Michter’s recently re-opened the Bar at Fort Nelson in Louisville. They were the last of the Louisville distillers to re-open during the recent pandemic. Rosemary was excited to go with appropriate precaution and have a Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Manhattan. Michter’s has been cautious about the health of their employees and that is the reason for the long delay in reopening. They set a very high standard to get into the Fort Nelson Distillery. Anyone entering has to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask unless drinking at the bar. The bar has transparent partitions to protect their bartenders and other guests. It felt like a very safe experience.
I had an opportunity to talk at some length with the bar staff. They had worked together as a team to create special cocktails for the re-opening. Michter’s kept them employed on the bottling line while the pandemic kept the bar closed, so they had time to sit down and experiment with some seasonal cocktails. They wanted to use not only Michter’s Bourbon and Rye, but other products from the Michter’s portfolio. They wanted to be a true cocktail bar in their offerings.
The team is headed up by the bar manager Carrie Casler, a woman with 20 years in the industry as a bartender and manager. Joining her are David Tuney and Aaron Queen. They have created several cocktails for the seasonal menu, but all of the old favorites are still on the menu. I do not have the exact recipes for these cocktails, but I have taken the list of ingredients from the cocktail menu. We tried them all and they were all very good. Here is the seasonal menu. You will have to figure out the proportions of the ingredients, or better yet, go to the Bar at Fort Nelson and let the professionals make it for you.
Wake Up To Slow Down
Michter’s US 1 Straight Rye, Manzanilla Sherry, Pear, Chamomile and Honey.
Michter’s US 1 American Whiskey, Faretti Biscotti, Lemon, Peach, Demerara, Pistachio.
Michter’s US 1 Straight Bourbon, Pineapple, Banana, Spiced Gardenia, Cacao.
Farmer’s Organic Gin, Golden Delicious Apple, Cinnamon, Ginger, Sparkling Mineral Water.
Los Siete Misterios Mezcal, Blanco Tequila, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Chocolate, Egg White.
Michter’s US 1 American Whiskey, Los Siete Misterios Mezcal, Falernum, Coconut, Pineapple. Citrus, Whey. Carrie told us this is a “milk punch”. They mix the ingredients and then add milk. After it sets for a day or so, the solids and all of the color are removed as the milk curdles. You then strain the mixture and you are left with a clear cocktail. Amazing!
Crop Organic Vodka, Lemon, Agave Syrup, Ginger, Sichuan Peppercorn, Sage.
The bar team are quick to say that they all had a part in designing these cocktails. They each made several of their favorite recipes and then the team tried them. Each person then offered their input and they adjusted each cocktail using the suggestions. I do believe that this system worked well. I really liked the South Point and Rosemary’s favorite was Wake Up To Slow Down.
We asked the bar staff what their favorite cocktail was on this menu. Carrie Casler liked the Clear Favorite. David Tuney liked the South Point and Aaron Queen liked the Sabrosita. All of the cocktails are very good. The Farmer’s Apple had just enough apple flavor to make it taste of apple, but not overpower the other ingredients. The Sabrosita is a cocktail in the tiki drink tradition and has a nice tropical fruit flavor. The bar staff told me that the Banana Stand is very popular with first time Bourbon drinkers. There is something on this menu for everyone.
When you are visiting Louisville, The Bar at Fort Nelson should be a destination to visit, even if you do not take the distillery tour. The bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The cocktails are excellent and if nothing on this menu is your cup of tea, then you can always get a Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye Manhattan, another classic cocktail from the menu or a flight of Michter’s whiskeys. You will be glad you came.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller