Bourbon Part I Three “Sure Bets” for KY Derby

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Real Life Derby Week
Woodford Reserve Bourbon collage including 3 Chimneys

Photos Courtesy

This is a four part series on Kentucky Bourbon, the elixir of Kentucky Derby. Wednesday, Part II Bourbon for the Adventuresome will feature new entries into the bourbon arena by Bourbon Baron Jason Pyle of Sour Mash Manifesto. Jason knows bourbon! Part III The Art of Sipping, and Part IV The Perfect Mint Julep will follow during our Kentucky Derby Week.

Three Bourbons A Trifecta of Winners

I like bourbon. Right now there are 31 bottles behind the bar. Small batch, single barrel, and straight Kentucky bourbon….I love them all. Like fine wines, each has a unique and distinct flavor. One bourbon may compliment citrus, another the earthiness of an aged steak. I’ve picked three in the middle price range, which will do your Kentucky Derby Party proud.

Put Your Money Down on Woodford Reserve!

Since it is Kentucky Derby Week, let’s begin with the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, Labrot and Graham’s Woodford Reserve Distillers Select. When you think “Woodford” think “woody.” The amber liquid is flavored with woody charcoal mixture, the result of being stored in charred oaken barrels. The “nose” is strong, with a subtle spicy burn. The flavor, is rich…crisp like a green apple…yet luxurious with hints of dark chocolate. Good for cooking, good for sipping, and of course great in cocktails. If you are new to bourbon, this is the starting point.


Makers Mark…A Sweet Victory!

Maker's Mark Bourbon with Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book
Makers Mark, known for it’s red wax seal, is a sweet wheated bourbon. This bourbon was my bourbon of choice in college, and still remains close to my heart. I am a Makers Mark Ambassador and proudly so! Makers whispers to the tongue…caramel, toasted nuts, cherry, and vanilla. At Christmas, it’s Makers Mark I turn to for bread puddings and egg nogs. The finish is clean, though lacks depth and complexity. If you want a bourbon with little to no bite, Makers Mark is a safe bet.

Jefferson Reserve…for the Scholar Amongst Us!

Jefferson Reserve Bourbon A Wow Factor for KY Derby Party
For a “wow” factor at your Kentucky Derby Party,  Jefferson’s Reserve is very small batch bourbon worthy of your consideration. It’s a little bit harder to find, but if you check their website, there is a map showing where this bourbon is retailed. The nose is pleasing, without a bite. A smooth bourbon with a thick body, the flavors are reminiscent of pecans, raisins, and vanilla. Jefferson’s has a long finish, with an ever so slight hint of smoky charcoal. This is porch sipping bourbon on long lazy summer evenings. There’s a little elegance in a bottle of Jefferson’s.

So there you have it, a trifecta of bourbons that will easily go from kitchen to sipping and back again.Hold onto your hat! For you thrill seekers and risk takers

WEDNESDAY bourbon expert Jason Pyle of Sour Mash Manifesto will share with you a thing or two about Angels Envy, Evan Williams Single Barrel, a Knob Creek offering and W.L. Weller….some of the latest bourbon releases.

Post Script Jason Pyle’s Guest Post Part II Four New Bourbons for Thrill Seekers

Disclaimer as a Makers Mark Ambassador I sometimes receive small promotion items from the distillery like ice cube trays, gift wrap, and the like. /em><

Kentucky Derby Party Drinks

Kentucky Derby Week

Bourbon? Did you say bourbon?
A Manhattan Cocktail
My Old Kentucky Home The Big Red Barn Kentucky Derby Week
The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book

About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.