Today’s Reason To Drink

Hearts (and lips) on Fire

I tried an amazing new cocktail last night when I took over the Forecastle Festival‘s Instagram in honor of National Bourbon Day. Not sure why they trusted me with their account, but they were buying the drinks, so I didn’t ask.

One of our stops was at Silver Dollar, the fun honky-tonk bar and restaurant on Frankfort Avenue. Apparently, they change their cocktail menu every season, and this is the tail end of their spring offerings.

So if you read this, go now! Because it won’t be there much longer, the cute, blonde bartender told me.

It’s called Hearts on Fire, and it’s made with Buffalo Trace, blood-orange-pineapple-jalapeño shrub, lime and soda. Holy hell, it was delicious. And the jalapeño stung my lips after each sip — in a good way.

I might have to find my way back there this weekend to try it again … and maybe again. The bartender also said they’d probably have that shrub around for a while, so I should ask her for it, even if it’s not on the menu. Would you consider that flirting?

Bar Belle from 6/13/17 Insider Louisville: Zima returns!

Liquid dream come true.

There was a part of me who never thought this day would come. That Zima would never be re-released into U.S. public consumption for all (who are 21 and over) to enjoy.

Well, it’s here. And I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I got the text from Big Bar owner Kevin this morning saying a shipment of Zima was on its way. I rushed over to watch them roll the case in, and on the way I grabbed a bag of Jolly Ranchers.

Here’s a Bar Belle column entailing just how exciting this is for me. And I’m here to report Big Bar was the first bar to receive Zima, with others following very soon. Like tomorrow, and definitely by the weekend.

Zima. It’s zomething zifferent.

Today’s Reason To Drink

Jimmy Russell with his wife Joretta — and a weird fan

Had a fun time Saturday at Whisky Live, also known as Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for bourbon lovers. I tried whiskeys from around the world, including a Mexican whiskey made with black corn. I mostly did it for a free cowboy hat, but I did consume the entire sample.

My favorite taste of the night had to be the Four Roses Al Young 50th Anniversary bourbon — and I kept bothering Al for samples all night long. He didn’t seem to mind, though.

I also ran into Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey, Pam Heilmann of Michter’s, Brent Elliott of Four Roses and many others. I mostly stayed with bourbon, and only tried one scotch, which I chose not to swallow.

For the moment, I’m taking a break from bourbon … until National Bourbon Day on Wednesday, that is.

Today’s Reason To Drink

Don’t ax me to do it again.

Last night I attended the first-ever Jeptha Games at the new Jeptha Creed Distillery in Shelbyville. The event was part of the annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair, which started this week and ends with the Whisky Live event on Saturday.

The games included archery, ax throwing and foot golf — which is part soccer, part golf. I did not win any, but I did score a bull’s-eye with an ax.

My favorite part of the night was tasting the new Bloody Butcher’s Creed, the distillery’s first bourbon offering.

It was sweet and had flavor notes uncommonly found in most bourbons, which might be attributed to the bloody butcher corn they use in their recipe. These flavors are definitely a good thing, and I can’t wait to try this bourbon as it ages.

If you’ve never been, Jeptha Creed is an easy drive on 64 toward Lexington. And it’s really only the next exit past the outlet malls — so it’s quick, easy and beautiful.

Today’s Reason To Drink

Mall of America is no Panama City.

During our daily news meeting this morning, my coworkers were joking about the Mall of America in Minnesota — who goes there and why, etc.

I mumbled that I had gone there for my senior year spring break in high school, and the room first went silent — and then flooded with roars of laughter.

Yes, while other kids my age were experimenting with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll on the beaches of Florida, me and two of my friends (Kristy and Katie) were wandering around the largest mall in the world and anticipating our meals at Planet Hollywood. I never said I was cool.

And for the record, we had a blast at the mall, and it was the first time any of us had been on vacation alone — without parents. We stayed up late, talked about our future and the sophisticated lives we’d be living now, and, well, went shopping!

Right on!

This was the spring before I started college and would try tequila for the first time. And beer. And Zima. And … you get the picture.

The moral of the story: I’m about 10 years behind everyone else, and I still rock a Planet Hollywood T-shirt on occasion.