Thursday, October 27, 2016

America’s Native Spirit, Bourbon, Is Back and on Trend this Autumn Season

imageVodka 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, it’s the ideal beverage to warm the inner soul!

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.
“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.

Now that Bourbon is back and bigger than ever, craft distilleries, encouraged by more liberal liquor laws, 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 are teaming up with local distilleries this autumn to offer some new twists on America’s favorite whiskey, while looking to local traditions and ingredients. For example, Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia, has teamed with Smooth Ambler Spirits, an award-winning craft distillery producing “Patiently Crafted Appalachian Spirits.” And 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. 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.

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 the best of Bourbon.

The Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV
A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Marking the passing of golf great Arnold Palmer, Stonewall Resort’s bar staff created the “Ambling Arnold”.
Ambling Arnold
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
Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Chicago, IL
A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Eaglewood Maple Manhattan
Classic Makers Mark Bourbon teams with locally produced Sugarbush Maple Syrup for this sophisticated cocktail.

1.5 oz Makers Mark Bourbon Whiskey
.5 oz Danielson’s Sugarbush Maple
A Splash of Dry Vermouth
Garnish with Cherries
Serve Over Ice

The Heldrich Hotel, New Brunswick, NJ
A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Makers Mark is also the choice of bartenders at The Heldrich Hotel, enhanced with autumn flavors of apples and maple syrup.
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

Chaminade Resort & Spa, Santa Cruz, CA
A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Mixologists at Chaminade Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant, Linwood’s Bar & Grill, utilize Bulleit Bourbon Whisky in the “Black Pearl’ as it combines Bulleit’s bold spicy characters with the savory sweetness of blackberry puree. Those combined flavors make this the perfect savory spiced fall cocktail.

The Black Pearl
1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
.5oz Blackberry Puree
½ lime juice
Top with ginger beer

Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs, CO
A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Cheyenne Mountain Resort brings a Rocky Mountain High to this special cocktail, made with Local Breckenridge Bourbon made in the world’s highest distillery with pure water from Rocky Mountain snow melt.
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

The Chattanoogan Hotel, Chattanooga, TN
A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Tennessee also claims a proud Bourbon heritage, honored in The Chattanoogan Hotel’s Maple Bourbon Smash, made with Cooper’s Craft Kentucky Bourbon.

Maple Bourbon Smash
1/2 oz maple syrup
1/4 oz lemon
Dash of orange bitters
Orange wheel
Add 1 1/2 oz Cooper's Craft Kentucky Bourbon
Top with seltzer

Willows Lodge, Woodinville, WA
A Gemstone Collection property

Woodinville Fashion
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.

Costa d’Este Resort, Vero Beach, FL
A Gemstone Collection property

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.

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.

Bourbon Sangria
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.
12.    Enjoy


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