Liz Roach: Bourbon Classic, Round 2

Liz RoachWhen “pixie dust” is a featured part of a dish, you know you’re in for an amazing taste experience.  Sprinkled atop smoked oysters, the magical ingredient conjured up an award for “Best Classic Small Plate” for Chef Levon Wallace at this year’s Bourbon Classic event.  Chef Wallace (formerly of Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky) has now moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work for Cochon Butcher, but the memory of his and other bournon-tinged creations lives on.

Set at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, this year’s Classic again delivered an unforgettable program of smoothly finished events. The opening night featured an array of mouth-watering dishes and beguiling cocktails, such as Diane Rehm of Feast’s concoction of apricot and black pepper bourbon sour featuring Russell’s Reserve 10 year. Chefs and bartenders expertly paired dishes and signature drinks in two categories (classic and contemporary) to compete for the coveted Bourbon Classic barrelheads.  Following the competition, attendees headed across the street to Chef Edward Lee’s restaurant Milkwood for the after-party and additional cocktails (because really, there are never enough).

2015-02-21+20.02.02On Day two, participants filed into “Bourbon Classic University” classes, where they honed their knowledge on topics such as country ham and bourbon pairings and bourbon flavor profiles.  A highlight of the day occurred in John Shutt of Blanton’s workshop, where he expounded on the art of entertaining with whiskey (which requires thoughtful consideration, if you do it right). In between classes, a master distillers session featured a gathering of the greats giving their thoughts and stories. The event ended with another round of bountiful food and bourbon, as guests congratulated themselves on surviving another year with intact livers and improved palates.

Planning has already begun for next year’s Bourbon Classic, which will take place in the winter of 2016. Click here for details.

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