Author Archives: emilybarnhill7

About emilybarnhill7

Intern at the University Press of Kentucky.

Bourbon Desserts: The Best of Both Worlds!

Many people think of bourbon as a dessert because of its deliciously sweet taste. But what happens when you actually add bourbon to a dessert? Pure magic. You can take our word for it on this one.

Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

You might already be familiar with the traditional bourbon desserts that are popular in and around the Bluegrass state. Bourbon Balls, a sinfully delicious candy made with bourbon, chocolate, and pecans, have been a staple of the bourbon-dessert industry for decades.

bourbon balls

For fans of colder treats, Bourbon Ball Ice Cream has become an increasingly popular dessert to many. Keeneland has been adding bourbon to their famous bread pudding for years—and you don’t hear anyone complaining!

Now that we’ve gotten your attention, we’re sure you want to try all of these desserts yourself. Just to ensure that we weren’t making anything up and to do some of your own field research, of course.

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The best place to start your bourbon dessert journey is in UPK’s book Bourbon Desserts by celebrated food writer and home chef, Lynn Marie Hulsman. The title says it all people.


This book features more than seventy-five decadent desserts using America’s native spirit. Hulsman brings together a collection of confections highlighting the complex flavor notes of Kentucky bourbon, which are sure to delight the senses. Giving readers the confidence to prepare these easy-to-execute desserts, this cookbook also features fun facts about bourbon and its origins as well as tips and tricks for working in the kitchen.

Interested? We know. Keep reading for a never-before-seen recipe from the book!

Sinner’s Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Growing up, I heard lots of talk from my Grandma and the ladies in her front-room, one-chair beauty salon about “reducing.” Apart from cantaloupe and cottage cheese, or half a grapefruit with a maraschino cherry on top, the only virtuous dessert was angel food cake. I never cared for the sticky, Styrofoam redolent packaged concoctions from the supermarket, though. Here’s my twist: A homemade version that actually tastes like wholesome food. Perhaps it’s a little lighter, with fewer calories than some desserts. I don’t really care. I’m after thrills like bourbon and chocolate, and they’re in there. Sinful? You decide.

Makes 1 10-inch x 4-inch angel food cake

1 tablespoon butter, for greasing
3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted twice, plus more for flouring
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I like Scharffenberger’s)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup egg whites (from 6 to 7 large or 8 to 9 small eggs), at room temperature
1 tablespoon bourbon

Grease a 10-inch x 4-inch tube pan with butter, dust it with flour, and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift the flour twice into a large mixing bowl, then measure it into another large mixing bowl.

Add the cocoa to the flour, then sift together three times. Add the cream of tartar, and sift the dry mixture together one more time, then set it aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and salt, and sift them together four times, then set the mixture aside.

Using an electric mixer, set to medium-high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, until you have medium-high peaks, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on enough of the flour-cocoa mixture to dust the top of the foam without collapsing it, then gently fold it in with a spatula. Alternate with small amounts of the sugar-salt mixture, and continue until all of the dry ingredients are folded into the egg whites.

Add the bourbon to the mixture, and fold in gently using the spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for 45 more minutes or until a wooden cake tester or metal skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Invert the entire pan onto a wire rack on the countertop, and allow it to cool for two to three hours. Once it’s cool, loosen the cake from the pan using a butter knife, and set it upright on a cake plate.

Store in an airtight plastic cake safe or tin for up to 1 week.


If you’re interested in buying the book, you can pre-order it on our website. It’s expected to be released in August of this year! Be sure to check out Hulsman’s website if you can’t get enough of this talented author!

The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is one of those special cocktails that, despite its name, never goes out of style. Invented in the late eighteenth century by American tavern owners, this drink has remained one of the most popular and successful cocktails of all time, rivaling even those staples like the martini.

Image via Google

Image via Google

Even one of America’s favorite love-to-hate television characters—Don Draper from Mad Men— is an Old Fashioned enthusiast:

For a comprehensive look at the history of one of America’s favorite cocktail and its influences, check out UPK’s book The Old Fashioned: An Essential Guide to the Original Whiskey Cocktail by Albert W. A. Schmid, available here.

Schmid profiles the many people and places that have contributed to the drink’s legend since its origin. This satisfying book explores the history of the Old Fashioned through its ingredients and accessories and details the cocktail’s surprising influence on various American institutions. Schmid also considers the impact of various bourbons on the taste of the drink and reviews the timeless debate about whether to muddle.

This spirited guide is an entertaining and refreshing read, featuring a handpicked selection of recipes along with delicious details about the particularities that arose with each new variation. See below for some of our favorite featured recipes and tips from the author himself!

Here are some tips for making the perfect authentic Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail:
1. Make each drink individually.
2. Use an Old Fashioned glass.
3. Use a teaspoon of castor sugar or a sugar cube (or simple syrup).
4. Use just a little hot water.
5. Use Angostura bitters, and muddle the sugar water and bitters until well blended.
6. Don’t muddle the fruit; use it only as a garnish.
7. Use bourbon (high proof).
8. Cut a large strip of orange peel, and twist it over the glass.
9. Use as few ice cubes as possible.

Blackberry Honey Old Fashioned
This drink comes from Louisville bartender Kiersten Gillam. She replaces the cherries and sugar with blackberries and honey. It is important to note that honey is sweeter than sugar, so less is required to achieve the same level of sweetness.
½ orange slice
2 blackberries
¼ teaspoon (a drizzle) of honey
2 dashes Gary Regan’s orange bitters
1½ ounces bourbon whiskey
Soda to fill

In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the orange slice,
blackberries, honey, and bitters. Then fill the glass
with ice, bourbon, and soda. Shake the ingredients
together, strain the mixture into another glass over
ice, and serve.

Mint New Fashioned
Earlier, I suggested that the Mint Julep may have been adapted from the Old Fashioned. Here is a new twist on that idea.
6 mint leaves
½ tablespoon simple syrup
3 tablespoons rye or bourbon
1 tablespoon orange bitters

Place the mint leaves in a rocks glass and top with
simple syrup. Use a muddler to bruise the mint leaves
to release the oils. Fill the glass with ice and pour in
the rye or bourbon and bitters. Gently stir and serve.

The Kentucky Mint Julep

May is definitely a month full of celebrations. There’s Cinco de Mayo (hello margaritas!), Mother’s Day (where would we be without the women who raised us?), and most importantly to Kentuckians (sorry margs and moms), the Kentucky Derby.

On Saturday, May 3, the 140th run of the Kentucky Derby will take place at Churchill Downs in Louisville. But the real questions that everyone seems to have on their mind are; what will everyone be wearing and what will everyone be drinking?

In regards to people’s outfits, the hats are a given. We can’t wait to see some of the crazy things that people come up with this year! These are just a sample of the dozens of fantastic and creative hats guests have made over the years.

In regards to drinking, many would argue that the only acceptable refreshment on Derby Day is a Mint Julep. This refreshing and delicious drink will go down smooth and leave you feeling great. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the infield or one of the owner’s boxes—the Mint Julep doesn’t discriminate!

If you don’t want to take our word for it, check out UPK’s book The Kentucky Mint Julep by Colonel Joe Nickell.

It looks at the origins of the julep, offers a brief history of American whiskey and Kentucky bourbon, and shares some classic julep tales. Information on julep cups, tips on garnishing and serving, and reminiscences from the likes of Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and General John Hunt Morgan give a fun, historic look at Kentucky’s favorite drink. The book also includes recipes for classic juleps, modern variations, non-alcoholic versions, and the author’s own thoroughly researched “perfect” mint julep.

So celebrate the Derby by buying Nickell’s book on our website and drinking a Mint Julep. May the betting odds be ever in your favor!

The Early Years of Whiskeymaking

Believe it or not, the history of making bourbon in Kentucky isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.


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Image via Google

Many theories have been developed over the years to suggest who really invented one of Kentucky’s most distinctive products. But what is the real story?


One of the University Press of Kentucky’s very own authors, Henry Crowgey, asked himself the same question when he wrote Kentucky Bourbon: The Early Years of Whiskeymaking.

Kentucky Bourbon by Henry Crowgey

This book tells the story of bourbon’s evolution by looking at a variety of subjects: from the role of alcohol in colonial America and in the lives of frontiersmen to the importance of the Kentucky product in the Revolutionary War.

Crowgey claims that distilled spirits and pioneer settlement went hand in hand; Isaac Shelby, the state’s first governor, was among Kentucky’s pioneer distillers. Crowgey traces the drink’s history from its beginnings as a cottage industry to steam-based commercial operations in the period just before the Civil War.

Image via Google

Image via Google

From “spirited” camp meetings, to bourbon’s use as a medium of exchange for goods and services, to the industry’s coming of age in the mid-nineteenth century, the story of Kentucky bourbon is a fascinating chapter in the state’s early history.

This book would be the perfect gift for any history or—dare we say—bourbon buffs out there. Check out our website for details on the book!

If Crowgey’s fascinating read got you in the mood for more bourbon knowledge, check out the History Channel’s documentary on “The Birth of Bourbon” at the link!


We’re Poets and We Didn’t Even Know It

It has been a real treat for us at UPK to share with our followers some of our favorite poems from our authors including Joe Survant, Frank X Walker, and George Ella Lyon for April’s National Poetry Month. I think we can all agree that their amazing talents make writing poetry look easy. Our English professors will tell you on our behalf that it is not.

bourbon poetry

     Images via Google

That rhymes, right?

Today we are spotlighting a Hopkinsville native who has made a profound impact on the country as one of the nation’s leading intellectuals: bell hooks. As an author, activist, feminist, teacher, and artist, hooks’ works reflect her Appalachian upbringing and feature her struggles with racially integrated schools and unwelcome authority figures.

In Appalachian Elegy, bell hooks continues her work as an imagist of life’s harsh realities in a collection of poems inspired by her childhood in the isolated hills and hidden hollows of Kentucky. At once meditative, confessional, and political, this poignant volume draws the reader deep into the experience of living in Appalachia.

Appalachian Elegy

Keep reading for excerpts of this sensational book and collection of poems!


hear them cry
the long dead
the long gone
speak to us
from beyond the way
guide us
that we may learn
all the ways
to hold tender this land
hard clay dirt
rock upon rock
charred earth
in time
strong green growth
will rise here
trees back to life
native flowers
pushing the fragrance of hope
the promise of resurrection


all fields
of tobacco
growing here
gone now
man has made time
take them
this harsh crop
to other lands
countries where
the spirit guides
go the way
of lush green
leaving behind
the scent of memory
tobacco leaves
green yellow brown
plant of sacred power
shining beauty
return to Appalachia
make your face known

If you’re interested in reading more from the captivating bell hooks, you can buy the book on our website or check out her Facebook page!

Feeling Thirsty?

If our last recipe post from The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book wasn’t enough of a teaser for ya, check below for some tasty treats! Whether you’re a fan of sweet or savory spirits, this book has something for everyone.


Kentucky Derby Pie

1½ ounces Kentucky bourbon (80–90 proof)
¾ ounce Nocello (walnut liqueur)
½ ounce Tuaca
¾ ounce Godiva chocolate liqueur
¾ ounce Baileys Irish Cream

Combine ingredients, shake over ice, and strain into a chilled glass. Sprinkle
cocoa powder on top.

Kentucky Sunshine

2 ounces Kentucky sourwood honey dissolved in 2 ounces hot water
2 ounces Kentucky bourbon (80–90 proof)
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce medium dry sherry
1 ounce sparkling wine

Dissolve the honey in the hot water; otherwise it will not dissolve in the liquor.
To an ice-filled glass, add all ingredients except the sparkling wine; shake. Add
more ice if needed and the sparkling wine. Garnish with a drizzle of undiluted
sourwood honey, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a lemon wheel on the rim. Serve
with a long straw.

Feel Better Kentucky Bourbon Toddy

6 ounces boiling water
2 ounces Kentucky bourbon of your choice
1 ounce brown sugar syrup or undiluted Kentucky sourwood honey
4 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ounce fresh orange juice
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice

Pour boiling water into a heat-proof mug, add all other ingredients, and stir
well. This is the perfect drink if you feel a cold coming on. If taken just before
bedtime, use a high-alcohol, barrel-proof bourbon. Sweet dreams!


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.

bourbon tasting

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!

KY bourbon

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.

bourbon basrrels

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.