Camp Runamok- The Recap

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Since it’s National Bourbon Day, it seems fitting that I give y’all a recap of my time at camp!

I told y’all a few weeks ago that I was heading to Kentucky to spend time with some like-minded folks who share the same passion for spirits as I do. Besides meeting 160 of the best humans on earth, I learned a ton. I probably learned more about bourbon and whiskey in one week than I have in my 6 years in the industry. The experiences from camp are some that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

I’ll spare you the details of our time in between distillery tours, we drank well and we ate well and I loved every second.

Below is a list of distilleries I visited and what I took away from each one. I sampled many a whiskey and took many a photo. I’ll update this post with photos as soon as I can!

Woodford Reserve
Large and by far the most beautiful of the distilleries, Woodford was breathtaking. From the creek (crick if your’re southern like me) running through the property to the limestone rickhouses, it was something special. Climbing a 4 story rickhouse and pulling our very own bourbon from a cask was amazing and to walk through it with Chris was remarkable too. I especially enjoyed our mini class on yeast. As a non-scientist or baker for that matter, yeast is foreign to me so to learn about strains, growth and how yeast thrives was really interesting to me!
Brown Forman Cooperage
Probably the most surprising of the tours, I was blown away by the work that it takes to raise these casks. Who knew that those fellas could build up to 5,000 in a day? In all of 5 minutes, I watch a fella but 2 together like it was nothing. The most mesmerizing part though? Watching those same casks go through the charring process. I could’ve watched those barrels roll over that fire all day.
Buffalo Trace
This was one of two facilities where we got to see the bottling line, the room was so small and there were so few people in there working, I was surprised by the efficiency of those folks. Our tour guide, Jimmy was a hoot. I could’ve listened to him talk all day. Actually, my most memorable moment from that tour was sampling EH Taylor and listening to Jimmy give us a history lesson on bottled in bond in a house that was built in 1792.
Four Roses
Holy pretty buildings batman. Besides sitting through an amazing lunch and a tasting with John Rea, the tour was pretty spectacular. Walking into the fermenting room and seeing all those fermenters from up top was cool. It really put it into perspective seeing how much whiskey is being made at these facilities. Plus our tour guide was the cutest, I wanted to put him in my pocket and keep him forever.
Wild Turkey
Sitting in a rickhouse with Jimmy Russell will go down as one of the most memorable moments of my life. I’ve sold his brand for such a long time and to listen to him talk about his whiskey with such passion and sincerity was something I’ll always remember. Who get’s to do that? I mean to ask a legend all the questions, you’ve ever wanted to ask? That was insane. The lemonade stand and the bottled manhattan were fantastic touches, I especially enjoying waddling my ass out onto that bridge booze in hand. This might have been my favorite distillery experience of the week.
Stitzel Weller
Second to Wild Turkey was my most amazing afternoon with Tom Bulleit and friends. I still can’t believe that I got to help with making a Bulleit 100% Rye and that there’s a barrel aging said whiskey with my signature on it.  I mean, who does that? It didn’t hurt that the incredibly funny and charming Tom Bulleit led our tasting. As great as all that was, the thing I’ll take with me from Stitzel Weller was listening to the women at the distillery educate us on sensory tests, quality control and innovation. It’s always amazing to see women doing amazing things especially in a male dominated industry.
If you guys ever get the chance to visit any of the distilleries, do it. Taste the things, take the photos, it’s all worth it!
Happy Bourbon Day, Y’all!

Happy Cucumber Day, Y’all!

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Who knew there was a day dedicated to the cucumber? I didn’t, but I’ll gladly celebrate!

Bars all over the city are celebrating with Hendrick’s Gin. The fellas at 204 North are celebrating by featuring a cocktail they call A Walk In The Garden, made with Hendricks’s Gin, Cucumber, honey, elderflower and soda water! Looking for something a bit different, Soul Gastrolounge will feature a Hendrick’s Gin cucumber shaved ice! I hear other bars like Murphy’s and Sip are participating too.

Where ever you decide to celebrate, do it responsibly!

Cheers, y’all!

 

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I’m going to camp…

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guys, guys, guys, I’m going to camp! Like, legit summer camp! For 6 days, I’ll be in the Kentucky wilderness with 125 of my fellow whiskey nerds. We’re gonna see umpteen distilleries, learn all things whiskey and definitely have some fun in between. I am beyond lucky to be chosen for this incredible experience, I can’t wait to share with you guys what I learned. Until then, check out the video in the link below!!!

 

Camp Runamok

 

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Happy Repeal Day!!

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December 5, 1933 marks one of the most glorious days in United States History, the end of Prohibition!

To give y’all a quick history lesson, in 1920 a ban on the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol was mandated by the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. 13 years later and the ratification of the 21st Amendment, we have legal booze again! Yay!

So on December 5th, celebrate. Head to your favorite watering hole and have a beer, a whiskey or your favorite prohibition-era craft cocktail, however you choose to celebrate, do it responsibly!

Cheers!

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Cheers to the Queen City Cocktail Tour

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I love how Charlotte and it’s people are getting excited about food, beer and booze. I mean, who doesn’t loved an expertly crafted cocktail?

A friend of mine at Liberate Your Palate has created a unique experience for just those people, Cheers to the Queen is cocktail tour that allows consumers to visit different bars and try cocktails featured specifically for this program.

Here’s the breakdown. Go to Liberate Your Palate to buy your passbook. Take your book to places like Heist Brewery, Dogwood Southern Table or one of the other 13 participating venues and receive a tasty libation and a stamp for your passbook. Simple as that.

Cheers to the Queen runs until September 15th, I’ve already got mine, join me and we can tour the town together!

Mixology Lab w/ Bob

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There are plenty of reasons to love spring, the warm weather, the cocktails and the new fruits and herbs to go with them.

Won’t you join us on Saturday May 9th at Earl’s Grocery for a mixology class with Bob Peters? Bob will be teaching us how to make spring inspired herbal infusions and syrups to add to our patio cocktails. See y’all at 2:30pm, don’t be late!

Earl’s Grocery

1609 Elizabeth Ave. Charlotte, NC

Get to know Bob Peters

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If you live in Charlotte, chances are you’ve met Bob Peters at Pisces Sushi. This dude can make one hell of a cocktail and the locals know it.

Charlotte’s cocktail culture has expanded ten fold and Bob, a native of Charlotte has been instrumental making that happen. He is a mad scientist and a genius at infusing spirits to make one-of-a-kind cocktails.

We’re super proud of Bob as he’ll be taking a position with The Punch Room at the Ritz Carlton, we can’t wait to stop in for one of Bob’s famous concoctions.

Check out the video below to get to know Mr. Peters!!