In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple weeks and actively shun all forms of social media, I’m here to tell you that the Bourbon Classic is coming up. You may have seen the link to it on our home page. Most sites are posting the official press release of events (which I will put at the bottom), but we wanted to give you a little bit more. To be open, we have been given media passes to the event, but we have no monetary sponsorship or other interests in the event. I paid my own money to go last year and thought it was worth every penny.
What the heck is it?
Basically, it is a two day event in Louisville that creates a bourbon Shangri-La for all attendees. Friday night there is a cocktail and small plate competition. Bartenders and chefs from Kentucky restaurants are paired with a distillery to create cocktail and small plate combinations in both contemporary and traditional styles. What does this mean for you? It means you get to try 18, yes 18, cocktails and small plates from some of the area’s best chefs and cocktail barons. Don’t worry, they aren’t full cocktails, and I don’t think anyone died last year. The small plates aren’t just single bite amuse-bouche either, they’re relatively substantial portions of intricate and delicious dishes. Here’s an example of one combo from last year for reference:
That one was an insanely good chicken and waffles with a delicious old fashioned. In case the small plates and cocktails don’t fill you up, there were still multiple large buffet tables filled with all sorts of gourmet snacks that you can use in your desperate attempt to taste all 18 cocktails and remember it (You don’t have to drink the whole thing. Drink responsibly and for heaven’s sake get a cab or hotel room in walking distance).
In case Friday night wasn’t enough to entice you, by dragging yourself out of bed Saturday afternoon you’re rewarded with a series of ‘classes’ you can choose from lead by some big names in the business. This year they’ve added a bourbon and country ham pairing seminar as well as sessions on barrels and bourbon glassware. These all include some kind of bourbon to sip as you get your learn on. In between the two classes, you get to hear from a panel of nearly everyone who’s anyone in the bourbon world as they talk about trends, tell stories, and generally needle one another.
Finally comes the Bourbon Experience Saturday night. Food is provided by some of the chefs featured in Friday night’s competition, as well as large gourmet buffets. Then there’s the bourbon. Oh my, the bourbon. Every participating distillery has a table where they sample their wares. Most of which bring some of their good stuff. Michter’s 10 year was a memorable one from last year. And at these tables is generally the master distiller and/or very knowledgeable marketing staff. You can glide from tasting to tasting and get lost in an avalanche of delicious barrel aged goodness. There’s live music and a festive atmosphere so it makes for a most entertaining night out.
Now, if you think I’m playing this up and using flowery language to entice you to go, you’re right. If you’re a fan of bourbon, I can think of no weekend more perfect to celebrate your love of the stuff with like minded folks. It’s like the Bourbon Trail just plopped down in the middle of Louisville for a weekend and brought amazing food with it. If you want even more out of the weekend, you can spring for the VIP tickets. These will get you access to a private bar and buffet area sponsored by Michter’s and Buffalo Trace. It also includes a completely open bar with products from the sponsoring distillery. I may have drank entirely too much Michter’s 10 year and Stagg Jr. last year, as they flowed like water.
If you decide to come, let us know as we’d love to meet up. We will also be participating in the Media Camp before the event and should be posting frequent updates and interesting facts we discover. The official opening of the Camp is open to the public and if you’re interested, check it out here. It includes a large tasting, Pappy Van Winkle included.
Cheers and we hope to see you there!
Here’s the official event press release: