I was in New Orleans over New Year’s week with a big group of friends this past year. We had a great time exploring The Big Easy. But perhaps the lowlight (or comedic highlight, depending on how you look at it), was an exchange at a bar on Bourbon Street when my friend Scott and I went to get a round of drinks for the group:
Scott: What should we get? 8 Miller Lites?
Lori: Look at this! (handing Scott a table-tent advertising something called The Bourbon Cowboy). We should get some Bourbon Cowboys!
Bartender: What will you have?
Scott: 6 Miller Lites and 2 Bourbon Cowboys, please.
Scott: 6 Miller Lites….and 2 Bourbon Cowboys.
Bartender: We don’t have a drink called The Bourbon Cowboy, sir.
Lori: But, it’s right here! (hands him the table-tent)
Bartender: Uhhhh…no. That’s the name of a bar down the street…the same company owns this bar and that bar. Do you want a Hurricane or Long Island instead?
Scott: OK, 6 Miller Lites, 1 Hurricane and 1 Long Island.
We were then served the worst-tasting Hurricane and Long Island in the history of the world. And we were incredibly disappointed, because why ISN’T there a cocktail named The Bourbon Cowboy? That’s a great name for a drink!
To soothe my embarrassment, I came back to Michigan and bought a bottle of Beer Barrel Bourbon, a venture into the distilling business by New Holland, a brewing company located in Holland, MI who makes some excellent beers. I was lured in by the idea of bourbon aged in beer barrels instead of the other way around. I have to say, I don’t really get a hint of beer in this bourbon, but this is good stuff. Am I an expert bourbon drinker? No. But I think this tastes pretty good on the rocks, or mixed into cocktails.
Here’s a round-up of some recipes that I think would be good for using this bourbon (some cocktails, some sweet recipes, and some savory recipes). I haven’t had a chance to personally try them all (yet), but I have a whole bottle of bourbon to experiment!
Top Row, Left To Right
- Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam, by Closet Cooking – Maple, bacon, and bourbon? These are all good things. Bacon jam has been all the rage lately in restaurants around the Detroit area, and for good reason – it’s delicious.
- Bourbon Blood Orange Ginger Fizz, by My Life As a Mrs. – I generally think of bourbon as more of a winter drink (something to take the edge off the freezing Michigan temperatures), but this looks like the perfect refreshing summer drink!
- Bourbon-Cranberry Compote, by Real Simple – I make this for my Mom every Thanksgiving, with a few modifications. I cut back on the sugar, and add a cinnamon stick, and lemon and orange zest.
Middle Row, Left To Right
- Honeycrisp & Bourbon Spiced Cider, by Spoon Fork Bacon – Now, THIS would be perfect for a cold winter day. Honeycrisp apples are the best!
- The New York Sour, by Bon Appetit – I thought it sounded bizarre to have a red wine floater on top of a bourbon drink, until I tried this cocktail. It’s amazing.
- Bourbon Cough Syrup for Grownups, by The Kitchn – Why stop drinking just because you’re sick?
Bottom Row, Left To Right
- Jalapeno & Blood Orange Whiskey Cocktail, by Domestic Fits – I guess I’m on a blood orange kick with these cocktails, but this sounds so unique.
- Bourbon Banana Walnut Bread, by Life Currents – I’ve never considered spiking my banana bread, but I kind of want to start.
- Bourbon Orange Coriander Barbecue Sauce, by Joy The Baker – This looks so bright flavored and tasty. I’ll definitely be trying this for a cookout this summer!