the company’s bourbon, gave out a signature cocktail called the “Rose’rita”. Made with 2 parts margarita mix to 1 part Four Roses bourbon, then topped off with a splash of grenadine and a cherry, it was fantastic. Super smooth with a great fruity flavor and lovely sweet notes of vanilla and caramel.
Old Forester offered a cocktail called “Old Forester Punch”, which included iced tea, sugar, orange juice, limeade, water, and bourbon. It had a bright acidity and was a great alternative to a screwdriver, which was fantastic because I’m not a vodka fan.
Jefferson’s Reserve, a “very small batch” distiller, served an extremely refreshing cocktail called the “Bourbon Twist”, which was made of their bourbon, sweet tea, honey, a splash of soda water, and lemon.
Heaven Hill Distilleries made a signature cocktail called “Pressing Charges” with its Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This bourbon is smooth and savory with rich, buttery, caramel-y goodness. Mixed with PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and a splash of Sweet & Sour Mix, it was strong with a nice acidity and a clean finish.
Jim Beam’s signature cocktail, the “Jim Beam Red Dragon”, which the men behind the counter said was a “Whiskey Sour”, was perfect. It was so smooth with an immaculate balance of sweet and tart between the Red Stag bourbon and the lemonade. Plus, the smiley guy behind the counter said this as he handed me my drink: “Comes with a guarantee – I guarantee it’s good!” He was right. :)
Michter’s signature cocktail, called the “Coast to Coast”, was the best cocktail I’ve ever had. Made with orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, Michter’s bourbon, Sonoma-Cutrer red wine, and a cherry, it was smooth, fruity, and delicious with notes of caramel. Mama like. In fact, because it was SO awesome, here’s their recipe:
Michter’s “Coast to Coast”
2 parts Michter’s US*1 Bourbon
¼ part Orange Juice
¾ part Lemon Juice
¾ part Simple Syrup
Float of Red Wine
Mix first 4 ingredients in shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake and strain into martini glass, float a splash of red wine on top, garnish with a cherry or orange peel.
Wiltshire Pantry, the caterer for this event, prepared four appetizers. Each was passed by a friendly waiter, and they were as follows:
+ Seared Kentucky Bison Crostini with Tomato-Caperberry Relish
- The relish had a very interesting flavor (in a good way). It was bright and exciting. Also, the bison was perfectly tender and had just the right amount of pink.
+ Crispy Cheddar Grit Cakes with Braised Greens and Maple Vinaigrette
- These were subtle and well-seasoned. Great combination of Southern goodies with a Northern twist.
+ Smoked KY Trout on Russian Black Bread with Lemon and Capers
- The bread, a fancier, more complex version of pumpernickel, was SUPER crunchy. The trout was lovely, and the lemon and capers added a bright acidity with a nice punch of salty brine.
+ Roasted New Potato Cups with Minted Eggplant Dip and Crumbled Feta
- These were smooth and creamy with an immaculately clean mint flavor, and the potato was perfectly cooked. Very intriguing combination.
This was a truly impressive collection of Kentucky’s best bourbon paired with some lovely food. I’m sure that the dinner by Wiltshire Pantry and the live entertainment by Sanford Biggers were spectacular! If you couldn’t make it this time, be sure to buy yourself a ticket or two for next year.
Oh, and Wiltshire Pantry keeps quite a pantry of handsome chefs on hand. Yow. Well done.
2012 KMAC Bourbon Bash!
Four Roses Bourbon
Michter’s American Whiskey Co.
Old Forester and Woodford Reserve