Bourbon + Spice makes everything nice. (Even the intense competition inherent in local award shows!)

I entered 2eat2drink in the Rochester Advertising Federation Addy competition, our local advertising awards. This gave me a chance to review my 2011 annual report. I did 67 posts, with 251 pictures (WOW, no wonder I had no free time!), and had over 12,000 page views (thank you!) in just over ten months! It’s been an extremly fun way to reach out to clients, friends, and friends-to-be around the world, while sharing a little about our lives and highlighting my photography. If this is your first visit I encourage a full review. Those of you looking to get a brief overview, here are some of my favorite and most viewed posts:

The drink of choice for Sam Axe: The Minty Mojito.
Gin + Juice
I like it chunky: Guacamole!
Campfires and the double marshmallow, Special Dark chocolate s’more!
Bourbon Tasting at the Lake
The first post! Honey Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You know you want one…the creamy root beer float!
Gooey, earthy, creamy, pungent French camembert.
The NOLA Margarita
Blimey! That’s a good ale!
Yes, I really did drink prehistoric plant matter deposits.
I want Mahón!

Now that you’ve worked up a thirst, on to the bourbon + spice! This is the cocktail I prepared for Chef Mark’s Thanksgiving feast. It’s a marvelous combination of rich, spicy and sweet. Infusing the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and cloves into dark brown sugar simple syrup is step one. Combine one cup each of water and dark brown sugar in a saucepan.  Bring the mixture just shy of a boil while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 3-4 slices of ginger, 5-6 cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks, remove the pan from the heat and let steep for about an hour. Strain before use.

Over ice in a rocks glass add 2 oz. bourbon, 1 oz. cinnamon ginger clove simple syrup, 1 oz. Trader Vic’s Kona Coffee liqueur, and 3-4 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters. Stir, garnish and enjoy. (Bottle and store the remaining syrup in the refrigerator.)

Cheers to the Addy judges and all those who work hard to make the Addys a great event!

The Bourbon + Spice cocktail!

The rich, sweet and spicy ingredients!

Willett Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was my choice for Bourbon + Spice.

Bourbon Tasting at the Lake

Admittedly, as fall is approaching, I’m a bit behind in getting this post out. Our good friend Stuart came to visit and we decided to do a small bourbon tasting at the Keuka Lake cottage. There is nothing quite like sitting on the front porch of the cottage, looking at the scenic vista of a Keuka Lake sunset. Add four bourbons to the mix and it all gets better!

Our four bourbons, waiting to be tasted. Which one to try first?

We started with the Black Maple Hill Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It had a sharp start with a surprising touch of vanilla and a nose of sherry. This led into hints of pepper and spice. The finish had a taste of tobacco, but was very smooth.

Next was the Willett Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The scent was of oranges and caramelized honey. The taste was very sweet to start, with a touch of vanilla, pepper, and tobacco. The vanilla carried over to the finish with strong notes of molasses and dark honey.

We then tried the Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey. There was a strong scent of vanilla mixed with apricot, cherry, and almonds. Overall, this bourbon was more refined and sweeter most of the way through with the taste of sweet tea, vanilla, butterscotch, and apricot. It had a smoky oak and tobacco finish.

Last up was Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. The nose is sharp and smoky. It is fairly sweet with a taste of molasses and a hint of vanilla. The details are slightly blurred on this one, but by all accounts, this is considered a good “starter” bourbon. It could easily be a staple on most bars as a great mixer.

Stuart taking in the sunset with his favorite, the baby bourbon.

Four vastly different bottles, each with its own unique taste and character.

The Hudson Baby Bourbon is hand-numbered.

Not having tried many bourbons before all at the same time, I was impressed with the subtle differences that set each one apart. Both Stuart and I gave the Hudson Baby Bourbon a slight edge as the most complex and refined, but I wouldn’t hesitate to indulge in any of these bourbons again.

Cheers to a Keuka Lake sunset!

The peaceful view from the porch.