Skip and I spent the last couple of weeks in Kentucky and Tennessee—it was hot and familiar. The first week of our trip also happened to include Skip’s birthday, which was the first full day we were in Kentucky; so, what better way to celebrate his birthday than with whiskey? We started the day with a stop at Waffle House for a birthday breakfast then, headed to the Jim Beam Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky. We learned a little history about Jim Beam; it all started in the late 1700s when a German immigrant, Jacob Beam, made and sold corn whiskey. Centuries later, we have bourbon and Jim Beam makes an insane volume of product—they are the largest bourbon maker in the world. We also popped over to Willett, small by Kentucky standards but high-volume in comparison to Letterpress. We topped off Skip’s birthday day with a fabulous dinner at Decca in Louisville with some of the best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever had, followed by cocktails at The Silver Dollar. I’d say that Skip had a pretty good birthday!
The rest of the week included visits to Wild Turkey, Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, and Kentucky Peerless Distilling, along with a quick stop at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Kentucky. All of the tours were entertaining and the guides were very friendly, we learned a few things and tasted a lot of whiskey! We even managed to squeeze in a day touring a couple of distilleries with some friends who joined us for the day from Cincinnati.
Then, we headed to Nashville for more delicious food (The 404 Kitchen was amazing!), a little music history, and time with friends and their adorable pups. Oh, and we discovered the delicious concoction that is the Crema coffee soda…and now we’re trying to recreate that at home, but more on that in a future post! Honestly, we didn’t have nearly enough time in Nashville, just enough to make us want to go back.
Our trip wrapped up in Pigeon Forge, where my family joined us to watch my sister get married and to celebrate the happy day. The wedding was in a field in Cades Cove in the National Park, followed by a luncheon at place not far from the park. It was a lovely ceremony! Our trip wrapped up with a day at Dollywood–Skip was so excited about it, and, admittedly, I was, too, once we arrived. We rode every water ride, one of them we rode THREE TIMES, seriously. We were soaking wet, our shoes were squishy, and we were laughing like kids; it was perfect.
Since we just returned from the land of bourbon and rye, and I love both of those things, I ended last week with a classic cocktail where whiskey is the star…the Old Fashioned. This is as simple as they come—whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water. We usually use bourbon or rye, with a preference for the latter. You can, of course, use any whiskey you fancy.
The Old Fashioned (aka, Whiskey Cocktail)
Tools & Extras: Mixing glass, bar spoon, old fashioned glass
2 oz. Whiskey
1/4 oz. Rich Simple Syrup (or 1/2 oz. Standard Simple)*
Dash of Angostura bitters (or any other bitters you fancy)
- Combine everything but the orange peel in a mixing glass; fill with ice.
- Stir with a bar spoon for about 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass, with lots of ice or, preferably, a large ice ball or cube, and garnish with an orange peel.
*Notes: A rich simple is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.