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  • Writer's pictureAlexis R. Collins

Louisville's Finest: Five Iconic Drinks to Enjoy During Your Summer

Louisville has strong southern roots that are entrenched in the far reaches of American culture. From the world famous Kentucky Derby hosted by Churchill Downs to the Louisville Slugger Museum and factory, there’s a vibrant essence of homestyle Kentucky life for everyone! As part of our drink and culinary spotlight, we wanted to feature some amazing alcoholic beverages and bars that are proudly established in Louisville soil. Try some of these refreshing and flavorful drinks the next time you land in Louisville, or test them out from the comfort of your own home! There are appetizing cocktails that are packed with delightful southern tastes that your whole circle can appreciate!

Nouvelle Bar and Bottle

Find the eclectic tastes of Louisville’s finest in this chic neighborhood wine bar nestled in the heart of the city. Explore the spacious, colorful scenery while consuming rich beverages that cultivate deliciously unique tastes and create memorable conversations. This intimate wine and bottle shop stresses the importance of crafting savory cocktails with flavorful undertones so that you can drink a glass of perfection. Choose from an exclusive selection of exquisite drinks that are as smooth and delightful as the relaxing atmosphere and jazzy tunes. Each wine bottle was carefully hand selected by a team of experts who prioritize wine that marks an occasion. Consume your homegrown wine with enjoyment and experience heavenly ingredients that are picked straight from the vine as opposed to manufactured in a factory. Strengthen community ties by partaking in an authentic wine tasting experience with your favorite glass of vino that carries a unique story. Some prominent features include Biso Jeo Prosseco (BTL), a lovely beverage that harbors all the necessary elements to make a varietal sparkle! Pop open the bottle on a Saturday evening and taste the fresh, tart, and dry notes of lemon as it bursts out of the glass! Meanwhile, Julien Braud Muscadet is an appetizing white wine that tastes like a blend of fruity harmonies as you sense the slight layers of white pear on your tastebuds. You can forge long-lasting connections with fellow wine connoisseurs and pair your beverage with plates of delicious food.

The Brough Brothers Distillery

Representing Kentucky’s own and adding a splash of diversity in American whiskey, this new Louisville operation is the state’s first African American-owned distillery. Brothers and Kentucky natives Christian, Victor, and Bryson Yarbrough hit the ground running with their bourbon production, as their store opened its doors in the Park Hill neighborhood earlier this year. Although the bourbon produced at the distillery has to undergo a customary aging process, the brothers already launched their brand overseas in the U.K., and started sharing bottles of MGP-sourced whiskey in 2019. Based on a vision that spanned several years, the Brough Brothers prepared impeccable-quality bourbon that not only represented a signature trademark of Kentucky, but job creation and economic development on a local and global scale. Putting a one-of-a-kind stamp on American craft-made beer and spirits, the brothers concocted a special mixture made from mash, corn, rye, and malted barley. Labeling it the “bread and butter spirit,” Brough Brothers devised something as fundamentally Kentuckian as horse racing and Muhammad Ali. This dynamic alcoholic beverage is packed with delectable highlights ranging from harmonies of green apple and pear, to a dash of nutmeg. When you open the bottle, you’re immediately met with an aromatic, pleasurable scent of freshly bloomed red roses and mouth watering spices. What’s even more impressive is the fact that the company has an eight-foot-tall column still and a 50-gallon pot still, consisting of plans to fill both 25- and 53-gallon barrels. Eager whisky-lovers will have to wait two years for a first house-made straight bourbon, though there might be a one-year-old commemorative limited edition, matured in a 25-gallon barrel, in the works.

Grey Goose Oaks Lily

Widely known as the favored drink of choice prior to the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks Lily from Grey Goose is served at the presitgious Kentucky Oaks Race. This drink is a proud staple that’s offered to family, friends, and neighbors during this marvelous annual event, where a magnificent lineup of strong, exceptionally-bred horses, pound the racetrack with their trainers and jockeys. Taking a sip of this sweet state namesake is as integral to the horse racing sport as the betting, food, and celebrations that center around it! However, you can recline back with your icy glass of this prized drink at any time of the year. There are multiple recipes you can masterfully recreate from your drink catalog, as long as you retain the impressionable sweet and tart combination with a zesty balance of vodka and lemon. This cold summer drink is perfect to pour in your pitcher all season long, as you bask in the gorgeous sunshine and converse with friends over a splendid refresher. Certain elements might remind you of a Cosmopolitan, although the ample helping of cranberry juice accompanied by a lemon and orange liqueur twist is so abundant that you want to keep coming back! Clink your glasses with friends and take a hearty sip of this simply-made drink!

The Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar

We’re loving the bourbon, so much so that we have another Louisville-based bourbon shop we want to showcase! Witness the amber-liquid gold pour over freshly shaved ice while inhaling a fragrant whiff of caramel. Silk is a huge theme that envelops everyone and everything, as you hold your glass and gently press into the winged-back chair, closing your eyes and allowing your body to gently sway to the melodic jazz flowing from the shadows. The iconic collection of bourbon and whiskey was curated by aficionados. The vast display of Kentucky’s best hails from one of the original locations on the Urban Bourbon Trail. The expertly-crafted cocktails will transform your already extraordinary night as it combines modern inspirations and nostalgic classics. Some menu standouts are the Kentucky Apple Shine, which provides the perfect mixture of Buffalo Trace Bourbon and warm spiced apple cider to warm your senses. Belle View Suite is also a fan favorite, as it counterbalances the strong sensation of gin with fresh, fruity elements such as blueberry and hibiscus red tea.

Mint Julep

Of course, we couldn’t forget about our quintessential mint julep! This bourbon cocktail is another prominent drink of the Kentucky Derby. However, this refreshing drink composed of sugar, mint, bourbon, and crushed ice shouldn’t grace your home bar only once a year. This southern drink made its debut in the 18th century and was described in print in 1803 by John David as having a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.” This ice-cold whisky drink is definitely an interesting way to start your day! Since it’s conception, mint julep has withstood the test of time. There are numerous ways you can enjoy this classic beyond bourbon and mint. Legend even has it that the first Juleps ever created were made with cognac and peach brandy. Whiskey didn’t start becoming the julep’s go-to liquor until a phylloxera epidemic in the mid-1800s infected France’s grapevines and temporarily halted the country’s cognac trade. If you’re in a traditional mood, you can use the method that’s spanned home bars and restaurants for generations, which requires serving mint julep in a rocks glass or a silver julep cup. Select a high-quality bottle that will become a beloved julep companion, since bourbon’s the only liquid inside the drink. Purchase a slightly higher-proof bourbon (around the mid-80s or 90s) that will prevent the crushed ice from quickly diluting the cocktail.

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