Bourbon and gourmands rejoice! Easy Bistro & Bar chef Erik Niel has devised a three-course meal pairing fine food and select bourbons from one of Kentucky's most famous craft distilleries.
For the Table
Bourbon: Kentucky Vintage Smash
Charred Sourdough with Alabama Goats Cheese, Honey & Walnut Crumbles
Tomato Bread, Bouquerones
Bourbon: Willett Family Rye
Hoe Hop Farm’s Chicken Terrine, Butter Lettuce & House Sourdough
Bourbon: Rowan’s Creek/ Noah’s Mill
Smoked Cloudcrest Farm’s Pork Loin, Aromatics & Matsutake Mushrooms
Family Style - Saffron Carrots, Fresh October Beans with Garlic Confit, and Warm Fennel with Chili Oil
Bourbon: Willett Pot Still Reserve
Lemon, Ginger & Almond Cream Tart
The “Spirited Dinner” will be held Thursday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 p.m. A ticket price of $75 will include the dinner and pairings, gratuity, tax and car valet. You can purchase them here.
Niel, a self-proclaimed fan of bourbon, said he floated the idea to several distilleries and Kentucky's Willett Distillery agreed to try it out.
“Bourbon and I like each other a lot,” he said. “Me thinking about bourbon is not a hard thing to do. As for the pairing, I looked as if I were doing a wine dinner. I know these spirits and they’re all unique. You have to find the right balance. The food has to be rich enough to stand up to the bourbon and not overwhelm it.”
For dinner, Niel has carefully selected five of Willet’s bourbons to pair with various courses. The courses included gourmet cheeses, bread, chicken and pork. For dessert, a lemon, ginger, and almond tart was a no-brainer.
“We were just playing around with different ideas,” Niel said. “We thought ‘what makes sense?’ and came up with ginger and lemon. Those flavors just make sense when you think of bourbon.”
Willett Distillery—also known as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers—is a private, family-operated organization. In total, the company employs about 14 people. KBD also serves as a contract bottler for various other brands.
The dinner will include a wide range of bourbons from Willett, according to Niel
“The [Willett Pot Still Reserve] is one of the lightest,” he said. “Noah’s Mill is more robust. It has a lot of flavor to it. We kind of went up and down in tone with the bourbons as we paired the food.”
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