If we’ve learned one thing from the bourbon boom it’s that every cocktail can be a bourbon cocktail if you want it to be. We make our Bloody Marys with bourbon in Kentucky for heaven’s sake! One Kentucky Classic is the Kentucky Mule, a bourbon version of the popular vodka cocktail the Moscow Mule which kicks up the complexity of your basic bourbon dark and stormy flavor profile with a little lime and mint. Typically this is going to be a mixture of bourbon, lime juice, ginger beer, and mint. It’s such a classic that two distilleries have come up with their own versions, one with brandy and one with moonshine. Thanks to new legislation that allows distilleries to serve cocktails. So if you’re in Kentucky this Labor Day weekend (or other times) for Bourbon Heritage Month, you can stop in for a drink at either location.
Jeptha Creed is a unique new craft distillery located in Shelbyville, Kentucky which has been open less than a year. Already in that time they have become a leader in distil-ertainment, hosting weekly live music events, dinners, and even the Jeptha Games during The Kentucky Bourbon Affair. As they wait for their Bloody Butcher Corn bourbon to age they are producing several varieties of flavored moonshines and vodkas, but with a farm-to-table twist – all the flavors come from natural sources, such as fruits grown on the family farm as well as surrounding farms. This recipe developed by their top-notch bar team is made with their unaged Bloody Butcher Corn moonshine infused with blackberries from the local area:
- 2 oz/60 mL Jeptha Creed Blackberry Moonshine
- 4 mint leaves
- 1/2 oz/15 mL fresh lime juice
- 2 oz/60 mL ginger beer
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- top with soda
Muddle mint, lime, and simple syrup in a copper mug. Add the ginger beer, whiskey, and ice. Top with soda and stir to combine. Garnish the mug with a lime wedge and a mint sprig.
Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery set up shop right in the heart of bourbon country with the goal of making brandy for bourbon drinkers. Their signature product is Butchertown Brandy, a fruit brandy that is aged in bourbon barrels. This brandy distillery proves there’s nothing bourbon can do that brandy can’t do, and their mixologists have come up with brandy versions of every imaginable bourbon cocktail, including this riff on the Kentucky Mule:
- 2 oz/60 mL Copper & Kings Immature brandy lime juice
- 1/2 oz/ 15 mL fresh lime juice
- 4 oz/120 mL Butchertown Soda Ginger Beer
- lime wedge
Muddle a lime wheel at bottom of glass, avoiding peel. Add Immature Brandy. Add ice. Top with Ginger Beer. Squeeze lime wedge, drop in glass.
Bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts are always at the forefront of rediscovering forgotten spirits such as moonshine (unaged whiskey) and brandy. All cocktails don’t have to be rigid classics that never change – there are plenty of new classics hitting the scene thanks to the popularity of the craft cocktail movement and the creativity of the bartenders leading the way. And now thanks to the craft distillery boom there are enough under-appreciated spirits being produced to keep people experimenting for a long time to come.