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Saturday, May 7, 2011

DIY Bourbon Tasting Bar

A guest post by Calder Clark.
If you think Southern weddings are all about peonies, parasols, and pink bows, you just wait... 
Case in point: one of our clients let us have a little fun at their fall wedding down on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, recently. When tasked with conjuring up a cocktail activity that was Southern and sure to be a crowd pleaser, we jumped at the challenge. And that's exactly how our small batch bourbon bar (pictured below) was born.
My groom dutifully “researched” the barrel-aged sauce while we spent the summer haunting antique malls for a collection of old cut crystal decanters and vintage cocktail glassware. After selecting two beautiful charred oak barrels as a table base, we had our production team build and patinate a thick piece of copper for the bar top. A few leather-handled ice buckets and pewter ice scoops later, and voilà—the cocktail hour pièce de résistance was finally assembled.
Guests literally drank us out of house and home, which is the ultimate goal of course. I think I saw some elbow-throwing as folks bellied up to the bar to sample the various batches.
With or without a production team, all you really need for a party version of this idea is great bourbon and great friends. We provided the list of bourbon!
Here are some of our go-tos: 
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select
Labrot & Graham
Versailles, Kentucky
Aged, Unknown
Proof 90.4
Ridgemont Reserve 1792
Barton Brands Distilling
Bardstown, Kentucky
Aged, Eight Years
Proof 93.7
Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Jim Beam Distillery
Clermont, Kentucky
Aged, Eight Years
Proof 80
Jefferson’s Reserve
McClain & Kyne Distillery
Bardstown, Kentucky
Aged, Twelve to Fourteen Years
Proof 90.2
Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve
Old Rip Van Winkle’s Distillery
Louisville, Kentucky
Aged, Fifteen Years
Proof 107
Four Roses Small Batch
Four Roses Distillery
Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
Aged, Unknown
Proof 90
**One more takeaway tip: we had crushed ice, fresh mint, lemons, and limes available on the off chance that garnishes were needed . . . but almost all enjoyed it neat. 
Photo credits: A Bryan Photo

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