Bourbon Holiday Gifts for Newbies and Experts Alike

Bourbon Holiday Gifts for Newbies and Experts Alike

It’s the most booziest time of the year!

Between Halloween and New Years Eve, it seems like life just gets a little bit more hectic. You are wrapping up projects at work, trying to fight away the Kentucky weather changes (aka allergies), and finding the perfect presents for all of your loved ones! Well you are in luck .. I’m going to suggest some of my favorite Bourbon lover finds this holiday season.

For the experienced Bourbon drinker .. this person might already have their favorite drink of choice and some great accessories so I suggest getting them some cool glasses to make their bourbon sipping a little bit more enjoyable. Below are my favorite to use throughout the year!

For the occasional bourbon drinker .. this person is slowly building their collection but might not know what all they need to really enjoy a good drink.

 

If you are looking for something a little bit more extravagant, there is plenty to do around the whole state of Kentucky! Plan a weekend away in horse country to explore some of the most famous distilleries in the world, there are plenty of bed & breakfast deals that include a bourbon tour. Don’t feel like making it a whole weekend or live nearby? Join up with Mint Julep Tours to go explore the country roads just for the day and then you don’t have to worry about who is going to be the DD!

Hope this helps you get some shopping done for the ones you love or for yourself! Have a safe & bourbon filled holiday!

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Meet a Friend of Limestone: Irma Kocer

Meet a Friend of Limestone: Irma Kocer

This month’s profile of a Kentuckian you should get to know takes us to Lexington!

Meet Irma!

 

What’s your name?

Irma Kocer

Where are you from?

Croatia/Bosnia but also Woodford County.

Where do you live currently?

Tiny yellow cottage, Lexington, KY.

What is your profession?

Public Health graduate student and Student Coordinator for UK’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards

Why are you a friend of limestone?

Limestone is (literally) the foundation of Kentucky. FOL is creating a multifaceted approach to educating the great citizens of Kentucky about our foundation while simultaneously creating spaces for advocacy and community engagement. I truly believe FOL is creating a grassroots effort to bring Kentucky’s prioritizes where they need to be in terms of conservation and environment. I am thrilled to be a part of it!

What is your favorite thing about Kentucky?

Autumn in Kentucky is truly magical. No matter where I have lived or traveled, the Bluegrass in that time of year is one of the best sights I’ve ever seen. Oh, and the food.

What makes Kentucky special?

Kentucky has a vast refugee and immigrant population. My past work in refugee resettlement as well as the fact that my family was resettled through Kentucky Refugee Ministries makes this an aspect of Kentucky that I hold dear. The Bosnian population in Bowling Green, the Congolese population in Lexington, the Somalian and Cuban population in Louisville, the Burmese population in northern Kentucky, and everyone in between truly speaks to the rich and colorful culture of our great state.

If you could name a Kentucky Derby horse, what would you name it?

Cheesy Grits

What is your vision for Kentucky?

My vision is a Kentucky without health and wealth disparities. It is a Kentucky where every individual, no matter their background or immigration status, has equal access to the tools they need to create the best life for themselves.

What is your favorite bourbon?

Woodford, of course! With a splash of Ale81.

What is your favorite place in Kentucky?

It’s a toss up: the backroads of Woodford County or the Old San Juan Cuban restaurant in Lexington.

What is one thing you would change about Kentucky?

We as Kentuckians often see ourselves divided into Louisville, Lexington, and everyone else. This leads to losing sight of the united commonwealth due to the variety of backgrounds and socio-economic differences. So I would change how divided we are. If we were able to come together, especially from a political perspective, we could create policies that would work for every Kentuckian instead of just those that have been representing us at the national level for years.

For you, what does it mean to be a friend of limestone?

It means supporting FOL in every way that I can. That may be in big ways such as advocacy and reducing my own carbon footprint. It may be in small everyday things like wearing my FOL t-shirt and happily explaining the mission to inquiring minds. Or a combination of both!

 

Thanks to Irma for participating!

Know someone we should talk to next? Email us at Communications@FriendsOfLimestone.com!

Environmental Justice 101

Environmental Justice 101

Hello, again!

As I’m sure you know, our environment is not always maintained as well as it should be (or if you don’t, welcome to reality). There are many environmental impacts that affect us in our every day lives, which put our health at risk. I’m hoping, since you are taking the time to read this blog, you know that we should, and must, be more conscience of these impacts and make efforts to improve them. However, did you know these risks are unequally shared across race and class? Some of you may be asking yourselves now, “What do you mean, unequally shared?” or “What does race or class have to do with anything”. These are the questions I hope to answer for you. I also hope to give you a better understanding of the injustices that often get looked over and are not always brought to light by the media and/or politicians (which, face it, that’s where most of us get our news whether we like it or not).

Environmental Justice:

  • Things like hazardous plants, pollution, and contamination are disproportionately located in black and poor communities.
  • This spawned an area of research and social movement aimed at addressing these inequities: Environmental Justice.
  • It advocates that all people and communities, regardless of their race or class status, are entitled to a healthy environment, as well as equal protection of environmental laws and regulations.
  • Click here for the 17 guiding principles of environmental justice!
  • There are two main debates with environmental justice: race vs. class and the chicken and the egg.

“Race vs. Class Debate”

  • Debates whether race or class is a better predictor of “environmental bads”.
  • Answering this debate is complicated because race and class connected.
  • Poor racially concentrated communities are the best predictors.
  • This occurs wherever people have the least amount of power, called “the path of least resistance”.
  • Occurs in poor black communities, as well as poor white communities.
  • This rarely occurs in rich white communities.

“The Chicken and The Egg”

  • Debates whether the “environmental bad” or the people came first into a community.
  • This assumes only one form of discrimination: the environmental bad moving in.
  • If people move into a contaminated community, it is discrimination too because those of a lower socioeconomic status are often forced into them.
  • NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) is the act of rich white folks opposing environmental bads.
  • NIMBY acts concentrate these into marginalized communities!

I can’t stress to you enough how difficult it is for me to provide an introduction of environmental justice, alongside the two debates, in such a short blog! There are so many components to environmental justice that warrant their own blogs! In the coming months I plan on discussing many of these with you because it is a highly important topic to discuss, as well as a crucial component to environmentalism. In the mean time, I encourage each and every one of you to think about something in a community that negatively impacts the environment (power plant, factory etc.) around you. Then, ask yourself, where are these located?

Until next time!

Adam

 

 

 

Looking to get involved? Environmentalism in Kentucky!

Looking to get involved? Environmentalism in Kentucky!

Hello, again everyone!

As many of you know, one component to Friends of Limestone’s mission is environmental awareness and education. As their environmental blogger, I like discussing environmental issues with you, such as conservation/preservation, environmental impacts of limestone extraction, sustainability, and even, more recently, recreation (have you visited any of those lakes yet?). This week I decided it might be interesting if we talked about other organizations, within Kentucky, that do environmental work. This way, if you are an environmental advocate, like myself, you can become more involved! Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of environmental organizations in Kentucky, so, I have decided to simplify it and include only three. Let’s begin!

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth

If you are from and/or live in Kentucky, you more than likely have heard about Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC)! This organization has been an established organization for 35 years in Kentucky. Their work focuses on grassroots building and empowering individuals to engage alongside their work. They currently have over 10,000 members and local chapters across the entire state! KFTC’s work focuses on four categories: coal and water, economic justice, new energy and transition, and voting rights. They advocate that social, environmental, and economic issues are related with one another, meaning we can’t talk about one area without talking about the others. However, let’s only talk about their environmental work for now.

  • They campaign and raise awareness of the impacts of coal mining in Eastern Kentucky.
  • They seek a just transition for Appalachia.
  • Lobbying for environmental policy is their game!
  • They campaign for moving Kentucky away from those nasty fossil fuels.
  • Sustainability initiatives of all types.
  • Join them!

Kentucky Environmental Foundation           

The Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF) was established in 1990. The organization was born out of opposition towards the disposal of chemical weapons right here in the commonwealth. They helped lead a grassroots movement focused on ensuring safe and environmentally responsible disposal methods. This campaign laid the foundations for the organization today! Today, they focus on a wide range of environmental research/education and getting folks together around environmental issues. So, what do they offer you?

  • An annual report detailing their work, as well as other highlights in Ky. Think of it as annual KEF 101.
  • A lot of information! They research and write countless reports on various issues.
  • A blog page discussing countless topics (they even have one discussing the chemicals in your furniture!).
  • A Mailing list so you can stay up to date on their work.
  • Check them out!

Sierra Club

You may be thinking “Wait, is he talking about the Sierra Club, the oldest national environmental organization founded by John Muir on May 28, 1892 that currently has over 2.4 million members? They are based out of Oakland, California!” If you are thinking this then you are correct…you also know a lot about the Sierra Club! I am impressed! Did you know the Sierra Club operates right here in Kentucky, as well? You didn’t?? They have a local chapter in Whitesburg, Ky (The Cumberland Chapter) and many other groups scattered across the state. So what can the Sierra Club do for you?

  • A lot of information! I mean a lot.
  • Membership and action
  • Community
  • Recreation
  • Many programs!
  • Go visit their page!

I know, I know, I didn’t even scratch the surface of environmental organizations in Kentucky. I hope this discussion has sparked your interest to join an organization and/or find some information that is useful for you. Is there an organization I missed that you believe should have been on here? Let me know!

Until next time,

Adam

Hosting a Fall Bourbon Tasting

Hosting a Fall Bourbon Tasting

Happy fall y’all!

This is my favorite month of the whole year.

Everything looks pretty, taste like pumpkin, & bourbon pairs well with apple cider!

This past weekend I was invited to my first at home blind bourbon tasting. I was pretty excited but really did not know what to expect since I myself am still slowly building my bourbon collection & finding new brands each day. I’ve also like most people only have done tastings when I know what I am getting so you go in with preconceived notions.

After Saturday night, I’m not motivated more than ever to be able to host my own blind tasting one day!

Here is the run down on what I learned, what to do, & how to keep non bourbon drinkers involved. Below you will see the set up.

When arriving there were snacks, beer, wine & bourbon and ginger ale cocktail to get your palette warmed up. Once the tasting started, everyone received a packet with professional reviews of each sample including a star rating, a tasting wheel diagram, and 5 different sheets to fill out the breakdown each bourbon.

We were told that the bourbons would be going up in proof, but other than that it was a guessing game! With each taste, you also got to grab a card from either deck (this comes into play later), and after sniffing, giving your initial thoughts you were able to taste and add a drop of limestone water if needed.  We then were able to guess if we thought we knew the bourbon, pretty sure not one person got any of them right, ha! We did this with each sample and we’re all amazed on how different the hug (burn in your throat), smell and taste varied throughout.

Between each sample, we were suggested to either eat a few nuts or chocolate to get the previous taste out. This also made a huge difference! After the fifth sample, we were told to look at our cards and see who had the best poker hand, that person won a bottle of something we tasted!

Here is the breakdown of what I got to try out…

  • Wathens – Westport Wine & Whiskey store batch
  • JTS Brown – bottled in bond
  • Joseph Magnus
  • Barrel Bourbon Batch 11
  • Old Forester 1920

Most of these you can find at a store or if you do a little digging! Like I said, I am still growing my collection so my labels would be more commonly known but still interesting to see if anyone can guess!

So if you are looking to do your own at home tasting, here’s what I suggest!
– A variety of mash bills, some corn some rye
–  Different ages
– Variety of prices
– for the set up, clear non labeled cups
– A tasting wheel, this helps people who don’t know really what they are looking for
– HAVE FUN!
Bourbon is supposed to be something you enjoy, make it interactive for all the guest, play the poker hand or be creative and come up with your own game!

Meet a Friend of Limestone, Dr. Alan Fryar

Meet a Friend of Limestone, Dr. Alan Fryar

It’s hard to be more of a friend to limestone than Dr. Alan Fryar, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Fryar’s specialty is understanding how water moves through karst, a special kind of landscape formed by the dissolution of limestone. He has studied it across the Bluegrass region. One study performed in Woodford County compared a spring under UK’s Animal Research Center with another in downtown Versailles. He has also researched sinkholes and “telling people where to and where not to build from an engineering perspective.”

This extensive understanding of karst makes him one of the Bluegrass’ top experts on the natural foundation on which our Commonwealth stands.

He explained that Kentucky’s limestone gives it a unique geographic difference. “The Bluegrass region is sort of a dome of limestone.” Dr. Fryar noted that this limestone had an immediate effect on how Kentucky grew and evolved.

“It has to do with historical settlements,” he noted. “People settled in areas where limestone was fundamental.” The Falls of the Ohio and the unique properties of central Kentucky’s soil are both thanks to limestone and attracted settlers.

Dr. Fryar’s interest and knowledge about karst and Kentucky’s history with limestone has led to a hobby of speaking to the landscape’s role in bourbon distilling. He’s been interviewed by several journalists and authors about the role of limestone in Kentucky’s unique industries.

He notes that “interesting coincidences” led settlers to the industries that remain the cornerstones of Kentucky’s cultural and economic identity.

“Bourbon is what people started distilling because the ingredients were available,” Fryar notes. The limestone water that came from natural springs across the Bluegrass was a key ingredient. It isn’t a coincidence that Royal Spring, Kentucky is where Elijah Craig began making whiskey in 1789.

It turned out that the high pH of limestone water is ideal for promoting fermentation, and it naturally filters out impurities like iron that alter the taste. This made water from the Bluegrass region the perfect ingredient for the earliest bourbon distillers.

While limestone water is not essential to bourbon production at this point, it has created a myth around the spirit. “I think that’s where the concept of terroir comes in, where it’s not just physical factors, but it’s also what the consumer perceives as the place, the origin of the spirit that gives it value,” he told Louisville Public Radio in 2013.

Even his students have gotten into the act of studying the relationship between geology and distilling. One of his UK graduates now works as an environmental compliance officer for a major name in Kentucky bourbon.

Dr. Fryar is helping the public understand the geological reasons behind bourbon’s rise in Kentucky. That makes him a great Kentuckian and a true Friend of Limestone.

My Favorite Lakes In (and around) Kentucky

My Favorite Lakes In (and around) Kentucky

Hello, all!

Last month my blog focused on the sustainable extraction of limestone. I wanted to make this month’s blog a little more fun and personal. So, we are going to talk about my favorite lakes in (and around) Kentucky. I know…I know…. it is officially fall. Why in the world am I blogging about lakes? Well, for one, you can always plan for next summer! Second, you can still enjoy our lakes in the fall and winter months. The cold weather should never stop you from enjoying what nature has to offer!

Cave Run:

Let’s start with one close to home for me. A little over 15 miles from my hometown of Morehead, Ky is Cave Run Lake. It is located in Rowan, Morgan, Menifee, and Bath County. I grew up visiting, hiking, swimming, camping, and fishing here and continue to visit every chance I get. What I love most about Cave Run is, even on extremely busy days, you can always find peace and quiet. What else does the lake have to offer?

  • Camp at Twin Knobs and Zilpo.
  • Put your boat in at 12 different locations.
  • Picnic all over.
  • Swim at two managed swimming beaches: The Beach (located in Twin Knobs) and. Or, swim wherever you like! I suggest Windy Bay and Billy Branch.
  • Try out your “lake legs” at Cave Run Marinas.
  • Hike!
  • Fish for Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Walleye, etc. Musky fishing is very popular here!
  • Eat at Pops BBQ
  • Attend the annual Storytelling Festival the 29th and 30th of September…you still have time to make it this year!

Norris Lake:

I spent a weekend at Norris Lake with a group of friends a couple years ago. Since then, I have always wanted to plan another trip. Norris Lake is in Tennessee; located a little over an hour from Pineville, Ky. I choose to include it in this blog because, in my experience, the lake is relatively unknown and it is close enough to Ky. I fell in love with Norris Lake immediately due to its seclusion and small size. So, why Norris Lake?

  • Over 20 Marinas!
  • Camp at Norris Dam State Park Campground
  • Water Skiing. I “attempted” it…. and failed.
  • Fish for Bass, Crappie, and Walleye.
  • Over 16 restaurants…many of which are at Marinas.
  • And obviously, swimming and hiking trails.

Cumberland Lake:

Over this past summer, I had to the opportunity to spend a couple days at Cumberland Lake, located in the southeastern part of the commonwealth. However, this was the only time I have been there. So, my knowledge of Cumberland Lake is limited. The short time I was there, I really enjoyed what the lake had to offer.

  • I remember thinking every person there, but me, was on a boat. There are boat rentals all over!
  • Our lodging was through a local cabin company. There are many…many more.
  • I suggest spending time on Cumberland River, as well.
  • Do I even need to say this? Lodging, food, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
  • If you’re a coffee drinker, try Baxter Coffee.

 

I think I see a pattern with my favorites. They are all relatively located on the eastern side of the state. Maybe I need to visit some lakes on the western side next year. Any suggestions?

What is your favorite lake? Let me know in the comments!

 

Best,

Adam