Bourbon & Bowties

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This blog is girly. I get it. It’s rather difficult to be someone that you are not. And I, my friend, am not a man (although sometimes I do think and talk like one).

But the other day, I was thinking of two words for a party and I thought it could be a manly and fun theme – “Bourbon & Bowties.”

While things are rarely original anymore, I did a quick search and discovered people are already doing this for charity functions, but let’s just roll with this party as best as Shot of Brandi* knows how – to totally theme it out. This is how I would execute it.

And how crazy is this fate – I started writing this post on a Sunday and on Monday, my new Wine Spectator came in the mail (yes, I’m a subscriber lol) and it had bourbon as its cover story! FATE.


·         For me, I would recycle my handmade moustaches and emergency bowties from my Oscar’s birthday party for this bash. Both were super easy to make with some craft store specialties like foam paper, sticks, ribbon, hot glue and pins.
·         Provide directions on how to tie the perfect bow tie. You can put them in a cool frame like the one above.
·         For the invitation, there are a lot of bowtie ones out there – but this is a popular baby boy shower theme. I say hijack the template, but make it more man vs. baby.
·         Use bourbon barrels to decorate! You can use them as tables or a base to a bar (see pics below).
·         Buy some airplane mini’s of each flavor and give your guests their favorite brew as a favor! You can even print some fancy “Official Bourbon Taster” certificate (or something more snazzy than that) 

·         Okay, this is the most important part of the party. After all, you are basically staging a bourbon tasting here.
·         For the bourbon beginners, I’d say pick a variety of brands (vs. variety of years). Let’s go with the six that are on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
o   Four Roses
o   Heaven Hill
o   Jim Beam
o   Makers Mark
o   Wild Turkey
o   Woodford Reserve
·         Get some bourbon tasting glasses.
·         Provide sheets for guests to grade the bourbons on:        
o   Appearance (color)
o   Aroma (swirl that glass)
o   Entry (swish it around in your mouth)
o   Finish (what happens after you swallow – and I hope it’s not puke)

·         Here are some recipes for your fete:

·         Surprise your guests with awesome bourbon facts, like:
o   Bourbon is America’s native spirit – it’s one of the only spirits actually invented in the USA
o   Rye Whiskey came from Europe to the Americas, through Pennsylvania and then landed in Kentucky where it was mastered.
o   Each bottle of Maker’s Mark is hand-dipped in red wax – no two bottles are exactly alike
o   Knob Creek Bourbon is named after Abraham Lincoln’s hometown
o   Jim Beam isn’t named after the guy that invented the bourbon. His great, great grandfather Jacob Beam actually created it in 1795! AND Jim Beam is still made with Jacob’s recipe to this day!

·         You may notice on the bottles that there is a difference between whisky, whiskey and bourbon. Here’s a cheat sheet:
o   Whisky: Scottish English, British English and Canadian English
o   Whiskey: Irish English and American English  - also made of at least 51% rye, malted rye, malted barley or wheat
o   Bourbon Whiskey: made from mash that consists of at least 51% corn
o   There is also Tennessee Whiskey – this is Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel, Collier & McKeel and Benjamin Prichard’s. All of these are bottled in Tennessee.
·         Note that there are American brands that use the Scottish spelling. When that happens, they were typically created by a Scottish person!

P.S. – I know a lot of these facts because I worked with bourbon brands for three years – including some of the ones listed above ; )

Oh and boys - I know what you are thinking. Still too girly. OH WELL!!! Ha. 

Let’s play a game. I’m feeling a little uninspired with party themes. Almost everything has been done (although I haven’t featured it – I’ve seen it. Trust me). SO you want me to play out a theme? Email me. I’ll create it!