Cheers to National Bourbon Day, June 14, 2012

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“That’s what I love about Kentucky, you guys just wanna watch horses, drink bourbon, and eat a lotta great food.”

–Bobby Flay, Rupp Arena, October 4, 2009

Every day is Bourbon Day when you live in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky’s beautiful bluegrass region, but officially: it is “celebrated” or “observed” on June 14. Here are a few greatest hits on the topic:

Bobby Flay: Boy Meets Bluegrass  Ace October 2009… does everyone remember that one time, that one guy offered Bobby Flay Pappy Van Winkle out of the trunk of his car?

And who can forget this taste: A Toast to WEG with the Bluegrass Breeze, the official drink of the World Equestrian Games Ace September 2010

Congratulations to the University Press of Kentucky: Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook Wins Gourmand Award Ace January 10, 2011

And it isn’t just for drinking. Chef Tom provided the Ace readers with the guidelines for Cooking at Home With Bourbon after the 2010 Kentucky Bourbon School (which he taught for years). You can watch video from the 2009 Festival here.  Try his bourbon-marinated grilled tenderloin at home.

And, finally, can anyone sip a Bluegrass Breeze bourbon cocktail without instantly conjuring up images of either Sweet Evening Breeze, or Belle Brezing? Maybe you were supposed to.

Juleps are old news by June. Here is Chef Tom’s recipe for the Bluegrass Breeze.

Bluegrass Breeze

2 oz. Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey
1 oz  DeKuyper Orange Curacao
4 oz  Ginger Ale
Garnish: Orange slice
Mix the ingredients together and pour over ice, garnished with an orange slice.
Curacao is a liqueur flavored with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit grown on the island of Curacao and has a bitter sweet orange flavor. It is naturally colorless, but is often artifically colored with blue or orange, with the flavor remaining the same. The bitter orange pairs beautifully with the Makers Mark and ginger ale to create a light refreshing cocktail. As refreshing as a bluegrass late summer  breeze. Although the flavor is the same, the color used greatly affects the appearance of the cocktail. The orange curacao is the official chosen one, resulting in a golden amber cocktail.  The more widely-used blue curacao lends a blue-ish tropical flare to the signature cocktail.

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