When we moved to Kentucky a few years ago, I was surprised and delighted to find that Kentucky is the home of the USA’s only native spirit: Bourbon whiskey.
The story of Bourbon is an American romance of born ingenuity, hard-work and seedy, seamy sexiness: Settlers in the backwoods of Kentucky brewed up bourbon for their own use from secret family recipes–and in a few short years, business was booming. Liquor barges full of men paid in product floated down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to stock the bordellos and bars of New Orleans. Great-Great-Grandpa went from sweating over a still in the woods to a name on the bottle.
Today, bourbon is elegant, classy: Willow-thin wealthy women in fabulous hats sip mint juleps made of top-shelf bourbon while watching their horses win the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. And thanks to Kentucky’s Bourbon Women initiative, I’ve gotten to dress up (in real dresses, yo!) and learn the intoxicating stories of Kentucky’s signature spirit. (Because that’s why I joined Bourbon Women. For the education.)
Last week, my oldest friend, Crystal of Murphy’s Cabins in Missouri, brought our mothers to their first Bourbon Women event in Louisville, KY at the historic Brown Hotel. We enjoyed a private dinner in the kitchen of Chef Laurent Geroli, who presented Not Your Mama’s Sunday Dinner–a five-course meal for 20 bourbon women.
He gave us the recipes as well as cooking hints and tricks. I’d like to tell you I remember all of those hints and tricks, but while Chef was feeding us, the bar was presenting us with five different cocktails made from Heaven Hill bourbon products.
At first, I worried about which fork to use for my prosciutto-wrapped prawn. By course #3 (and cocktail #3) I was shouting down the table, “Mama, this sure ain’t your Sunday dinner.”
Better than the food and drink, however, was the cameradie. My mother, friends and I seldom take time together just to get out, get away and have fun. I’ll be talking about this event for years and years to come.
If you’re stuck next to me when I wax rhapsodic, have a drink to ease your pain. Order a Brown Russian–two ounces of coffee-flavored liqueur and 3/4 oz bourbon (and many thanks to @justaddbourbon on twitter for both introducing me to Bourbon Women AND chasing down the drink recipe from the Brown Hotel.)
What about you? Do you give yourself “me-time”? How do you and your girlfriends celebrate each other?
CONTEST TIME: A randomly-chosen commenter on this post will win two souvenir Elijah Craig cocktail glasses complete with autographed STONE KISSED coasters to tuck beneath them. Deadline is Sunday, 11/20/11, midnight!