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    You can tell by the slowly changing colors of the leaves and the occasional brisk breeze flowing through the air that Louisville is well into the month of September. And with the glorious return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte and the temporary Halloween costumes stores sprouting up all over town, the fact that September is National Bourbon Heritage Month is easily overlooked by many.

    And though this city is full of pumpkin spice-loving Halloween fanatics, Louisvillians should embrace this special month and celebrate our delicious spirit! Bourbon is what we’re known for, after all. So stop browsing the Halloween aisle at the grocery store, stow away those pumpkin spice seasoning packets and use September as a month-long excuse to mix a little bourbon into everything!

    Take a little expert cooking advice from Louisville’s Chef John Varanese. As the mastermind behind the delectable menu of Frankfort Avenue’s Varanese, and the highly anticipated new restaurant, River House, this chef knows a thing or two about the art of flavor.

    Here are a few tips about cooking with bourbon straight from the local master chef himself:

    1. The smoky caramel and vanilla nuances of Bourbon go great with sweets! Consider adding it to a bread pudding or fruit-based dessert with peaches or pears for a unique, flavorful kick.

    2. Using bourbon is a simple way to add depth to a sauce or glaze in a savory dish. Be sure to incorporate bourbon sauce with a piece of meat that can hold up to a strong flavor, like beef or pork.

    3. Serving an entrée on a charred wooden plank or bourbon barrel stave isn’t just a creative visual, it can also flavor your food. Have fun with the plating!

    4. Be sure to burn off the alcohol by adding bourbon to a hot pan. You can also impress your guests with a dramatic flame, but be careful!

    5. If you can’t incorporate the spirit into a recipe, just drink it! Serve bourbon or a bourbon cocktail with the dish to tie in the flavor.

    For more National Bourbon Heritage Month recipe ideas, check out the Food Network’s delicious bourbon-themed collection. And be sure to visit some of Louisville’s best bourbon restaurants like Varanese, Down One Bourbon Bar and Bourbons Bistro.  

    Photos courtesy of Varanese and Food Network. (Photos from top: Varanese's Bbq shrimp over Tasso and cheddar grits with bourbon caramelized onions and fresh herbs, Chef John Varanese, Bourbon Peach Cobbler.)

    Carly Garcia's picture

    About Carly Garcia

    Lover of vegetarian cuisine, Stephen King, puppies, camping and wine...lots of wine.

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