Last week I had an invitation to an event that took me out of my comfort zone. Maker’s Mark threw a bourbon tasting dinner complete with bourbon cocktails and the award-winning food from Blythe Beck at Central 214. To be totally candid, my past bourbon drinking days centered on low quality bourbon in a smuggled flask (which may or may not have been duct taped to my leg to get it in the stadium – don’t judge) and Auburn University football. While my husband continues to drink better bourbon, I migrated almost exclusively over to the grape. Sadly, my husband was traveling or he would have definitely found a way to attend this event.
So off I went to experience a four-course dinner with summer custom cocktails designed by Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, one of the top Dallas mixologists, featuring Maker’s Mark. My dining companion had a lot of interesting stories to tell and was happy to help me finish the dishes that I couldn’t polish off on my own, which was an interesting experience in its own right.
We started with a classic aperitif of Makers Mark on the Rocks. Our first course was a spiced apple soup with an aged cheddar crouton matched with the Art of War, a citrus soda style cocktail. It was a delicious match and my favorite drink of the evening.
The other cocktails featured Makers 46, the first new expression from Makers Mark to come out in many years and one that has been compared by bourbon lovers to Coca Cola changing its recipe. Makers Master Distiller Kevin Smith with the assistance of barrel maker and “wood chef” Brad Boswell worked together to find the perfect product to complement the existing Makers Mark recipe.
The second course combined a bacon wrapped lobster tail with Makers Mark Mac and Cheese with an Elderflower New Fashion. Very nice. We were given a sip of unaged Makers Mark which was clear in color and could probably strip the paint off of my house.
The third course was a BBQ beef short rib with a mushroom bread pudding and a Makers Mark demi-glace paired with a Manhattan. The mushroom bread pudding and the maple syrup/caramel notes of the drink were fabulous together.
Our dessert course paired a sugar cookie sandwich with mint lime ice cream and a Makers Mark Crème Anglaise combined with a St Lawrence cocktail worked well. I’m glad that I went – the folks at Makers Mark are great and I definitely have a renewed enthusiasm for bourbon that does not rely on duct tape, football and a hidden flask.