Trending this Autumn and into Winter, Bourbon is Back. And let’s be honest…any season tis the season for Bourbon, America’s Native Spirit. Right? Get into the Bourbon spirit with a little history and Bourbon cocktails, recipes courtesy of Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and The Gemstone Collection.
An American Tradition: Bourbon Cocktails
Vodka keeps Russians warm on Siberian nights, and images of iconic Britons from Beefeaters to Queen Victoria adorn bottles of English gin. The Scottish Highlands are home to the world’s most marvelous malts, and fine cognac will be forever French. But Bourbon is an American original, born in the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee and proclaimed by Congress as “a distinctive product of the United States.” This autumn season (and every season!), bourbon is the ideal beverage to warm the inner soul! Let’s talk about Bourbon, its history, and then it’s time for you to mix up our bourbon cocktail recipes.
Today, this legendary “sippin’ whisky” is trending in watering holes across America and beyond. Sales of distilled spirits, especially top-tier Bourbon brands, are a robust $72 billion annually and outpace sales of all other liquors, according to Fortune magazine. Exports to countries such as Canada, Germany, and the UK grew from $743 million in 2005 to $1.56 billion in 2015.
History of Bourbon
“America’s Native Spirit,” Bourbon, was born in the early 18th century in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and quickly became part of the American experience. Distillers, working legally and otherwise, developed their own unique brands of this corn-based whisky, usually named for the owner of the distillery. Many of these survive today, including such legendary labels as Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.
Bourbon cocktails appear in the hands of America’s favorite film stars and fictional characters. Southern Belle Daisy Buchanan sipped Mint Juleps in The Great Gatsby. Despite Prohibition, Marilyn Monroe, as Sugar Kane, always found a favorite bottle of Bourbon in Some like It Hot. Old Fashioneds were among the preferred poisons of adman Don Draper. James Bond’s hangover cure in Live and Let Die was Eggs Benedict and a pint of Jack Daniels. Frank Sinatra was a devoted fan of Jack Daniels and reportedly was buried with a bottle of Old # 7.
America’s literary lions sang Bourbon’s praises. Said Mark Twain, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Mystery writer Raymond Chandler proclaimed, “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” William Faulkner needed pen, paper and a pint of Four Roses to inspire him.
Bourbon is Back and Bigger Than Ever
Encouraged by more liberal liquor laws, craft distilleries are springing up around the country and partnering with bars and restaurants to produce new, signature cocktails. Bars and restaurants at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and The Gemstone Collection® properties teamed up with local distilleries this autumn to offer some new twists on America’s favorite whiskey, while looking to local traditions and ingredients.
With fall weather arriving, several bars used local maple syrup for a perfect autumnal cocktail. In honor of America’s Spirit and Spirits, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and The Gemstone Collection properties across the country offer these Bourbon cocktail recipes.
At The Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Coopers Craft Kentucky Bourbon is a favorite.
Other rare brands and blends served at Benchmark & Gemstone-brand properties include Bulleit Frontier Whiskey and Breckenridge Bourbon, while icons like Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniels remain perennial favorites.
Recipes: Bourbon Cocktails
Read on for 8 unique recipes for bourbon cocktails!
Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia, has teamed with Smooth Ambler Spirits, an award-winning craft distillery producing “Patiently Crafted Appalachian Spirits.” Marking the passing of golf great Arnold Palmer, Stonewall Resort’s bar staff created the “Ambling Arnold.”
1. Ambling Arnold (Smooth Ambler Spirits)
- 2 oz Iced Tea
- 1 ¾ oz Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon
- ¾ oz Simple Syrup
- ¾ oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice SHAKE, STIR
- Garnish with fresh sprig of mint and twist of citrus
2. Eaglewood Maple Manhattan
Classic Makers Mark Bourbon teams with locally produced Sugarbush Maple Syrup for this sophisticated cocktail at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Chicago.
- 1.5 oz Makers Mark Bourbon Whiskey
- .5 oz Danielson’s Sugarbush Maple
- A Splash of Dry Vermouth
- Garnish with Cherries
- Serve Over Ice
Bourbon cocktail: Eaglewood Maple Manhattan Photo credit: Eaglewood Resort, Chicago.
Makers Mark is also the choice of bartenders at The Heldrich Hotel (New Brunswick, NJ), enhanced with autumn flavors of apples and maple syrup.
3. Bourbon Apple Cider
- 3 parts Makers Mark Bourbon
- 1 part Sour Apple Schnapps
- 3 parts Spiced Apple Cider
- 1 tsp Maple Syrup
- Dash of Lemon juice
- Dash of cinnamon
- Garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick
Mixologists at Chaminade Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant, Linwood’s Bar & Grill, utilize Bulleit Bourbon Whisky in the “Black Pearl.” Santa Cruz, California is home to this bourbon cocktail. Blending Bulleit’s bold spicy characters with the savory sweetness of blackberry puree. Cheers to these combined flavors and this perfect savory spiced fall cocktail.
4. The Black Pearl
- 1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
- .5oz Blackberry Puree
- ½ lime juice
- Top with ginger beer
Cheyenne Mountain Resort (Colorado Springs, Colorado) brings a Rocky Mountain High to this special bourbon cocktail, made with Local Breckenridge Bourbon made in the world’s highest distillery with pure water from Rocky Mountain snow melt.
5. Zesty Breck & Blue
- 8 blueberries, muddled
- 2 ounces Breckenridge Bourbon
- Splash of simple syrup
- Splash of club soda
Squeeze juice from one orange wedge. Toss ingredients together twice in shaker. Serve over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange slice
Tennessee also claims a proud Bourbon heritage, honored in The Chattanoogan Hotel’s Maple Bourbon Smash, made with Cooper’s Craft Kentucky Bourbon.
6. Maple Bourbon Smash
- 1/2 oz maple syrup
- 1/4 oz lemon
- Dash of orange bitters
- Orange wheel
Muddle the above.
- Then add 1 1/2 oz Cooper’s Craft Kentucky Bourbon
- Top with seltzer
Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington, features “small batch whiskeys” from the neighboring Woodinville Whiskey Co. The Lodge also offers the exclusive and expensive Pappy Van Winkle brand.
7. Woodinville Whiskey
- 2 ounce Woodinville Whiskey
- ¼ ounce Cherry Heering
- ¼ Combier Orange liquor
- 1 ounce Sweet & Sour
- 2 muddled orange slices
Shake well, strain over ice.
Oh yes, we do love our Sangria. Tropical flavors of coconut and fruit make Bourbon Sangria a year-round favorite at Florida’s Costa D’Este, Gloria & Emilio Estefan’s luxury oceanside resort.
8. Bourbon Sangria
- 3 Orange Slices
- ¼ Freshly Sliced Peach
- ¼ cup Blueberries
- 0.5 oz. Coconut Simple Syrup
- 1.5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
- 2-3 oz. Pinot Grigio
- Splash of Sprite
Coconut Simple Syrup
1. In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine 1/2 cup of coconut water with 1 Tbsp. of coconut sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
2. Remove from heat and let cool. This will create more simple syrup than required for recipe.
1. Add 2 orange slices cut into quarters and the sliced peach to the bottom of an empty glass (save 3-4 slices of peach for garnish).
2. Add 0.5 oz. Coconut Simple Syrup to the same glass and muddle together.
3. Add Bulleit Bourbon.
4. Add Pinot Grigio.
5. Top with ice.
6. Shake and Strain.
7. Skewer 3 of the blueberries and the remaining orange slice together and place to the side.
8. Drop 3-4 slices of peach and remaining blueberries into the sangria.
9. Stir lightly.
10. Add a splash of sprite.
11. Add skewer to garnish with a straw.
What’s your favorite Bourbon cocktail recipe?