It’s hard to believe that 2018 is already over and it’s jarring to start forcing myself to type 2019 in preparation. But 2018 was a great year, and I had some great adventures with Bourbon Veach and Rosemary this year. We went to the New Orleans Bourbon Festival in March, where Michael taught several classes about bourbon history and I taught the bourbon and cigar pairing seminars. We had a great year of The Bourbon Salon at Oxmoor Farm, and we went to New York where we spent four days visiting two distilleries, six cigar lounges/bars, and several cocktail bars. Here are my favorite articles for for 2018:

  1. New York City Cigar Scene – There aren’t any cigar lounges in Louisville thanks to the total smoking ban, so I have to travel outside of my bubble to find new places. New York was practically bursting at the seams with cigar lounges – so many that we did six in one day and barely scratched the surface.
  2. Barefoot Manhattans, The Conclusion – Rosemary and I share a passion for a well crafted Manhattan, and we set out on a quest to discover what makes them tick. After seven months of methodical studying, breaking the cocktail down to its parts, we had enough information to feel secure that we had, in fact, found the ultimate Rosemary and Maggie Manhattan recipe.
  3. Mint Juleps: You’re Doing It Wrong – Call me a Mint Julep Evangelist. Whenever someone says they are supposed to taste like mouthwash with bourbon in it, the claws come out. Mint Juleps are supposed to be good, you’ve just never had a good one.
  4. American Malt Whiskey Cocktails – I have had the genuine privilege this year of getting to know many of the folks who are building the American malt whiskey category, but I had no idea what to do with them when it came to cocktails. I’ve learned a lot about American malt whiskeys, single and straight, and now I know how to incorporate them into cocktails, as well.
  5. Austin Cigar Scene – When I travel to visit distilleries, I also like to check out the local cigar lounges. Austin had some great ones, my favorite of which was a converted Airstream trailer that can be moved for events.
  6. Other Horse Racing Cocktails – Did y’all know there are other horse races than The Kentucky Derby?!? Apparently with those other noteworthy horse races there are also other horse racing cocktails, as well. The Belmont Stakes has The Belmont Jewel, Keeneland has the Keeneland Breeze, and even Churchill Downs has a non-Derby official cocktail, The Woodford Reserve Spire!
  7. Minneapolis Bourbon Scene – While in Minneapolis for the Whiskey on Ice Festival I took the opportunity to check out a couple of local distilleries as well as the whiskey lounges, as cigar bars don’t exist there due to a law prohibiting tobacco and alcohol to be sold at the same place. There are some great whiskey bars there – Minnesotans really love their whiskey!
  8. Brandy Cocktails – Brandy is often overlooked, even though it is a much older spirit than bourbon. It makes great cocktails and there is a wide variety of flavor profiles from which to choose!

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl