Things have been heating up this summer —literally with these hot days and between the bourbon industry and Washington D.C.
In case you have not heard, Trump’s trade war is hitting a little too close to home for a lot of us here in Kentucky.
Let me break it down for you…
Trump is slapping the European Union, Canada and Mexico with 25% tariffs on imported steel and 10% on aluminum. Now the EU is stating that they are going to put tariffs on U.S. imports which includes bourbon.
In recent years, bourbon hasn’t only been booming across the United States but also has taken off overseas. In 2010, National Bourbon Day reported that export sales were increasing rapidly and up 286% in France alone. From 2011 – 2015 premium bourbons rose 28.8% over in the EU. As you can see a lot of the bourbon boom over the past few decades have included the overseas sales.
Now that you are up to speed, let’s check out what that means for our bourbon state. “Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon, an industry that employs 17,500 in the state with an annual payroll of $800 million, according to the distillers association.”
With bourbon taking years to make and Europeans being still fairly new to the bourbon drinking club, distilleries are worried that with the increase of the price will significantly decrease the bourbon drinkers over time and once the bourbon that is now in the barrel is ready the demand will not be there. This means small craft distilleries might not make it or will have to cut their staff. The big players (think Jim Beam, Makers Mark, etc) should be able to make it through this but are concerned that there might be some layoffs in the future. Not only is this affecting the EU but also Canada and Mexico. Since bourbon has to be made in the United States, there is no option to consider moving the distilleries somewhere else (what a nightmare that would be!).
Only time will tell what is going to happen and the effects it will have here in Kentucky. In the meantime, I know I will continue to support the bourbon industry (aka just keep drinking) & hope for the best.
It’s not all Juleps & Lillies ..
The best week of the year is finally here! Whether you live directly in the heart of the Derby city or are celebrating from afar, you are probably gathering your mint, sugar, and bourbon in preparation of the first Saturday of May. Not everyone loves or appreciates a good Mint Julep so I’m going to give you three recipes that are also great for Kentucky Derby parties!
Cucumber Bourbon Cocktail:
I am a sucker for anything cucumber! Something about it is so refreshing and just screams summer!
A shot of a Rye whiskey (this is to even out the sweetness of the honey syrup)
A spoonful of honey syrup (1 cup honey, 1 cup water)
3 slices of cucumber
2 Mint leaves
Splash of club soda
In a mixing glass, muddle the cucumber, mint, lemon wedge, and spoonful of honey syrup. Add in the shot of bourbon, stir. Strain this into a glass full of ice. Top with club soda. Add a cucumber slice and mint leaf for garnish! (This is also something you could easily make a large batch of to serve in a pitcher – plus it looks pretty!)
Brown Derby Cocktail:
Prior to the Mint Julep craze there was another famous drink, the Brown Derby. I personally had never heard of this drink until last year and highly recommend it!
2 oz of Bourbon (any type would do – i do not recommend a super high rye though with the grapefruit!)
Half a Grapefruit squeezed
½ oz Honey
Lemon and/or Mint for garnish
This super easy drink consists of 2 steps. First, shake the bourbon, grapefruit, honey, and ice for about 20 seconds or until frosty. Strain and pour over a chilled glass.
This is retake on the Oak’s Lily! I wish I could say I enjoyed a good Lily during the Derby season but vodka and I aren’t friends. So here is a mix up for all of you non-bourbon lovers.
1 shot Vodka
Splash of Triple Sec
Fill a shaker with ice, half cup of cranberry juice, shot of vodka, a good squeeze of lime juice, and a splash of Triple Sec. Shake well for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass with fresh ice!
Hope you enjoy these & please drink responsibly! Happy Thurby, Oaks and most of all Derby!
Well guys, I am officially a bourbon snob! Not really, but that’s everyone probably thinks. Last month with some friends I took the first step in getting my Stave and Thief Certification! What does this mean? Do I get anything cool? Can anyone do it? I am going to answer all of these questions and tell you about my experience, what it means to me, and what I plan to do from here.
The Stave and Thief Society course was originally set up for hospitality businesses in 2014 to help educate their staff, as bourbon tourism was becoming all the rage. This way the staff had more than basic knowledge of bourbon and could help guide their customers on what brands, mash bills, etc. would be best for their palette. Now it is offered as a learning course for anyone that is interested. I was able to take the basic certification with the Whisky Chicks which included a 3 hour class, learning the history of bourbon, the difference between all whiskies, how to read a label, the Kentucky heritage, and what goes into building a flight. I highly suggest taking a class instead of doing the learn from home – it really helped me listen and learn to other bourbon lovers backgrounds, what they like, and how they got into it. The most fun thing about bourbon is who you share it with! In my class, there were all levels, one couple just started drinking bourbon within the past few months, some others were brought up by their dads being into bourbon and knowing the history like the back of their hand, and others (like me) knew a good amount but still could learn a lot more!
After all the learning, then it was time to drink! We were able to try to classics such as Basil Hayden & Larceny and then I was able to try some bourbon from New York and Indiana, which is very different and interesting to try. (Kentucky is still my favorite though!) From there we learned to make our flights, what goes into the process, and how to line them up. I can’t tell you all the secrets but it is very interesting once you start looking at different restaurant flight offers on their thought process behind it.
Test time! Once you finish the class you have to take an online test of multiple choice questions and create your own flight. Now the waiting game, it took about a week for me to get my test results back and say that I passed!! My next step is to take the executive course, which is an all day training including learning the different smells, taste, and more in depth in the bourbon making process. If you are interested in bourbon and taking your hobby / passion to the next level, I highly recommend this course. Stay tuned for my next step in bourbon love!
New Year – New Bourbon Tour
Hey there bourbon lovers!! I hope everyone celebrated Valentine’s Day with a little pour of their favorite drink and some roses, four roses perhaps! Speaking of Four Roses, the Friends of Limestone squad kicked off the new year with a tour down in Lawrenceburg, KY learning all about the 10 different recipes that make up Four Roses. Currently their distillery is being remodeled and hopes to open up later this spring, it was still a good time but I will definitely be making the trip back once it is back in production!
Since the distillery is shut down, we start off the tour with a video on where Four Roses started and what makes it unique compared to all the other bourbons. Four Roses has been around for a long time, 1860 in fact! Paul Jones who was the original owner bought the current property in 1910 and story has it that he named this wonderful bourbon after a girl who showed up to a dance wearing a corsage with four red roses. Four Roses was also one of six distilleries that were allowed to sell during the prohibition for medical reasons, you can still see some of the medical bottles that were used. Pretty neat! Four Roses has been through a lot of rise & fall throughout the past century and currently it is rising back to the top!
That’s enough history for now, let’s talk about what goes into the bottle! Like mentioned earlier there are 10 unique recipes put together by hand from their Master Distiller, Brent Elliott. The yellow label includes all 10 recipes, aged for 6.5 years and finished at 80 proof. The small batch is pulled from 20 barrels and finished at 90 proof. Then the single barrel has only 1 recipe and 1 barrel finished at 100 proof after aging for 7.5 years. All barrels are checked at 5.5 years then marked on if they will be a yellow label or move on to a small batch or single barrel. Here is the breakdown of the 10 recipes .. it starts out with two different mash bills, mash bill E is made up of 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley. Mash bill B is 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley. From there, they pick from 5 different yeast strains V for a light fruity flavor, K for a spice, O for a rich fruit, Q for a floral, and F for herbal notes. Below is a list of the 10 different recipes for you to use when you are buying your next Four Roses bottle to know what you are getting out of that bottle. O stands for that it was made in Lawrenceburg, E or B for the mash bill, S for straight whisky, and V/K/O/Q/F for your yeast strain.
So if you have ever bought a bottle or drink of Four Roses and didn’t know if it was for you, try it out again! Maybe you just weren’t a fan of that yeast. Or you can be a little crazy like me and collect all 10 recipes – did someone say bourbon tasting?!