Mix Your Bourbon with Stephen Dennison
Chef/mixologist, Stephen Dennison, lead a mixology class for an exclusive group of guests in Bourbon Barrel Foods’ Kitchen Studio on June 26th. Guests learned three basic mixology techniques applied to impressive craft cocktails. The menu included Stephen’s take on the Negroni (The Countess), an Umami Gazpacho, and a Smoked Manhattan. With each cocktail, guests enjoyed small plates prepared by Stephen and his staff.
The night began with short introductions from Matt Jamie, founder and owner of Bourbon Barrel Foods and Stephen. Stephen’s first cocktail, The Countess, applies a unique method that infused the cocktail with Bourbon Smoked Pepper. Because spices hold flavor in the skin, spices can be stripped of essential oils when combined with alcohol. Stephen finished the cocktail with lemon peel essence. The resulting gin-based drink was fresh and biting and went down a bit too easy. While guests sipped (read: chugged) The Countess, they snacked on pita topped with queso fresco and salmon belly marinated in Woodford Reserve® Sorghum Vinaigrette.
During the intermission between the first and second course, Stephen served a crostini topped with the pressed gazpacho from the second cocktail.
Stephen’s Umami Gazpacho incorporates the familiarity of the classic Bloody Mary, the beefy umami flavor of Bluegrass Soy Sauce, and the refreshing taste of gazpacho. It is light and brothy with some texture from the extra queso fresco garnish. For the appetizer, Stephen marinated filet mignon in Kentuckyaki overnight and skewered it with onions and pickled root vegetables.
The night ended with Stephen’s Smoked Manhattan and Brie Puff Pastry. For the final cocktail, Stephen applied an avant garde technique to infuse each glass with smoke from used bourbon barrels. With shreds of used bourbon barrels smoking in a Lodge Cast Iron skillet, Stephen held glasses over the bourbon barrel smoke before pouring the drink. This technique changed the bouquet of the cocktail so that in both taste and smell, bourbon smoke would be present. Paralleling Stephen’s use of the barrel for the cocktail, the puff pastries were served on bourbon barrel staves.
To sign up for the next mixology class, visit our Events page!