Bourbon Gift Suggestions

My neighbor recently asked me what bourbon I would recommend as a gift for a coworker.  The occasion is a 50th birthday (so kind of special) and she was looking at something in about the $50 or so range. I figured that this information may benefit others, so here was my response:

There are a lot of options in that range. You could do Blanton’s ($55), Bakers ($48), or Bookers ($60), Woodford Reserve ($45), or Russell’s Reserve ($51). All of these are considered very high quality and would make a bourbon drinker smile.

Since it’s a gift, I would stick to the favorites. I wouldn’t get too creative with choices like Bulleit or Old Scout – both of which I like, but may not be as exciting to some folks.

If you wanted something a little different you could choose a special release of a favorite like Maker’s Mark #46 ($40) or Woodford Reserved Double Oaked ($54). 

Also, I’m assuming you can’t find Rip Van Winkle. If you can, keep it for yourself and get me a bottle too. 

Feel free to leave me a comment if you have other thoughts.




In honor of Bourbon month, I’m dedicating this post to a great little craft mixer that my wife brought back from a recent trip to Charleston, SC. I don’t always go for a cocktail, but if you like an old fashioned, you probably know it’s kind of a pain to make. Bittermilk Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashion is an incredibly easy and tasty way to make one without the fuss. Here’s the gist:

  • Fill a rocks glass with ice
  • Add 4 parts Bourbon (or Rye)
  • Add 1 part Bittermilk No. 1 Flavor
  • Rub a orange rind around the rim of the glass and throw it in
  • Stir

I had Maker’s Mark on hand, so that’s what I used.  The Marker’s worked well since the sweetness is high and the orange rind complimented the maple flavors. After a few minutes, the ice melted a bit and the drink mellowed even more.

Buttermilk Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashion is made with burnt cane sugar, orange peel, gentian root, and cinchona bark, then aged in Willett Bourbon barrels. The label touts that it’s made by humans without preservatives or stabilizers. The result is a rich mix of flavors that will not disappoint.



Bourbon & Bacon


Finally someone has written a book about my two favorite smokey indulgences. Bourbon & Bacon : The Ultimate Guide to the South’s Favorite Food Groups, by Morgan Murphy, is both colorful and entertaining. It’s packed with bourbon recipes, food recipes, and tasting notes on about 75 whiskeys (which would be particularly useful as a quick reference before you pick up your next bottle).

There are also notes on about dozen or so of the country’s top bacon (aka “The Wonder Meat”) purveyors as well as an explanation of the hog’s best cuts and preservation techniques.

It’s a fun read with colloquial anecdotes and witty commentary (check out the appendix of “Morgan’s Top Shelf”). It’s well-designed and has fantastic photography which makes it easy to pick up and thumb through. The book will definitely make a great gift for anyone who likes bourbon and bacon – so basically everybody you know.


Update on October 12, 2014 : My wife made the bourbon and bacon popcorn recipe for a football party and it killed. We will be giving it out to the neighbors for Christmas.