Spring in central Kentucky can only mean one thing- Derby is right around the corner! The Kentucky Derby is an event that allows our state to shine to the world. The day not only spotlights horseracing but Kentuckians love of tradition and hospitality.
I was invited to a Derby bottle signing event the other day at Woodford Reserve Distillery. Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris was on hand to sign the 2019 Derby commemorative bottle, as well as mixing and mingling with the crowd. Keith Anderson, the Kentucky Derby bottle artist, was also there to sign his lovely artwork.
There was a great mix of people that attended the event. Whether you were a bourbon enthusiast or Bourbon Trail expert, it was a time to celebrate Kentucky’s bourbon tradition!
The signing event was held in the visitors center. The large, open room is very welcoming with overstuffed couches and big comfortable chairs. Interactive video displays allow visitors to learn not only about the history of the distillery but the distilling process. Framed photos along the walls illustrate the rich history of the bourbon making process. The modern fireplace and the lighted bourbon wall adds a cool touch to the room. It’s definitely a place that you want to hang out and relax.
If you’ve never been to Woodford Reserve you really should take time to visit. They have an interesting and educational tour and the setting is beyond beautiful. Sitting on the patio with your cocktail brings you back to the days of the old south.
The patio overlooks the rolling countryside. Most distilleries located in Kentucky are built by a creek or a body of water. The water source is used in the bourbon process. Sitting in the rocking chairs on the extensive patio with a Woodford Reserve cocktail is definitely a great way to spend an afternoon!
Several traditional Kentucky hor d’ oeuvres were passed on silver trays during the event, including mini hot browns, beef tenderloin on biscuits and mint julep bourbon balls for a sweet treat. But the star of the show was, of course, Woodford Reserve bourbon! And you can’t have a Derby celebration without a traditional mint julep!
During the event, Woodford Reserve served two cocktails. Of course, the signature cocktail was the Mint Julep. The twist on the Woodford Reserve julep cocktail was a special simple syrup mixture. The signature syrup, which is for sale in the gift shop, uses Demerara sugar and fresh spearmint to add a unique twist to the cocktail.
After a quick internet search, I found out what made the syrup so interesting. Demerara sugar, according to Care2 website, “is a light brown, partially refined sugar produced from the first crystallization during processing cane juice into sugar crystals. Unlike brown sugar, which has the added molasses flavor, Demerara has a natural caramel-like flavor”. It really made a great julep!
The other cocktail that was served at the event was called the Woodford Reserve Spire. The Spire was a lighter, fruitier drink that would be a perfect summertime cocktail. I can’t wait to have one of these this summer on the patio!
If you haven’t visited Woodford Reserve you should put it on your list of things to do. Until next week! xoxo
Woodford Reserve Mint Julep
2 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/2 oz. Woodford Reserve Mint Syrup
3 fresh Mint Leaves
Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass. To the same glass, add mint syrup, bourbon, and crushed ice. Stir. Garnish with more ice and fresh mint.
Woodford Reserve Spire
11/2 oz. Woodford Reserve
2 oz. Lemonade
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
Mix all ingredients and serve over ice and garnish with a lemon twist.