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Everybody Needs a Little…Bourbon?

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.ย  Great-Great-Grandpa went from sweating over a still in the woods to a name on the bottle.

Larry Kass, Communications Director of Heaven Hill Distilleries, shows off a bottle of "Eliijah Craig," named after the Baptist minister credited with creating bourbon whiskey.

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.)

I'm just past Crys (the gorgeous one in green.) See my education face?

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.

Chef Laurent Geroli of the The Brown Hotel, Louisville

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.

Crystal's Mama, Crystal, my Mama and me. Can you tell I've had five bourbon cocktails?

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!

Win the two glasses (sorry--bourbon not included ๐Ÿ™‚


23 Responses

  1. Special thanks to Nick Vaccaro of AEC Management for the photos!

  2. I am learning to like bourbon. Sure would be fun to win this to try with my Mama!

  3. *shudder*. I still have a hangover from my 1989 experience with a burbon cocktail, the SnakeBite…Half and Half Jim Beam and Peppermint Schnapps. You know, half a bottle of Beam, half a bottle of Schnapps…*double shudder*

  4. *sigh* That sounds like so much fun, even if I don’t particularly like bourbon. But the food….

  5. I don’t think I’ve had bourbon, but wow this sounds like fun! can I be your mom and go with you next time???

    • Keri, I recommend you ease into bourbon slowly with the Brown Russian (if you’re a coffee-type) or a mint julep.
      Can you be my mom? Yeah. Right. Maybe in some weird BACK TO THE FUTURE scenario where I’m older than she is…

  6. Interesting, Keri! Sounds like fun. You know, from a purely educational standpoint. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My recent experience with alcohol was getting drunk on the police dime so Academy students could practice the sobriety test. No bourbon though. I went for the vodka with cranberry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My grandma (not my Other Grandmother, the other one), used to drink Jim Beam and water every night before bed. She lived to be 93, so maybe there was something to it…

  7. That sounds like so much fun! I don’t know if I like bourbon or not. I’m sure we have some in the pantry. I’ll go check. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tonight is just the night for a Brown Russian…

    For me time like this (that’s an EVENT, not just jammies and Supernatural on Friday night), I go with three of my closest friends to see Jason Manns play and sing. It’s usually in a big city a few hours away, and the most fun we have all year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. That sounds like SO MUCH fun! I would loved to have been there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I used to drink bourbon and water in college as my “drink of choice”

    And your pictures? Um, the last one looks like you had a blast. Color me green with envy.

    Nice post. Loved the pictures.

  9. Loved this post! Now I feel as if I should go sip some bourbon and look classy. LOL.

    Of course, it’s not even 7:00 am, so probably not.

  10. Most of the time my me-time is spent reading while the kids are sleeping, but once in a great while my sister, friends and I get to go out drinking and dancing… My Hubby is really good about not complaining about that, being as though it only happens a couple times a year =D


    • Emily,
      I think smart men subscribe to the “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” school of thought. A couple nights out a year pays him back dividends I bet.

  11. And the winner is…. @slphilli!

    Please email me at keri at keristevens.com with your shipping addy so I may send you the glasses!

  12. PS: If you didn’t win, stop by my blog tomorrow at http://www.keristevens.com for info on how to win a Kentucky Derby souvenir glass from Churchill Downs!

  13. […] my momma did not listen to me. On a recent Girlsโ€™ Weekend out (visit here and here for the tales of our shenanigans) Momma snuck King Kong into my home and left him where he […]

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