Adele has joined the BarLifeUK family to give a ‘punter’s eye view’ of the bars she visits and cocktails she drinks. While we and our contributors write at some length about how things should be done in bars, it is sometimes easy to forget the customer is the ultimate judge of the bar experience. Hopefully Adele’s blogs will give an insight into the way the bar community is viewed by its patrons. – Andy Ives, Editor.
My very first Bourbon (and blog)
Hello, nice to meet y’all, this is my very first blog so please be nice to me!
I have been hired as a “roving consumer reporter” by BarLifeUK. My hope is to share with you some good bars I visit around the globe, and some of the not so good. Unlike Tim, Andy and The Gooch aka The Stig (‘fraid I don’t know who he is either…but I am going to try make it my mission to find out) I don’t have oodles of behind the bar experience (apart from the odd Uni jobs), but I do have lots of (sitting in) front of the bar experience…
Thursday 8th July
The Exhibit, Balham
Random Balham fact: birth place of Ainsley Harriot
I have been to Exhibit a few times, mainly for drunken dancing and the odd local drink but never have I been there for a real purpose. Exhibit is a much loved Balham local that not only has a bar and good outside area, but also offers an upstairs cinema which screens new and old films. So when I was invited to a Bourbon tasting evening, I thought why not. However, I had never tried Bourbon before (and kept pronouncing it like the biscuits). Bourbon is one of those drinks that conjure up images of cowboys and westerns, deep southern twangs, hard leathery faced men downing shots, a drink not for the faint hearted should I say. So could I be converted to a whiskey drinker?
Our ambassador was a native from Kentucky and whiskey was pretty much part of her family’s way of life and probably in their blood. She gave us an in-depth history of how bourbon came about and was pretty firm on the fact that a real bourbon is made in Kentucky and NOT Tennessee. For the wimpier bourbon drinkers like me, we were given a Kentucky Champagne…
- 35 ml chilled Maker’s Mark
- Fill with chilled Appletiser
- Serve in a champagne flute
And for the more hardcore…
Kentucky Mint Julep
- 50 ml Maker’s Mark
- 8 fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon cold water
Combine in a glass or julep cup over crushed ice and stir. Garnish with a mint sprig.
The Star Maker
- 50 ml Maker’s Mark
- 50 ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice (preferably pink)
- 35 ml Honey Water (honey and water: equal parts)
- 3 mint leaves
Pour all the ingredients in to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.
All in all a good evening, would highly recommend a tasting session or even better, if you are ever lucky enough to head over to Kentucky, I reckon a trip to the distilleries would be a must, just remember to not have a lot planned for the next morning! Loved learning about the history of it all and the Kentucky champagne went down a treat (even went up for seconds), so in my Deep South scoring system, I would honour the evening 8 Kentucky fried chickens out of 10. Would I drink bourbon again? Well, I have definitely been converted to the Kentucky Champagne’s, which I had not ever heard of before the tasting session, but as for drinking it straight, I am yet to be convinced. Think I’d better do some more err research…
My next stop is New York where I am off to Highlands, a classic Scottish Whiskey bar – do I dare mention bourbon to a Scott? Will I become a fully fledged whisko?
Filed Under: Adele Walker
About the Author: Born in Burton upon Trent, home of the breweries, it is fair to say Adele likes a drink or five. After spending her uni years working in London bars (Filthy McNasty's, Three Blind Mice) Adele now has a 'proper' job working in advertising. Describing herself as a bit of a gypsy, she spends a fair amount of her time travelling around the world, visiting lots of drinking holes along the way. Swapping PowerPoint presentations for blogs, Adele has taken on the challenge of becoming a roving consumer reporter for BarLifeUK, giving a punter's eye view of the bar industry. Follow Adele on twitter: http://twitter.com/AdeleLWalker