June 16, 2021

Turn Father’s Day Into a Bourbon Fest for Dad

If your dad is a bourbon or whiskey drinker, what better way is there to spend Father's Day than surrounded by his favorite bourbons and maybe even a few new ones to try? The answer, of course, is there is no better way. Here's how to turn Father's Day into dad's personal bourbon fest.   It Starts on the Grill The smell of smoke, a cool drink in your hand, and great people around you make grilling one of the greatest of all man's creations. When that first sizzle hits the summer air, you know it's going to be a great day.   As the grill heats up, you and dad can start on the sauce. No, not that sauce. We're talking about a bourbon whiskey BBQ sauce that's finger-smacking delicious. Of course, if you want to start on that other "sauce," who are we to stop you?   Dad's New Favorite Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Sauce INGREDIENTS ½ onion, chopped into small pieces 4 cloves of garlic, minced Pinch of black pepper Pinch of salt 2 cups ketchup ¼ cup tomato paste ⅓ cup cider vinegar (or distilled white vinegar if you prefer) 2 spoons of liquid smoke flavoring ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce ½ cup of brown sugar Small spoonful of hot pepper sauce (optional) 1-3 shots (to taste) of bourbon whiskey (we suggest Ezra Brooks or Rebel)*   INSTRUCTIONS This seems like a lot of ingredients, but trust us, they're all worth it! In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the garlic, onion, and bourbon. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Mix in all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for another 20 minutes. Smooth out the sauce by straining it over a bowl or a glass container.   You can even make this ahead of time and bring it with you as a fantastic gift for dad.   *A quick note on cooking with liquor. The higher the proof (Ezra Brooks KSB is 90 proof, Rebel is 80 proof), the longer you should let the sauce simmer. You want to simmer it long enough to cook the alcohol out of it, but not so long that the flavor starts to taste bitter or burnt. Find the sweet spot by tasting it periodically (be careful, it'll be hot).   For great ideas on what food to serve with this delicious sauce, check out our blog post on pairing bourbon and barbecue.    Bourbon Whiskey Tasting While you wait for the food to cook, take a few moments to set up a proper bourbon and whiskey tasting. Grab a few bottles of dad's favorite bourbon or whiskey and pour a couple of ounces in different glasses. You can compare different bourbons based on their proofs, whether they're rye or wheat, pricepoint, finishes, or for just about any other reason. When tasting multiple dark spirits, it's best to start with the lightest color or the lowest proof and finish with the darkest color or highest proof. Between tastings, a swig of water or a sniff of coffee beans helps to cleanse the palate.   If you want further steps on setting up a bourbon or whiskey tasting, there's a great "How To" article over on the Daviess County blog.    This article on How to Bring Out Bourbon's Best Flavor will help to take your bourbon tasting up a notch.    New Spirits to Add to Dad's Collection At Lux Row, we've grown our portfolio of spirits quite a bit over the last decade. We don't want to toot our own horns, but we think these bourbons and whiskeys are worth adding to dad's collection.   Daviess County Daviess County Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, French Oak Finish, and Cabernet Sauvignon Finish offer a nod to the past but a sip of the future. Each bourbon is 96 proof and features a unique blend of ryed and wheated mash bills. Any one of these makes a great addition to any bar. Adding all three might make you your dad's favorite person.   David Nicholson  Back in 1843, David Nicholson was a grocery store owner in St. Louis, Missouri. One day, in the backroom of that store, he created one of the smoothest, most-treasured bourbons on the market today. David Nicholson 1843 and David Nicholson Reserve offer two distinct flavor profiles, and both are smooth enough to become you or your dad's new everyday sipper.   Ezra Brooks  From the classic Kentucky Straight to Ezra 99 and the best Bourbon Cream out there, it's hard to go wrong when adding a few different bottles of Ezra to the bar.   Cocktails For Dads While drinking whiskey neat is perfectly okay with us, there is an entire world of cocktails out there worth trying. Starting from simple-to-make to the more complex, these cocktails are dad-approved:   The Classics: Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, Whiskey Sour The big three are not only easy to make, but they never go out of style. (Click to see each recipe)   Manhattan  Old-Fashioned  Whiskey Sour    Bring the Spice: Rye Drinks For the dads who prefer a spicier drink. Sazerac  Rye of the Storm  Fiery Orange and Rye    The Sweeter side of Dad: Cocoa and Bourbon Cream For dads who'd prefer to drink their dessert. Bourbon Cream Caffe  Whiskey Bulldog  Rebel's Hot Cocoa    Father's Day happens only once a year, so we hope your bourbon fest for dad is a great one.
April 30, 2021

The History of the Kentucky Derby & Bourbon: Timeless Traditions

Ask anyone what the state of Kentucky is known for and it won’t take long for them to mention the Kentucky Derby and bourbon. Both are not only native to the state of Kentucky, but also have a rich tradition steeped in prestige, story, and at least a touch of controversy.


The History of the Kentucky Derby 

In the early 1870s, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark expedition), was inspired by horse races he witnessed in England and France. When he returned home to Kentucky, Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club and began building the track to be known as Churchill Downs and the most popular annual race known as the Kentucky Derby.


The first-ever Kentucky Derby took place on May 17, 1875, in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people and a field of 15 horses. And, although the early races were considered a success, there were multiple moments of financial difficulties that almost took it out of existence. Fortunately, the business was acquired by Col. Matt Winn of Louisville and a group of business investors to turn the company around and develop it into the preeminent stakes race it is today.  

In 1930, sportswriter Charles Hatton popularized the term “Triple Crown” after Gallant Fox won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. The following year, sparked by the media and public interest in naming a “super horse,” it was determined that these three races should happen in the same order each year. Since then, (except for 2020) the Kentucky Derby has been run on the first Saturday in May and marks the beginning of the competition for the Triple Crown.


The Origins of Kentucky Bourbon 

Bourbon was recognized by the United States Congress in 1964 as a “distinctive product of the United States,” declaring a set of rules for producing the spirit. These rules, which are still followed by distilleries today, include that for a spirit to be considered bourbon it must be produced in the U.S., its recipe must include at least 51% corn, and each batch must be stored in a new charred oak barrel.


However, the U.S. having pride in its bourbon hasn’t always been the case. As we all learned in history class, the United States instituted prohibition from 1920 to 1933.


Thanks to prohibition, the actual origin of bourbon has become the lore of legend and bold claims made by multiple distiller families. The name “bourbon” likely comes from the French Bourbon Dynasty, which was a royal European dynasty of french origin. This likely became the inspiration behind Bourbon County in Kentucky and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  

Our own history of whiskey and bourbon-making began with David Nicholson, a St. Louis grocer, who made and sold whiskey in his general store in 1843 and with the Rebel recipe which was invented in 1849 at what would later become the famous Stitzel-Weller distillery.  

The Mint Julep–Where Bourbon and the Kentucky Derby Meet

The julep first got its start as a medicinal concoction used to settle the stomach. As a cocktail, it blossomed in the American South in the late 1700s, with a decidedly elite air, because not everyone had access to ice nor the silver or pewter cup in which the drink is served.


Known as the unofficial drink of the South, the mint julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. Nearly 120,000 mint juleps have been sold at the race every year since.

If you’d like to enjoy one of these delicious bourbon concoctions during this year’s Run for the Roses, here is a recipe:

Our Favorite Mint Julep Recipe

  Ingredients 8 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig for garnish 1/4 ounce simple syrup 2 ounces bourbon, such as Rebel or Ezra Brooks Crushed ice   Instructions Gently muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a julep cup, then add the bourbon and pack with ice. Swirl it all around in the cup so that it gets frosty, then add more ice to the top. Garnish with the mint sprig.  

The Kentucky Derby, bourbon, and the mint julep are each steeped in tradition. Celebrate Kentucky Derby season the best way we know how by indulging in your favorite Bourbon from Lux Row. Cheers!

April 26, 2021

Collector’s Corner: Rebel Ginger and Rebel Root Beer

How can you make your collection of delicious spirits more rebellious? By grabbing one (or both) of these flavored Rebel whiskeys: Rebel Ginger and Rebel Root Beer.

March 25, 2021

Coming Soon: Blood Oath Pact No. 7

Master Distiller John Rempe's latest in a line of limited-issue Kentucky straight bourbon blends is set to release beginning in mid-April.

August 25, 2020
David Nicholson, Ezra Brooks, and Blood Oath bourbon

8 Ways to Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month at Home

Bourbon is so great, it has an entire month devoted to it. This important milestone was instituted in 2007 by the U.S. Senate, who declared that every September should be celebrated as National Bourbon Heritage Month, as a nod to bourbon's role as "America's Native Spirit." (more…)
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