My friend, Kelly Ramsey, who owns Art Eatables Chocolate Truffles, recently opened a tasting bar at her store on Main Street in Louisville. She invited me down to try it out and Rosemary and I took her up on the offer.
Kelly opened the tasting bar in order to educate customers about Bourbon and Rye whiskey. She uses these products in making her truffles and takes pride in the fact that her truffles retain the flavor of the whiskey she puts in them. She has decided that it would be even better to let the customers taste the whiskey for themselves before purchasing the truffles, so she applied for a liquor license and opened the tasting bar and sells bottles for those who like what they taste.
Kelly told me the idea behind the bar is to educate customers about whiskeys that they might not have tried or even heard of before coming to Art Eatables. She has two price ranges for the tastings -$8.00 and $12.00. The eight dollar tasting is four quarter ounce shots from the bottom two shelves behind the bar. These are whiskeys that are all easy to find in the Kentucky market with the focus on major brands (Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Old Forester, etc.) and Kentucky “Craft” distilleries such as M.B. Roland, Jeptha Creed, and Casey Jones. I decided to do a wheat recipe tasting with Maker’s Mark as a standard, Casey Jones, Barker’s Mill, and Linkumpinch Bonded. I had not had the Casey Jones wheat recipe Bourbon before and I rather liked it. I ended up purchasing a bottle from Art Eatables.
The twelve dollar tasting is four quarter ounce shots from the top shelf behind the bar. These are all whiskeys that Kelly has used to make truffles with and had whiskey left in the bottle. They are products such as Parker’s Heritage 24 year old, Blanton’s, and Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. This selection changes as the bottles are rotated and Kelly replaces them with others from her vast collection.
Kelly does have some rules. First of all, you have to get four different shots. The idea is to let as many people taste these products as possible and to broaden your tasting experience. Next, there is a one flight limit. Art Eatables is not a bar where you can sit for hours and visit with friends. The purpose of the bar is to let people taste whiskeys, not to let them spend hours drinking. Kelly will spend time with the taster and talk whiskey with them, but she does want them to move on and make room for the next customer after a reasonable amount of time. The bar has room for three customers at a time, so you can understand her philosophy behind this attitude.
Kelly eventually wants to add a chocolate pairing to the experience. I suggested four chocolates to pair with the four samples. A white Chocolate, a milk chocolate, a 60% dark chocolate and a 80% dark chocolate is what I suggested, but I am sure Kelly will come up with the perfect chocolate pairing for the whiskey. Art Eatables offers a unique tasting experience. It is reasonably priced and fun. It is only open at this time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but it is hoped that it will be open more often in the future. I think it is the perfect place for a visitor to Louisville who wants a tasting experience that is brand neutral and yet educational. Kelly is doing a wonderful job with her truffles and has always been a great ambassador for Kentucky Bourbon.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller