In the year 2000, then head chef Joe Castro of the Brown Hotel in Louisville published a recipe book titled From the Barrel to the Table; Cooking with Classic Kentucky Bourbons. The Brown Hotel has always had a very good selection of Bourbons at the hotel bar even when Bourbon was in decline in the 1970s and 80s. In 2000, Bourbon was just beginning to turn around in popularity and the Brown Hotel was quick to recognize the trend and published this cookbook. It is focused mostly on cooking with Bourbon with many recipes for cooking entrees, Desserts and sweets and Derby favorites, but there is a whole chapter of Bourbon cocktails. I thought I would share a few recipes here.
Bourbon Orange Cider
1 qt. orange juice, 1 qt. apple cider, ½ cup Bourbon, 2 cloves, cinnamon sticks for garnish, sliced orange for garnish.
Combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. To serve, pour over 1 slice of orange and 1 cinnamon stick.
Kentucky Derby Fizz
1 jigger Bourbon, 1 tsp powdered sugar, 1 egg, 3 dashes curacao, 5 dashes lemon juice.
Shake well, strain into a medium size glass, Fill with soda water.
Old-Fashioned Cocktail (Kentucky style)
Crush small lump of sugar in just enough water to dissolve thoroughly. One dash Angostura and two dashes orange bitters. Lump of ice the size of a small egg. 1 jigger of Bourbon. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Garnish with a cherry, pineapple or orange (never more than one fruit at a time).
Crush quarter of lemon, peel and all. Add one jigger of Bourbon; ½ jigger of Orange Curacao. Ice and shake until the shaker is well frosted and strain into a wine glass filled with shaved ice.
To one pint of Bourbon, add ½ pint of coffee cream and the whites of two eggs. Put in one tablespoon of Grenadine. Fill highball glasses half-full of this mixture and fill up with seltzer.
Mix a teaspoon of butter, one of sugar and two or three pinches of cinnamon at the bottom of a rocks glass, adding a jigger of hot water to speed the mixing. Pour in a jigger of Bourbon. Fill the glass with hot water. Serve hot.
You could enjoy these cocktails with an entrée from the book such as grilled pork chop with Bourbon-mustard glaze or a flank steak marinated with Bourbon. The sides could be Baked Hominy Gratin with a Kentucky Farmers Salad. Dessert could be Bourbon walnut pie or Bourbon candied apples. All of these recipes are found in the cookbook. Of course, this cookbook includes a recipe for the Hot Brown, the famous hot turkey open-faced sandwich created at the Brown Hotel in 1926. This sandwich pairs well with a Bourbon cocktail.
The Brown Hotel was a pioneer in the idea of cooking with Bourbon. This cookbook gives many of the recipes used at the hotel under Chef Joe Castro. The book is a classic but out of print, so I highly recommend that if you see it for sale in a flea market or used book store here in Louisville, pick it up and purchase it.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller