This is a collaboration of two of Louisville’s most talented women in the liquor industry. The late Joy Perrine had one of the best palates I have ever seen. She could take one whiff of the aroma and a sip of the whiskey and pick out the flavors she wanted to bring out in her cocktail. Joy liked to keep them simple and make sure the other ingredients complimented the whiskey and not overpower it. These recipes are mostly her own creation and compiled on scraps of paper as she created them. That is where the other talented woman, Susan Reigler, comes in. As a journalist who worked for the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper as a restaurant critic and food and drinks writer, she was fond of Joy’s cocktails. She convinced Joy that there needed to be a book of her recipes and as a very talented writer, she would help Joy compile the book. They made a great team. The book is so successful that they did a second volume. Unfortunately, Joy recently passed away after battling with health problems for years. There will not be a volume three unless Joy’s family find more recipes in her papers. 

The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler. The University Press of Kentucky, 2009. Contents, Preface, Illustrated, Glossary, Index, pp.135.

Joy Perrine is the best known and most acclaimed bartender in the city of Louisville. She was serving drinks at Jack’s Lounge and this was where she teamed up with Susan Reigler for this book. Joy has a great appreciation for Bourbon whiskey and loves to create cocktails using Bourbon. She has been collecting recipes for years and this book is a combination of traditional cocktails and creations from the mind of Joy Perrine.

The book begins like a basic cocktail book with a chapter on setting up your bar with the tools of the trade. The next chapter starts setting this book apart from the normal cocktail book as Perrine starts discussing how to make “Infusions” with bourbon and gives the recipes for many different fruit and spice-infused bourbons. She then gives some cocktail recipes for these “Infused” bourbons. There follows a chapter of “Classic” bourbon cocktails, succeeded by “Joy’s Award-Winning Bourbon Cocktails, and then bourbon cocktails by the calendar – Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter – cocktails to fit each season. There are some bourbon recipes showing the sweet side of bourbon and then there are recipes from the bourbon distillers. Finally, there is a chapter on foods to serve with cocktails titled “Nibbles”. This chapter recommends snacks that will compliment cocktails as well as having recipes for different sauces such as “Henry Bain’s Sauce” and “Benedictine”.

The book is very well laid out and looks nice. It is small and easy to carry around and is well-indexed. There are not an abundance of illustrations, but what there are in the book are very well done and in color. This book is a very good book for any bourbon lover’s bar library.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller