Wednesday, December 28, 2011



"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr.

By Doc Lawrence

LOUSIVILLE. Bourbon is all over the pages of newspapers and magazines, even featured on network television news. For a product that has been quintessentially American since the days of George Washington, in his own right a highly successful whiskey maker, one might think that intrepid investigative reporters had recently discovered this elixir.
No amount of sleuthing can uncover anything new except that Bourbon has returned to it’s place of prominence in a way that parallels the return of red wine over white to the casual enthusiast. Dark or brown drinks now threaten clear ones dominated still by vodka.

My Bourbon experiences are up close and personal, garnering wisdom and a better-educated palate by traveling to Kentucky to drop in places like Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, Michter’s and more. After several Kentucky trips, I decided the most memorable moment was a recent afternoon tasting Wild Turkey in its various forms with the legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russell. In the private bar outside his office in the distillery’s Lawrenceburg headquarters, he poured each of his products sold in the market, told how he made them while I, like an obedient student, dutifully sipped. This, I thought, must have been how the first person who tasted Dom Peringon’s bubbly felt after sampling the monk’s Champagne centuries ago.

The evening before, I had dinner with Kentucky’s heralded bartender, Joy Perrine in the Oak Room, a place frequented by the rich and famous in Louisville’s luxurious Seelbach Hotel,

For the record, the ebullient and eloquent Ms. Perrine, the best known and most acclaimed bartender in Louisville. rejects the  yuppyfied mixologist label.

Joy gave me a signed copy of her book, The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, co-authored with Susan Reigler, (The University Press of Kentucky, 2009), and ordered everyone an Old Fashioned, arguably America’s first cocktail, and told me how to make a great one.

Here is the one Bourbon cocktail that has been served since time immemorial. It’s an American classic and a splendid drink for the holidays.
Joy Perrine’s Old-Fashioned
1 orange slice
1 maraschino cherry
1/2-ounce simple syrup
5 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 ounces bourbon

In a rocks glass, muddle the orange slice and cherry with the Simple Syrup and bitters. Add the bourbon and a few ice cubes and stir well.

Enjoy the story about Koinonia, the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity:

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