Friday, January 24, 2014

Bourbon Classic Announces Schedule of Events

Now in its second year, the Bourbon Classic is focusing again on Louisville's world-class culinary and bartending talent. It will take place at the Kentucky Center for the Arts next weekend, January 31 and February 1, 2014.

The Bourbon Classic is designed to attract bourbon enthusiasts and culinary adventurists from across the country to a forum that addresses all aspects of bourbon whiskey, from distilling to food pairings. A complete cross-section of the Bourbon industry will attend: distilling legends, writers, chefs, bartenders, expert connoisseurs, and casual enthusiasts.

Friday, January 31, will focus on entertainment with the Cocktail Challenge, featuring contemporary and classic cocktails, and small plates, prepared by teams of master bartenders and chefs, with each team representing a different bourbon producer. MC Jared Schubert, winner of the 2013 Bourbon Classic Cocktail Challenge, will guide attendees through the event. Cocktail and small plate pairings will be judged by an expert panel including Jennifer Cole, Southern Living; Joy Perrine, Jack’s Lounge; and Chef Albert Schmid.

Participating teams are as follows: Angel's Envy (Bradley Hammond, Decca. Chef Terry French, winner of Food Network’s Extreme Chef 2012, Philadelphia). Blanton's (Chris Wilkins, Proof on Main. Chef Levon Wallace, Proof on Main). Buffalo Trace (Colin Shearn, El Camino. Chef Jonathan Lundy, Jonathan's at Gratz Park, Lexington). Jim Beam (Isaac Fox, Volare. Chef Josh Moore, Volare). Michter's (JR Schiavi, Jack Fry's. Chef Shawn Ward, Jack Fry's). Wild Turkey (Susie Hoyt, Silver Dollar. Chef Tyler Powell, Silver Dollar). Woodford Reserve (Jacquelyn Zykan, La Coop. Chef Bobby Benjamin, La Coop).

Saturday, February 1, will focus on education and entertainment. It begins with a Welcoming Session with master distillers and brand ambassadors including: Wes Henderson (Angel’s Envy), Fred Noe (Jim Beam) Harlen Wheatley (Buffalo Trace), Tom Bulleit (Bulleit Bourbon), Daniel Preston (Cacao Prieto Artisan Distillery), Colin Spoelman (King’s County Distillery), Willie Pratt (Michter’s), Dave Schmier (Redemption Bourbon), Drew Kulsveen (Willett). Author Fred Minnick will MC this session, sponsored by the Urban Bourbon Trail.

The Bourbon Classic University will include the following sessions: The Bottle and the Board: How Bourbon Pairs with Cheese, Bourbon Recollections…A Trip Through Time, Entertaining with Bourbon Tastings, Exploring the World of Bourbon & Bitters, Bourbon Flavor Profiles, The Essential Ingredient: Exploring the Creative, Culinary Side of Bourbon, Bourbon & the Bean: What do Chocolate & American Whiskey Have in Common, Five Essential Ingredients for Your Home’s Bourbon Bar, and Bourbon and Beer – A Beautiful Marriage. Sets of four sessions will be offered and attendees will have the opportunity to choose which sessions to join.

(I'm hosting the Bourbon Recollections session, with Fred Noe and Freddie Johnson.)

The Bourbon Marketplace will offer exhibits and displays featuring Bourbon tastings, book signings, food tastings, and culinary and Bourbon-related products. Bourbon Culinary Tastings prepared by Coby Lee Ming, Harvest, Brian Enyart, El Camino, Levon Wallace, Proof on Main, and Ouita Michel, Holly Hill Inn. Some of the bourbon industry’s most well-known brands are sponsoring the event. The Urban Bourbon Trail is the welcoming sponsor of this event joining Buffalo Trace Distillery, Michter’s Distillery, Blanton’s, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey Bourbon, Woodford Reserve, Angel’s Envy, Belle Meade, Bingham Greenbaum Doll, LLP, Bulleit Bourbon, Cacao Prieto Artisan Distillery, Jefferson’s, Kings County Distillery, Old Forester, Redemption Bourbon, Spirits on Ice, LLC, Western Spirits, Wildcat Water, and Art Eatables.

Barnes & Noble will have a pop-up shop offering relevant books for sale and several authors (including me) will be available to sign them.

The Bourbon Classic was co-founded by Tony Butler of FSA Management Group, an established event planning company based in Louisville; and Justin Thompson, Seth Thompson, and Bob Eidson of The Bourbon Review.

"The second year of this truly comprehensive event offers an expanded focus on culinary exploration and enjoyment,” said Tony Butler. “The expanded program of this annual event is more diverse than ever.”

"This event is a natural progression in what we do to promote the bourbon lifestyle: the craftsmanship, the authenticity, the traditions; and marry that with the eclectic epicurean culture of Central Kentucky,” said Seth Thompson.

Tickets are available by calling the Kentucky Center for the Arts at 502-584-7777. Details are available at

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