Tag Archives: Kentucky Bourbon

The Beauty in Bourbon’s History

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Spirits Tank, George T. Staggs Distillery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY.  

Whiskey making has been an integral part of American history since frontier times. Kentucky is home to more barrels of bourbon than people, and ninety-five percent of all of America’s native spirit is produced in the Bluegrass State. In Kentucky, early settlers brought stills to preserve grain, and they soon found that the limestone-filtered water and the unique climate of the scenic Bluegrass region made it an ideal place for the production of barrel-aged liquor. And so, bourbon whiskey was born.

More than two hundred commercial distilleries were operating in Kentucky before Prohibition, but only sixty-one reopened after its repeal in 1933. Though the businesses were gone, most of the buildings remained, unused, slowly deteriorating for decades. Now, thanks in large part to the explosion of interest in craft bourbon, many of these historic buildings are being brought back to life, often as new distilleries. As the popularity of America’s native spirit increases worldwide, many historic distilleries are being renovated, refurbished, and brought back into operation.

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Spears Warehouse, Second Floor, Jacob Spears Distillery, Bourbon County, KY.

In The Birth of Bourbon: A Phorographic Tour of Early Distilleries, award-winning photographer Carol Peachee takes readers on an unforgettable tour of lost distilleries as well as facilities undergoing renewal, such as the famous Old Taylor and James E. Pepper distilleries in Lexington, Kentucky. This beautiful book also includes spaces that well-known brands, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace, have preserved as a homage to their rich histories. By using a photography technique called high-dynamic-range imaging (HDR), Peachee captures the vibrant and haunting beauty of the distilleries. HDR photography is a process that layers three or more images taken of the same scene at different shutter speeds. The technique creates a fuller range of luminosity and color and gives the photographs a striking, ethereal quality.

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Knobs and Pipes, J.E. Pepper Distillery, Lexington, KY. 

“Photographed again today,” Peachee explains, “they would look different, which would make some of the images, barely four years old, a relic in their own right.” In 2010, the James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington was the first set of ruins that she photographed. Four years later, the location was repurposed and commercialized.

Just months after Peachee visited the Old Crow Distillery in Millville, the ruins were sold to entrepreneurs who built Castle & Key Distillery, home to Kentucky’s first female Master Distiller Marianne Barnes. Likewise, the Dowling Distilleries warehouse in Burgin was photographed in the process of being torn down. Major buildings at other sites like Buffalo Springs Distillery in Stamping Ground did not survive to be photographed.

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Pillar and Engine, Old Crow Distillery, Woodford County, KY.

As more and more historical distilleries are lost or altered, these images provide an important glimpse of the past and detailed insight on Kentucky’s relationship with bourbon. The Birth of Bourbon is a tour of Kentucky bourbon heritage that might have otherwise been lost if not for Peachee’s determination to save it. The results not only document what remains, but they also showcase the beauty of these sites through a meditation on impermanence, labor, time, presence, and loss.

Carol Peachee is a fine art photographer and cofounder of the Kentucky Women’s Photography Network. She is the winner of the 2010 Elizabeth Fort Duncan Award in photography from the Pennyroyal Art Guild.

 

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A Toast to National Bourbon Heritage Month

September is a most wonderful time—when the weather starts to cool, leaves start to turn, and the world turns its attention to the Commonwealth for National Bourbon Heritage Month! We’ll be celebrating this genteel and genuinely Kentucky holiday with cocktail and food recipes, new books, and a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails6.inddTo kick things off, enjoy a celebratory tipple of “The Rutledge Rebellion,” created by Jason Start of Martini Italian Bistro in Louisville, representing Four Roses Distillery. “The Rutledge Rebellion” took first prize at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival Mixed Drink Challenge in 2014 in the Bourbon Punch Category. Named for Four Roses master distiller emeritus, Jim Rutledge, “The Rutledge Rebellion” won the honor of being the official cocktail of the 2015 Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Try your hand at this well-crafted recipe from Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler’s newest book, More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails. Cheers!

The Rutledge Rebellion

Rutledge Rebellion via The Kentucky Standard

The overall winning drink, ‘The Rutledge Rebellion’ (photo by Kacie Goode. Used with permission from The Kentucky Standard.)

1 1/2 ounces Four Roses Small Batch bourbon
1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pomegranate juice
1 ounce apple pureé
(3 apples, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 cup simple syrup, 1/2               cup water, and 1/2 cup lemon juice—blended and                 strained)
or 1 ounce apple juice
2 ounces dry champagne
1 syringe Bittermens Tiki bitters

Combine ingredients in a pint glass and stir. Fill with ice, garnish with an orange slice and a mint sprig and serve with a straw.

Five Days of Giveaways: Cheers to Tipplin’ Tuesday

We’re in the holiday spirit here at the University Press of Kentucky, and we wanted to share a little of that cheer with our fans. All week we’ll be giving away a new book in a new way to a lucky someone.

Today, we’re sharing our holiday spirit through holiday spirits, namely the most Kentucky of all spirits: Bourbon.

And in the spirit of sharing, to enter today’s giveaway, use one of the links below to sign up for one of our great newsletters, or subscribe to the UPK blog using the button to the right. New subscribers will all be entered for a chance to win!

If you’re already a subscriber to our newsletter(s), you’ll receive an email with instructions to share to win.

And what will you win? A little holiday spirit of course! Our winner will receive a copy of one of our bestselling bourbon cocktail books (winner’s choice).

Layout 1  manhattan.final.indd  The Old Fashioned by Albert Schmid  The Kentucky Mint Julep by Joe Nickell

 

 

 

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Do You Know the Requirements for Bourbon?

1910With a book dedicated solely to cooking with bourbon, it’s only fitting Albert Schmid, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, would include a little bit of the history behind this beloved beverage.

Most people believe a Baptist minister, the Reverend Elijah Craig, was the first person to distill bourbon, circa 1789. It was a very convenient legend for the forces trying to repeal Prohibition. After all, how bad can bourbon be if it was invented by a Baptist minister? But, the truth is that no one really knows who invented bourbon. Some of the favorite candidates include Evan Williams, James Ritchie, and Wattie Boone (Daniel’s cousin).

Despite the myth surrounding its origin, in 1964 Congress officially named bourbon America’s native spirit and the beverage became the most regulated whiskey in the world, having to meet strict criteria in order to be labeled “bourbon.” The requirements for bourbon are these:

  • Bourbon must be made from at least 51 percent corn mixed with barley and with rye or wheat or both. Many times bourbon has an even higher percentage of corn.
  • Bourbon must be aged in charred new oak barrels.
  • Only pure water may be added to bourbon.
  • Bourbon must not exceed 160 proof off the still or 125 proof going into the barrel.

Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month With These Bourbon Books

Nobody in Kentucky needs a reason to celebrate bourbon more than we already do each day, but if Congress wants to dedicate a whole month to the cause, we certainly won’t object. Thankfully, Congress did just that in 2007 when it declared September National Bourbon Heritage Month.

Over the past decade, bourbon has exploded on the national scene in a big way finally catching up with what Kentuckians knew all along. Here at the University Press of Kentucky, we’ve long been connoisseurs of the historic spirit so we’ve compiled a list books that should interest everyone from the bourbon historian to the home cook. Enjoy and read responsibly!


Bourbon New Books on America's Native Spiritmanhattan.final.inddThe Manhattan Cocktail covers everything that the aficionado needs to know about the classic cocktail through an examination of its history and ingredients. Author Albert W. A. Schmid dispels several persistent myths, including the tale that the Manhattan was created in 1874 by bartenders at New York City’s Manhattan Club to honor the newly elected Governor Samuel Jones Tilden at Lady Randolph Churchill’s request. Schmid also explores the places and people that have contributed to the popularity of the drink and inspired its lore, including J. P. Morgan, who enjoyed a Manhattan every day at the end of trading on Wall Street.


PeacheeCvCompF.inddIn The Birth of Bourbon, award-winning photographer Carol Peachee takes readers on an unforgettable tour of lost distilleries as well as facilities undergoing renewal, such as the famous Old Taylor and James E. Pepper distilleries in Lexington, Kentucky. This beautiful book also includes spaces that well-known brands, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace, have preserved as a homage to their rich histories.


If it’s a month-long bourbon tour you’re looking for, this travel guide will not let you down.

Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide

Like wine lovers who dream of traveling to Bordeaux or beer enthusiasts with visions of the breweries of Belgium, bourbon lovers plan their pilgrimages to Kentucky’s bourbon country. And what a country it is! Some of the most famous distilleries are tucked away in the scenic countryside of the Bluegrass region, stretching between Louisville, Bardstown, and Lexington. Locals and tourists alike seek out the finest flavors of Kentucky as interest in America’s only native spirit continues to grow.

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Happy Bourbon Heritage Month!

September is finally here, which means it’s Bourbon Heritage Month, a national celebration of America’s native spirit! We’ll also be raising our glasses next weekend at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky. Be sure to stop by and say hi!

Kentucky Bourbon Festival


Bourbon New Books on America's Native Spirit

manhattan.final.inddThe Manhattan Cocktail covers everything that the aficionado needs to know about the classic cocktail through an examination of its history and ingredients. Author Albert W. A. Schmid dispels several persistent myths, including the tale that the Manhattan was created in 1874 by bartenders at New York City’s Manhattan Club to honor the newly elected Governor Samuel Jones Tilden at Lady Randolph Churchill’s request. Schmid also explores the places and people that have contributed to the popularity of the drink and inspired its lore, including J. P. Morgan, who enjoyed a Manhattan every day at the end of trading on Wall Street.


PeacheeCvCompF.inddIn The Birth of Bourbon, award-winning photographer Carol Peachee takes readers on an unforgettable tour of lost distilleries as well as facilities undergoing renewal, such as the famous Old Taylor and James E. Pepper distilleries in Lexington, Kentucky. This beautiful book also includes spaces that well-known brands, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace, have preserved as a homage to their rich histories.

 

Blueberry Bourbon Beer Punch Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book University Press of Kentucky

We’re not ‘Blue’ about this Bourbon Punch

Yesterday, we brought you a suggested menu from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook for your 4th of July cookout. Today, let’s talk signature cocktails! There’s no better place to turn than The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book for martinis, cocktails, and punches featuring every Kentuckian’s favorite spirit. For an on-theme 4th of July punch, we’re recommending the refreshing (and blue!) Blueberry Bourbon Beer Punch. Or, if you’re looking for a drink with more “sparkle,” check out last year’s recipe: The Kentucky Sparkler.

Blueberry Bourbon Beer Punch

From The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler.

Don’t chuckle over this seemingly unlikely combination of ingredients until you’ve tried it. It’s summer in a glass.

  • 2 bottles cold Wild Blue™ blueberry lager
  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen Minute Maid™ pink lemonade (defrosted, but no water added)
  • 2 ounces blueberry-infused bourbon (Lightly crush 1/3 of a full pint of blueberries and combine with remaining whole berries and bourbon. Shake and let steep 3 days. Strain, label, date, and refrigerate.)
  • 10 ounces water
  • 2 lemons cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Into a 1 1/2 – 2 quart glass pitcher, pour the bottles of beer. Add lemonade, bourbon, and water; stir. After the foam subsides, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges. Stir. Add ice and blueberries. Stir again. Serve over ice.

Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book University Press of Kentucky