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Cocktail Hour: Spotlight on Bourbon


All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Bourbon has to meet certain requirements, including being distilled in the U.S. and aged in new, charred oak barrels. The barrels give bourbon the warmth and subtle sweetness that are an ideal companion for everything from allspice liqueurs to smoked blackberries. Here’s where to taste the bourbon renewal:


St. Elizabeth Sexy Party at Lion’s Share

“Delicate” isn’t often used to describe a bourbon cocktail. But here, it works. Maybe it’s the always-magical ingredient St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, mixed here with Buffalo Trace bourbon, cinnamon syrup, and chocolate bitters. Serving it over a single large ice cube allows it to evolve as you sip.


Johnny’s Kentucky Spirit at Great Maple

The highlight of this cocktail, also made with Buffalo Trace, are the house-smoked blackberries. Muddled with fresh sage, they create a mesmerizing tapestry of colors and flavors in the glass.


Happy Hour Old Fashioned at Seven Grand

Seven Grand is the quintessential whiskey bar, both in its selection and its vibe of polished wood in a dimly lit interior (the back room was recently remodeled as a high-end tasting room). The focus here is classic cocktails. At happy hour (weekdays, 5–7 p.m.) you can get one of the city’s best Old Fashioneds, made with Old Forester, for only $5.

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