We hosted our first tasting Saturday May 30, and it was a huge success! We tried three Michter’s varieties: Bourbon, Rye, and Sour Mash. We invited some of our closest friends and had a blast.
The night began with some cocktails (recipes from some of our favorite bourbon chefs: Kathleen Purvis & Edward Lee). Purvis’ book Bourbon: a Savor the South Cookbook has some truly phenomenal recipes in it. The delicious Bourbon Slush was hit with the ladies. It’s basically frozen tea, lemonade, orange juice, and bourbon. Also, one of our favorite celebrity chefs, Edward Lee, has this great cookbook – Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen. He had one of the best Kentucky/Bourbon Mule recipes I’ve ever seen: the trick is to use ginger simple syrup. Those were a crowd pleaser. Another fun fact about Edward Lee: you might recognize him if you bought a bottle of Jefferson’s Chef’s Collaboration, as he was one of the chefs involved in that spectacular blend.
In keeping with the bourbon theme, we cooked recipes from both cookbooks: Bourbon Ginger Carrots and Bourbon Skirt Steak. We finished off our meal with a Bourbon Pound Cake – finger licking good! I think we all ate pretty well that night; we had six pounds of skirt steak and no leftovers!
This leads us to our awesome tastings. I will preface this with saying that Michter’s is one of my favorites. Yes there is a stigma amongst the bourbon community that if you don’t distill the juice yourself, you aren’t as worthy as someone who does. But…if you find something you like, great! Stick with it, who cares where it comes from? We decided to do a blind tasting of the three Michter’s offerings. (I hid my Toasted Barrel – no way was I sharing that!) The results were definitely mixed amongst our tasters. Everyone was divided among the three. The Rye was probably the least liked of the three, which isn’t surprising because I don’t think there are many rye drinkers in our group.
The Bourbon and Sour Mash were pretty much in a tie among our reviewers. Background on these: the sour mash is not a bourbon or a rye, with more of equal grains between corn and rye, aged around 6 years. The Bourbon is a normal corn heavy bourbon, aged 8 and ½ years or so. Some people thought the Sour Mash was incredibly smooth and had a great taste but lacked a strong finish. The bourbon however had a great finish and soothing aroma but was a bit too strong for our drinkers, they didn’t appreciate the burn. I think both whiskies are great in their own right. The night of the tasting I preferred the Sour Mash, but tonight sipping on the Bourbon, I appreciate the complexity of the flavor and think it’s a great choice.
The true consensus is that Michter’s makes some fine products and everyone liked them. I think everything really came together well that night, from the cocktails, to the food, to the awesome tastings.
I want to genuinely thank everyone for coming last weekend. I know there were a few people that are not the die-hard bourbon fans that Jacob and I are, but we appreciate you sticking with us. This is the first of many bourbon events that the Bourbon Society of Baton Rouge hosts. We will definitely have an event at the end of the month at one of our favorite bars in town.
Hopefully this gives you a little insight to what we are all about. The purpose of this society is to get together with friends and bourbon drinkers alike and just enjoy ourselves. We just truly enjoy bourbon and want to introduce as many people to this awesome liquid as possible. Please continue to invite your friends to join this society. We can’t wait to make some new friends at our first outing!