Kentucky Bourbon Country

If you’re from the state of Kentucky, you know that bourbon is a part of our culture. Whether you’re sipping some Maker’s Mark at a tailgate or savoring a glass of Woodford Reserve at dinner, you’re contributing to Kentucky’s economy by enjoying one of our signature industries.

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Kentucky, the birthplace of bourbon, produces 95 percent of the world’s supply of America’s only native spirit. According to the Kentucky Distiller’s Association, “There are more barrels of bourbon aging in the Bluegrass than there are people (4.3 million) and horses (242,000) living in the Commonwealth.” That’s a whole lotta bourbon!

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Susan Reigler discusses this and more in her book Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide. Reigler offers essential information and practical advice to anyone considering a trip to the state’s distilleries or to the restaurants and bars on the Urban Bourbon Trail. Featuring more than 150 full-color photographs and a bourbon glossary, the book is organized by region and provides valuable details about the Bluegrass—including attractions near each distillery and notes on restaurants, lodging, shopping, and seasonal events in Kentucky’s beautiful historic towns.

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This book is the perfect gift for not only bourbon-lovers, but also anyone who has a love of Kentucky and its many outstanding qualities. If you’re interested in buying the book, head on over to our website for details.

 

It’s 5 O’Clock in Kentucky

April is a special time of year here in the Bluegrass for several reasons. Keeneland, a favorite in UPK’s hometown of Lexington, is finally open for their Spring Meet. The Derby is right around the corner. That vicious winter has hopefully been permanently laid to rest. Tailgate season isn’t too far away.

All of these reasons culminate in the heartwarming truth that it is once again acceptable to drink bourbon before 5 o’clock (thanks in part to Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson). We at UPK are fortunate enough to have dozens of bourbon recipes at our disposal from some of our most talented authors and their various works.

'Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book' 30% OFF: $10.47

In The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler provide a reader-friendly handbook featuring more than 100 recipes including seasonal drinks, after-dinner bourbon cocktails, Derby cocktails, and even medicinal toddies. See below for a fun twist on an old classic!

Dark & Bloody Bourbon Mary

This is the perfect drink for a Derby brunch. I relished rising to the challenge from those who said a bloody Mary couldn’t be made with bourbon. Ha!

1 teaspoon salt/pepper/paprika mix
2 ounces Woodford Reserve
2 large lemon wedges
1 tablespoon Bourbon Barrel Aged Worcestershire Sauce
1 can (6 ounces) Campbell’s tomato juice

To prepare the seasoning mix, combine in a mortar one part each smoked sea salt and smoked pepper and two parts smoked paprika, all from Bourbon Barrel Foods (www.bourbonbarrelfoods.com). Finely crush with a pestle and shake together in a jar.

To a pint glass or large mason jar filled with ice, add the bourbon, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, and add the teaspoon of seasoning mix and the Worcestershire sauce. Shake. Add more ice and the can of tomato juice. Shake again. Garnish with a long straw, baby corn, a large pitted black olive, and a cherry pepper, all on a stick.


If you’re interested in this recipe and more like it, head over to our website to buy the book.

Stay tuned to our blog for posts about all things bourbon for the next couple weeks!

 

Got A Knack For Nature?

Despite the snow that this wonderful Kentucky weather has bestowed on us yet again, it is still about time to step outside and get your daily dose of sunshine. If you are in the Louisville area, then there is no better place to do this than at one of the five beautiful Olmsted Parks located all around the city. The Olmsted Parks of Louisville are self-proclaimed for being designed for three types of recreation: 1) recreative or individual use, such as walking or running, 2) gregarious or social use, such as picnics, and 3) exertive or athletic use, such as ball games. See the map below to see which park is closest to you.

There are so many things you can do to be active outside this season! Here’s a list of our favorites:

1)      Go for a run. Grab your running shoes and even your dog, and set out on a trail.

2)      Throw a Frisbee, football, baseball, etc.

3)      Fly a kite.

4)      Have a picnic.

5)      Read a book.

6)      Relive your childhood by playing tag, hide and seek, red rover, etc.

7)      Draw, sketch, paint gorgeous scenery.

In all of these parks, you will find yourself among gorgeous landscapes filled with thousands of flowers. Be sure to pick up a copy of The Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Guide in order to maximize your nature experience within these parks!

 

Calling All Mushroom Hunters!

Now that warm weather is finally here, it’s time for one of America’s favorite pastimes to begin again. That’s right, I’m talking about mushroom hunting. This year, when you go around gathering the most succulent morels you can find, be sure to try out this recipe and send your tastebuds on a spree!

Stuffed Matsutake Triangles

Ingredients:
3-4 Large Matsutake Caps
Green onions
Minced garlic
Cream cheese
Bacon bits
Salt & pepper
Bread crumbs

Step 1) Chop onions, then put in bowl with garlic and cream cheese.

Step 2) Cut mushroom caps into triangles, and place in baking dish, gills up. Spread cream cheese mixture over caps, sprinkle bread crumbs over mixture, then add bacon bits, salt, and pepper to your liking.
  

Step 3) Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Serve as an appetizer or enjoy as a snack or side dish.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians to aid you in all of your mushroom hunting endeavors this coming season!

Charles Bennett, the Man Behind the Scenes

You may know a lot about Alfred Hitchcock, but did you know that many of his successful movies were actually based off the plays of writer Charles Bennett? Blackmail (1929), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936), Young and Innocent (1937), and Foreign Correspondent (1940) were all films on which they collaborated.

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Charles Bennett started his show business career as an actor in Ben Greet’s Shakespeare Company. He then started writing plays – his first was The Return written around the year 1925. He then experienced major success with his play Blackmail which was a year later adapted by Hitchcock into a motion picture. Bennett was an incredibly prolific writer; he wrote or co-wrote over 60 plays and screenplays throughout his life, showcasing his talent for quick dialogue and suspense-filled thrillers.

Outside of his work as a playwright, Bennett was an honored WWI hero and an Allied spy and propagandist during WWII.

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In The Life of Charles Bennett: Hitchcock’s Partner in Suspense, a witty and intriguing book by John Charles Bennett, Bennett discusses how their collaboration created such famous motifs as the “wrong man accused” device and the MacGuffin. He also takes readers behind the scenes with the Master of Suspense, offering his thoughts on the director’s work, sense of humor, and personal life. Pick up your copy of the book today!

Pola Negri, Femme Fatale

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Pola Negri was a poor child, playing in the streets of Warsaw, when two singers from the Polish Imperial Opera encouraged her to try out for the Imperial Ballet. Her natural grace and elegance won her the role and she danced for many years. From there, under the influence of the work of poet Ada Negri, she took the name Negri and auditioned and became a part of the drama academy under the same Imperial Theater. Her first film was called in English Slave to Her Senses (1914) and was the first feature film made in Poland. From Poland came the news of Negri’s talent and soon production companies in Germany and later in Hollywood, wanted her in their films. Her most famous works were Madame DuBarry (1919), The Woman He Scorned (1929), and A Woman Commands (1932).

 

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Above(left) : Pola Negri in Madame DuBarry
Above (right): An American advertisement for the movie featuring the same scene

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A movie poster for A Woman Commands

 

Negri was also famous for her celebrity lovers, including Charlie Chaplin, Rod La Rocque, and Rudolph Valentino.

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Above: Pola Negri and Charlie Chaplin

 

From stage to silver screen, she was beloved for her talent and beauty. For more about Negri’s life, films, and loves, pick up a copy of Pola Negri: Hollywood’s First Femme Fatale by Mariusz Kotowski, chief executive officer of Bright Shining City Productions.

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Hollywood’s Most Celebrated Director

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From the snarky man who said, “If anybody doubts my loyalty to my country, I’ll punch him in the nose, and I don’t care how old he is” came also some of the greatest American films of all time. William Wyler was a directing legend not only for his personality, but for his talent. Famous for such movies as Jezebel (1938), Roman Holiday (1953), and Ben Hur (1959), the description “classic” fits acutely and justly to his body of work. He worked with celebrated actors and gave some of them their big break, like Audrey Hepburn who, after working with Wyler in Roman Holiday, went on to star in Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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William Wyler and Audrey Hepburn

 

Wyler also won three Oscars for Best Director for his films Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Ben-Hur (1959).

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From left to right: Samuel Goldwyn, Best Supporting Actor Harold Russell, and Best Director William Wyler (The Best Years of our Lives)

 

If you’re interested in reading more about this movie-making master, check out William Wyler: The Life and Films of Hollywood’s Most Celebrated Director by Gabriel Miller. According to the New York Journal of Books, Miller’s work on Wyler is a massive success; “For the true movie lover, the only pleasure that can come close to matching that of steeping oneself, Norma Desmond-like, in the flickering images of a great movie is wallowing a long, exhaustive, in-depth biography of a beloved filmmaker. And in terms of all the things that matter – research, organization, access, industry and adulation – William Wyler: The Life and Films of Hollywood’s Most Celebrated Director by Gabriel Miller hits the mark.”

 

Pick up your copy today!

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