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Maker's Mark Watered Down Bourbon Becomes Hot Commodity and More News

Maker's Mark Watered Down Bourbon Becomes Hot Commodity and More News

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In today's Media Mix, a look at Ricardo Zarate's Paiche, plus a winery ages wine in the ocean

The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.

Ricardo Zarate's New LA Restaurant: Here's a first look at the chef's upcoming restaurant, Paiche. [LA Times]

Maker's Mark Bourbon Mistake: Sure, the community reacted poorly when the bourbon brand announced they would water down their spirit (something the brand quickly renounced), but it turns out that the few bottles of watered down Maker's Mark released are now collectibles. [MSN]

Ocean-Aged Wine: A winery is planning on sinking bottles of cabernet sauvignon in steel mesh cases into the ocean, aging them to give them a unique flavor. [AP]

Kansas City Restaurant Explosion: An update on the sad news of the gas explosion at a Kansas City, Mo., restuarant: Police have confirmed that they have recovered a body from the wreckage. [NBC News]

Coffee, Tea Might Not Help Dementia: A new study refutes all those other studies claiming antioxidants in coffee and tea can help prevent strokes and dementia. [CNN]

The Complete Bourbon Guide

Bourbon is America’s whiskey. By definition, bourbon is at least 51 percent corn, produced in the United States, and aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least two years. It doesn’t, contrary to popular belief, have to be made in Kentucky.

When it comes to whiskey, it commonly comes down to bourbon vs rye or bourbon vs Scotch. There’s plenty of good bourbon out there for competitions like that, but it’s not all about ratings. Some of the best brands like Jim Beam, Four Roses, and Maker’s Mark taste just as good neat as they do in classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Mint Julep, and Old Fashioned. Read VinePair’s full bourbon guide for everything you need to know about America’s whiskey.

What Is Bourbon?

Bourbon is a type of whiskey, made with a mixture of grains (mash bill) containing at least 51 percent corn. Bourbon can be produced anywhere in the United States, not just Kentucky as is widely believed. The liquor must be distilled to no stronger than 160 proof, and the distillate must then enter charred new oak barrels at 125 proof or less.Bottles can be labeled “Straight Bourbon Whiskey” when they have aged in charred new oak for at least two years.

Bourbon vs Whiskey

Bourbon and whiskey are often compared directly against each other. In fact, bourbon is a type of whiskey, much like Cabernet Sauvignon is a type of wine or IPA is a type of beer. While bourbon is legally bound to be made using a majority corn in the mash bill, whiskey can be distilled from wheat, rye, barley, or corn. Whiskey’s distillation proof must be no more than 190 proof (30 proof points higher than bourbon) and its origin can be anywhere in the world.

How to Drink Bourbon

With any spirit, there’s an opportunity to be as simple or creative as you like. Imbibing bourbon is no exception. To let the spirit’s natural characteristics shine, serve it neat, dilute with a small amount of water, or pour over ice (à la on the rocks). Explore its diversity in classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Mint Julep, and Old Fashioned. Bourbon’s versatility also extends to the kitchen. Experiment with bourbon spiked chili, or indulge your sweet tooth by creating a bourbon syrup for weekend waffles or salted-bourbon caramel sauce for ice cream and peach pie.

How Kentucky Became Bourbon Country

The Bluegrass State and bourbon are practically synonymous, their twinned history taking in the origins of whiskey in America and the beginning of the country.

Noah Rothbaum

Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Get off a plane at Louisville’s airport and one of the first things you see is a giant ad for Maker’s Mark Bourbon and a Woodford Reserve themed bar.

Is it any wonder why most people think that Kentucky and bourbon are synonymous?

While the whiskey can technically be made anywhere inside American borders, for decades the Bluegrass State has effectively been able to stake claim on the liquor and box out the rest of the country.

Sure, there’s now some competition with distilleries from New York to California making the spirit, but for all intents and purposes the Kentucky name still carries a huge amount of weight with drinkers and bartenders on a bottle label.

So with all eyes on Louisville today for the 142 nd running of the Kentucky Derby, it’s the perfect time to look at how the state managed to become the bourbon capitol of the world.

In order to start our investigation, we need to travel back to the origins of whiskey in America and the beginning of the country.

During the early 1800s there were really just a few main spirits available to drink, including gin, rum, brandy and, of course, bourbon.

While these terms refer to specific types of liquor today, according to historian Mike Veach, the author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, at that time they were used to refer to wider categories.

In fact, “a lot of early things called bourbon were actually rye whiskey or maybe even wheat whiskey,” Veach says.

That, of course, begs one of the great drinking questions of all time: Where does the name bourbon come from? One theory is that it comes from the French Bourbon Kings. (The likelihood of that being true is probably pretty slim.)

Some claim that it comes from Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The idea is that people were looking for the same drink that they enjoyed while down in NOLA. (It’s plausible given that barrels and barrels of whiskey were floated down the Mississippi River, and New Orleans has always boasted an impressive bar scene.)

The final (and most vocal) school of thought is that the whiskey’s name comes from Bourbon County, Kentucky, where bourbon was supposed to have been originally distilled. (The jury is still out on the veracity of this widely circulated claim.)

But what we do know is that, according to Veach, the first reference to bourbon in print was published in an 1821 advertisement that ran in a newspaper in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

Kentucky certainly has the right combination of key attributes to produce excellent whiskey: a plentiful supply of soft water, fertile fields for growing corn and a hot summer and cold winter, which aids the barrel aging process.

As a result, “Kentucky built a big reputation on making the finest bourbon,” says Veach. “The reputation starts just before the Civil War and takes off in the 1870s.”

While plenty of other states, including Indiana and Illinois, boasted large and impressive bourbon distilleries they weren’t able to create the same kind of reputation—so much so that some brands would actually buy whisky in Illinois and rectify it or blend it in Kentucky so they could put Kentucky on the label.

“By 1840s old Bourbon County whiskey was very prized, but you didn’t know where it was from,” Robert Moss, author of the recently published Southern Spirits: Four Hundred Years of Drinking in the American South, with Recipes.

Why bother? Even drinkers then, according to Moss, were willing to pay 20 to 30 percent more for Kentucky bourbon. (Monongahela rye from Pennsylvania also enjoyed that same name recognition and premium pricing.)

Ironically, even Prohibition helped Kentucky establish itself as the center of the bourbon world.

Four of the six companies that were licensed to bottle medicinal whiskey during the famously dry period were based in Kentucky and the two others had facilities in the state. As a result, drinkers continued to associate the area with the whiskey, while distillers in other states were out of business.

Even later in the 1970s and ‘80s—when whiskey sales started to slide and Americans began drinking craft beers, domestic wines, and imported vodka—the distilleries in Kentucky continued to produce bourbon hoping that one day drinkers would rediscover their products. With the rebirth of the cocktail and whiskey, Kentucky has once again taken its place as the king of the bourbon world. Now, with increasing competition, it’s just a question of whether they can hold on to that title.

Our Least Favorites

Trickling Springs FarmFriend Egg Nog
This Pennsylvania dairy loudly touts everything it has on its glass labeled bottle (grass fed cows! no carrageenan!). Admirable, yet the tasters couldn’t get over its odd meaty note on the nose, which we eventually homed in on as being “kosher hot dog water from a New York street cart.” The palate actually isn’t all that bad, however. It’s buttery and rich, but just can’t overcome the Hebrew National punch to the face.

Evan Williams Egg Nog
The only two alcoholic nogs in our tasting were arguably the two worst. This one from the stellar Kentucky distillery was a total misfire. A strangely cheesy nose, akin to the powdered stuff that comes with Kraft Mac & Cheese, leads into a body with intense rubbing alcohol notes if the venerable Evan Williams Bourbon (a winner in our previous bourbon tasting) was actually used, it doesn’t show—this 15 percent ABV product tasted like it used unaged spirits.

Old New England Classic Egg Nog
The retro label for this Massachusetts-based spirit company’s 15 percent ABV nog claims that it is made with Kentucky straight bourbon, rum, brandy and blended whiskey. Off-putting circus peanut notes on the nose at least masks the intense booziness that greets you upon the first sip. The finish is cloying and synthetic, tasting like those hard sticks of pink gum that came in old packs of Topps baseball cards.

The Man With the Golden Stingray

The Twilight Lounge – August 6, 2012

Ok, so I don’t really have a golden stingray – at least not the kind with four wheels and a bowtie on the grille. But I did recently find an interesting cocktail by that name.

I’ve recently decided to slim down the number of different liqueurs that I have at the Twilight Lounge (33 or 34 at last count) and have been using up the items I’m not planning on stocking anymore. One of those items is my bottle of Galliano. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I have several other anisette flavored liqueurs, and outside of Harvey Wallbangers, I haven’t found much to do with it (ok, so there are two cocktails I made with it during my 365 day journey, the Powerhouse and the Salt Lake Special).

So, I dialed up the CoctailDB and searched under Galliano and found the Golden Stingray. As has happened before, my initial reaction was no way this tastes good, but I figured what the heck and gave it a whirl.

Golden Stingray

Fill a rocks glass with ice and add with the bourbon and Galliano. Top with soda water, stir and serve.

I have to confess that the recipe I found on CocktailDB did not include the soda. I added that to cut the sweetness of the Galliano and make it a more refreshing summer sipper (it has been awfully hot this summer!). The primary flavor is the sweet anisette of the Galliano, but it is tempered by the bourbon (I’ve used both Maker’s Mark and Four Roses Small Batch).

A pleasant enough drink, but not enough to get me to continue stocking Galliano at the Twilight Lounge. So if you want one, you better get here soon!

Posts Tagged Bill Samuels

Loretto, KY (January 12, 2011) – In April of this year, Bill Samuels, Jr., will retire as President of Maker’s Mark®,the world’s oldest operating bourbon distillery and a National Historic Landmark, and transition into the new role of Chairman Emeritus for the iconic global brand. His son, Rob Samuels, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer in October 2010, will lead the Maker’s Mark organization going forward. The announcement was made by Matthew J. Shattock, President & Chief Executive Officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.

“Bill Samuels reinvented the way bourbon was marketed at a time when the industry needed it most,” Shattock said. “He forever changed the bourbon industry while building Maker’s Mark into a global brand and staying true to his family’s commitment to handcraftsmanship. We’re pleased that Rob Samuels, as Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer, will follow in his footsteps, as Bill travels throughout the world on behalf of the brand as Chairman Emeritus.”

Bill Samuels, Jr., has been at the helm of Maker’s Mark for 35 years, and has overseen the growth of the brand from a Kentucky “cult” bourbon into a national icon that gave rise to the modern era of bourbon. Mr. Samuels is the son of Maker’s Mark Founder, Bill Samuels, Sr., and the seventh generation to continue the family’s tradition of bourbon making first started in Kentucky by Robert Samuels in 1784. Since taking over the business from his father in 1975, Maker’s Mark has experienced double-digit growth year-on-year, and the Maker’s Mark Distillery has become one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually from the world over.

“A lot has changed in the spirits industry since we first started selling Maker’s Mark, but I’ve made sure all along that the way we craft our bourbon has remained the same as when we first started,” said Mr. Samuels. “Our heritage and craft is what makes us unique and ensures our quality.”

Samuels continued, “Now that we’ve achieved the milestone of one million cases as a brand, it’s the perfect time to transition the day-to-day running of Maker’s Mark to Rob, who will carry on our family traditions. I look forward to taking on this new role and meeting with our brand fans in markets around the world.”

Bill Samuels, Jr., will officially step down as President and transition to Chairman Emeritus on Friday, April 15 th during the Maker’s Mark Mile, a Grade-1 thoroughbred horserace held at the historic Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Ky., which will be the 15 th and last year for the running of the race. A private event will be held the following day at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Ky., for brand Ambassadors and invited guests to celebrate the retirement of the venerable bourbon baron.

Together with his father, Bill Samuels, Jr., created the premium bourbon category. A true pioneer and innovator, Mr. Samuels has forged a rich and enduring legacy, without ever intending to do so. From the brand’s tongue-in-cheek advertising campaigns, to the industry pioneering brand Ambassador Program and the engaging Distillery visitor experience, Mr. Samuels helped transform Maker’s Mark from a bourbon into a lifestyle. Last summer, Mr. Samuels introduced what may well become one of his most defining contributions, Maker’s 46, the highly acclaimed first new bourbon from the Maker’s Mark Distillery in 52 years.

Growing up the son of a bourbon maker, and with Jim Beam as his godfather, everyone expected Mr. Samuels to work in the whisky industry. Always the contrarian and, to the surprise and consternation of many friends and family, Mr. Samuels decided to pursue other interests. He studied rocket science at the Case Institute of Technology and UC Berkley, and then went on to Vanderbilt University, where he earned a law degree before eventually deciding to join the family business and take on the marketing and promotion of what was then an emerging local “cult” bourbon.

Said Mr. Samuels, “My career has been an incredible journey and, over the last 43 years, I have always stayed true to my fundamental belief that the most successful way to build Maker’s Mark is one brand fan at a time and to let brand fans become our most influential advocates. I have no doubt that the future of Maker’s Mark is in the best of hands with Rob at the helm as COO and that the best is yet to come as the brand’s popularity continues to swell both in the U.S. and internationally.”

Maker’s Mark Introduces First New Bourbon in 52 Years

/>Loretto, KY (June 30, 2010) – Maker’s Mark is once again bringing innovation to the Bourbon industry with today’s release of the company’s first ever new Bourbon, Maker’s 46. In celebration, Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels, Jr., continuing in the tradition his father began, hand-dipped and sealed ceremonial bottles of Maker’s 46 ™ Bourbon in the brand’s iconic red wax with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery.

Maker’s 46 is a handcrafted, full-bodied Bourbon whisky that starts off as original Maker’s Mark. The transformation into Maker’s 46 begins when fully matured Maker’s Mark is emptied from the barrel so that 10 seared French oak staves can be affixed to the sides. Then, Maker’s Mark, which is made with red winter wheat for a smooth taste, is put back in the barrel and aged for several more months, allowing the natural caramel, vanilla and spice flavors released by the staves to enhance the end product.

“This new expression is a breakthrough in the contemporary craft of bourbon,” stated Mr. Samuels. “We have used innovative techniques never before employed by the Bourbon industry to create a full-bodied bourbon without any bitterness.”

The creation of Maker’s 46 was a collaborative effort between Bill Samuels, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Kevin Smith, and Barrel Maker and

“Wood Chef” Brad Boswell of Independent Stave Company. Samuels and Smith started with a clear idea of how they wanted the new bourbon to taste – full-bodied without any bitterness – and turned to Boswell to help develop the recipe. They knew this would be no easy task, if it could be done at all.

After much experimenting, Boswell decided to try a searing technique on French oak staves that had never been used before to make bourbon. He delicately seared the staves just enough so that the caramel and vanilla flavors from it were released and only a small amount of tannin, which adds bitterness, came out of the wood. The name Maker’s 46 comes from the profile number Boswell assigned to this winning “wood recipe.”

Samuels notes, “Over the years whisky consumers’ palates have moved toward bigger and bolder flavors. So, I wanted to craft a contemporary interpretation of Maker’s Mark that matched with current tastes, but didn’t want to mess up what my father had created or disenfranchise any of our loyal fans.”

Kevin Smith adds, “Maker’s 46 is spicier and has a more intense aroma than Maker’s Mark. It has rich caramel and vanilla flavors, and even at 94 proof it’s soft enough to hold on the tongue. You can drink it on its own or mix it into a cocktail.”

Initial reactions from Bourbon experts to Maker’s 46 have been positive. Malt Advocate Publisher and Editor, John Hansell has noted in his review, “The French Oak staves in ‘46’ add firm, complex, dry spices (lead by warming cinnamon, followed by nutmeg and clove)…which dovetails well with Maker’s trademark layered sweetness.”

Additionally, Charles K. Cowdery, Editor-in-Chief of The Bourbon Country Reader – a publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey – says, “Compared to standard Maker’s, there is less citrus and more fudge. It is very, very good.” Jose Garces, Owner of Garces Restaurant Group and Food Network Iron Chef, has also reviewed the Bourbon and states, “… I really enjoy its fruit-forward notes with flavors of vanilla and caramel lingering from the aging process. The finish is extraordinarily smooth and the flavor pleasantly stayed on my palate.”

Only 25,000 cases of Maker’s 46 will be shipped by the distillery this year, making bottles of this first batch a rare commodity. The new Kentucky straight bourbon whisky will be sold in 750ml bottles and retail for approximately $10 more than Maker’s Mark (prices vary state to state).

For more information about Maker’s 46 and Maker’s Mark, go to (must be 21 years of age or older), or visit Maker’s Mark on Twitter and Facebook.

New Maker’s Mark Expression Coming Soon

The rumors about the new Maker’s Mark bourbon have been flying for some time now. Bill Samuels has finally addressed the matter in the latest news to Ambassadors and Kevin Smith posted proof info and tasting notes to the Maker’s Mark Blog. See the letter and posts below:

Some of you may have heard the rumor that Kevin Smith, Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark, has been working on a secret project here at the distillery. You heard right.

After years of prodding from Maker’s Mark brand friends, bourbon lovers, taste-makers and, yes, even you Ambassadors, Kevin and I looked at each other and said, “Well, let’s see what we can do.”

Make no mistake, we weren’t interested in finding which barrel held at the right light on the proper floor of a special warehouse could be packaged and shipped to stores nationwide. What we were trying to do was go after a specific taste. We had very narrow parameters and went after this new idea the way my dad did when he burned the old Samuels’ family mash bill and created Maker’s Mark.

Almost a year and a half later, Kevin comes back to me and says he thinks he’s done it.

Boy, has he ever. Totally amazing new stuff. I mean wow. WOW!

The first step is to get blow back from the bourbon opinionaters, journalists, spirits bloggers, whisky club organizers and, yes, from our Ambassadors. Think of this as either a gut-check or, more bluntly as a disaster check.

Here’s where our taste-making Ambassadors come in. You have already received your invite to Thoroughbreds and Redheads weekend, April 9 and 10. I want you to know that we’ll be sampling our new product at the distillery for the first time on April 10, Ambassador Homecoming Day. Even if you decide not to spend the whole weekend with us, we hope you’ll join us for this momentous occasion.

I am very excited to let everyone in on a little secret. We have been experimenting with a few things down here at the distillery, and we think we have stumbled onto a bourbon expression worth telling you about. The flavor is incredible. It has an intense, sweet, oaky toast aroma and, at 94 proof, it is unbelievably smooth.

Our new baby is a real revolution, with no alcohol nose or taste, and the big, bold flavors come through without a bitter aftertaste. Imagine oak-sweet vanillas, creamy flavors and a long and luscious texture that coats the front of the tongue. Let me say it this way: the taste is pleasingly intense!

Brad Boswell, President of Independent Stave, and I collaborated to create a process that would marry the flavor of Maker’s Mark with the unique flavors found when oak is heated sizzling hot, blistering the wood on the outside, while locking in the flavor in the middle.

It’s really something folks. I’ve been working on this for a year and a half, and it absolutely defies description. I guess that’s why we’re having such a hard time figuring out what to call it.

I’ll let Bill and the marketing “gurus” work that out.

Kevin D. Smith, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Getting New Look

Posted by Bourbon Buzz in Buzz, News | Comments off


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail today introduced a new logo, brochure, souvenir passport and commemorative t-shirt to mark its 10th anniversary and to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week.

“This is a significant milestone for one of Kentucky’s most popular tourism attractions,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “It’s also a perfect opportunity to introduce a fresh new look that reflects the growing bourbon revolution.”

The KDA formed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999 after witnessing tourism and marketing opportunities in California’s wine country and Scotland’s whisky trails. Since then, millions of visitors from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Kentucky, the birthplace of bourbon.

The Trail features eight historic distilleries nestled among the beautiful Bluegrass scenery: Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Tom Moore, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.

All participated in the unveiling of the new Kentucky Bourbon Trail “brand” at the Bluegrass Hospitality Association’s annual tourism forum in Lexington. “The new image combines our proud history of crafting fine bourbon with a contemporary look and feel,” Gregory said.

Rich brown and amber colors highlight the new logo, along with a sleek modern script over a bourbon barrel. The new brochure showcases each distillery and provides details about their unique tours.

Visitors also will now have a new keepsake – a souvenir passport. Guests who collect stamps at all distilleries can redeem the passport for a free Kentucky Bourbon Trail t-shirt. This year’s shirt commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Trail.

Gregory also encouraged bourbon enthusiasts to visit the Trail’s new Facebook page. A revised web site ( and Twitter page are in the works and should be launched soon, Gregory said.

“Just like great bourbon, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail gets better with age,” Gregory said. “And just like the millions of barrels sleeping at our legendary distilleries, the best is yet to come. It’s the experience of a lifetime, 200 years in the making.”

For more information, contact Eric Gregory at (502) 875-9351 or (859) 771-1050

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Organizers of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail will unveil a new logo to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

The tour of eight distilleries allows visitors to get a glimpse into production from start to finish.

The new logo will be revealed Wednesday morning at the Lexington Convention Center during the Bluegrass Hospitality Association Tourism Forum. Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels will be the keynote speaker.

Along with Maker’s Mark, other bourbon makers featured on the trail are Buffalo Trace at Frankfort, Wild Turkey and Four Roses near Lawrenceburg, Heaven Hill and Tom Moore at Bardstown, Jim Beam at Clermont and Woodford Reserve near Versailles.

Where to Stay

Gratz Park Inn Located in Lexington’s historic district, what was once the oldest medical clinic west of the Alle­ghenies has been converted into a charming hotel with thirty-eight rooms and six suites. It’s home to one of the area’s best restaurants, Jonathan (see next page). 120 West Second Street, Lexington. Rooms: from $169. Contact: 800-752-4166,

Green Mansion Bed & Breakfast This elegant brick manor specializes in housing golfers who are in town to play Lafayette. With only a few restaurants close by, innkeeper Mary Huffman tenders an alternative: She’ll gladly fire up the grill out back as long as you supply the provisions. 55 Jennie Green Road, Falls of Rough. Rooms: from $69. Contact: 270-879-3486,

Old Talbott Tavern The five rooms at this eighteenth-century stone inn offer a combination of antique furniture and modern convenience. One caveat: The live music in the Bourbon Bar downstairs on Thursday through Saturday nights can be rather loud. 107 West Stephen Foster Avenue, Bardstown. Rooms: from $70. Contact: 800-482-8376,

Stand Out At Your Super Bowl Party With Fantabulous Food

Chef Lee Anne Wong (pictured) is the culinary director and editor of the Maker’s Mark Recipe Compendium, culinary producer for the “Top Chef” series for five years, and winner of Iron Chef America. She also just re-opened restaurant Vynl in Manhattan. Wong took a break from her media empire to give tips on how to host the best Super Bowl party in town.

“I think the most important thing for people, regardless of what they will be cooking, is to be prepared and do their meats ahead of time. Get your shopping done on Thursday or Friday. Saturday do your cooking and prepping, so Sunday you’re just heating it up. That’s one of the key things: not stressing yourself out on game day.”

Using Bourbon in the kitchen is a huge trend in the kitchen right now, so here are two of her Bourbon-infused recipes:

Shrimp Cocktail with Maker’s Mark Cocktail Sauce:

1 recipe Maker’s Mark® cocktail sauce (recipe below)

24 pc. shrimp in shell, u-10

1-1/2 cups dry white wine, such as Riesling

10 pieces whole black peppercorn

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin 1/4″

1 stalk celery, sliced thin crosswise 1/8″

1 whole leek, washed and sliced thin, white and green

3 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/8″ thick rounds

  1. Leaving the shell and tail intact, slice down the back of the shrimp, deveining the shrimp.
  2. Bring the water, white wine, lemon juice, bay leaves, peppercorns, onion, celery, leek, carrots and kosher salt to a boil in a large pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the brine is flavorful. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a new pot, discarding the solids.
  3. Bring the stock back up to a simmer. Add the shrimp in shell and stir to submerge the shrimp. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the shrimp to poach for 10 minutes or until fully cooked.
  4. Drain the shrimp and place the shrimp into a large bowl filled with ice. Stir the shrimp with the ice cubes and place the bowl in the freezer until the shrimp have cooled down, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Peel the shell from the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. Discard the shells. Serve the shrimp ice cold alongside the Maker’s Mark® cocktail sauce, with fresh lemon wedges.

Maker’s Mark Cocktail Sauce

2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, flamed off

1 tablespoon TABASCO® Sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

These ribs take on their bourbon brine and an exotic barbecue sauce scented with coriander. Finger lickin’ good, for real.

Prep Time: 24 hours/day beforehand

2 cups Makers Mark® Bourbon

1 bunch cilantro – cleaned and roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 rack of peeled pork spare ribs

1/2 white onion, peeled and diced 1/2″

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Fresh red radish, for garnish

    In a large bowl, mix the Maker’s Mark®, cilantro, garlic, ginger, garlic, cumin, cayenne, curry, mustard seeds, Dijon and brown sugar and salt until well-combined. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Submerge the full rack of ribs in the marinade and refrigerate over night.

Bourbon is a great mixer. It’s always good to have a hot drink if it’s going to be cold out. Hot toddies or cider are good to go with the food.

All in all, keep it simple, says Wong, because at the end of the day, “the Super Bowl is about great food, but really it’s about the Giants kicking Tom Brady’s *ss!”

Just Peachy

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I’m sure by now you know that Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby yesterday. And I’m nearly as sure that if you had any interest in race at all that you had a mint julep while you watched it, wearing your best party hat, of course. Gwen and I also settled in to watch the race, and yes, she did have a party hat on. We also had mint juleps, but not your traditional julep.

Juleps were originally developed as medicinal “tonics” to cure whatever might be ailing you during the 15th century. A mixture of herbs, sugar and water, eventually alcoholic ingredients such as brandy or Cognac were introduced. Over time mint became the herb used in juleps and then in the late 1800’s Kentucky bourbon become the choice of liquor to use. Thus, the modern mint julep was born.

As with most classic cocktails, there are certain standards and controversy about how to make a proper mint julep. If you really want to be proper you will use a silver julep cup. Using a julep cup allows the outside surface to become frosted over from the ice in the cup and adds a touch of elegance. However, if you don’t have a julep cup (I don’t) you can use any tall cocktail glass. I used a collins glass for mine on Saturday.

The second point of contention in the making of a mint julep is just where and how the mint is used. Some will simply garnish the julep with a large bunch of mint leaves extending from the top of the glass. This presentation gives you a nice scent of mint with each sip of the julep. Others will muddle the mint in the bottom of the glass before adding the ice and bourbon. And what do I do? Why, both of course!

I do enjoy a good julep, especially on Derby day. However, this year I decided to make a variation of the mint julep to provide a bit more flavor. Here’s my recipe for a Peachy Mint Julep.

Peachy Mint Julep

  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 1 bar spoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 oz Stirrings Peach Liqueur
  • 4 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon

In the bottom of a collins glass gently muddle the mint with the sugar and peach liqueur. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the bourbon. Stir to mix and chill using a bar spoon. Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves extending above the rim of the glass and serve with a straw.

The Stirrings Peach Liquer adds just a hint of peach flavor and sweetness to complement the mint and the charcoal, smokey notes of the Maker’s Mark. This is particularly a good way to get your non-bourbon drinking friends to try a julep since it is a bit mellower than a traditional julep.

What Makes a Bourbon: A Cheat Sheet

  • Must be made in the United States.
  • Must contain 51% corn.
  • Must be aged in new oak-charred barrels.
  • Must be distilled to no more than 160 proof and entered into the barrel at 125 proof.
  • Must be bottled at no less than 80 proof.
  • Must not contain any added flavoring, coloring or other additives.

Whiskey Watch: The Best New Bottles Out This Month

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