One of the nation's premier bourbon events is returning within driving distance of Cincinnati (... not that anyone should necessarily be driving after partaking in a bourbon event). The second annual Bourbon Classic comes to Louisville next weekend — Jan. 31-Feb. 1 — offering world-class culinary and bartending talent.
The event is open to bourbon enthusiasts from across the country and will feature forums addressing all aspects of bourbon ranging from its distillation to how to pair it with food and more, with information from leading bourbon distillers, writers, chefs, bartenders, experts and connoisseurs.
“This event is a natural progression in what we do to promote the bourbon lifestyle," says Seth Thompson, publisher of The Bourbon Review and co-founder of the Bourbon Classic, in a press release. "The craftsmanship, the authenticity, the traditions and marry that with the eclectic epicurean culture of Central Kentucky."
The weekend program is split into two parts: Friday night's Cocktail Challenge and Saturday's Bourbon Classic University and Ultimate Bourbon Experience.
The Cocktail Challenge will feature contemporary and classic cocktails plus small plates prepared by teams of chefs and master bartenders representing different distilleries. Cocktails and pairings will be judged by an expert panel including Jennifer Cole from Southern Living, Joy Perrine from Jack’s Lounge and chef Albert Schmid, author of The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook. Participating teams include the following:
Bradley Hammond, Decca
Chef Terry French, winner of Food Network’s Extreme Chef 2012, Philadelphia
Chris Wilkins, Proof on Main
Chef Levon Wallace, Proof on Main
Colin Shearn, El Camino
Chef Jonathan Lundy, Jonathan's at Gratz Park, Lexington
Isaac Fox, Volare
Chef Josh Moore, Volare
JR Schiavi, Jack Fry's
Chef Shawn Ward, Jack Fry's
Susie Hoyt, Silver Dollar
Chef Tyler Powell, Silver Dollar
Jacquelyn Zykan, La Coop
Chef Bobby Benjamin, La Coop
The Saturday learning portion will focus on education, entertainment and tastings.
The welcome session will feature master distillers and brand legends including Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy, Fred Noe of Jim Beam, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace, Tom Bulleit of Bulleit Bourbon and more, discussing the rising popularity of bourbon and the effect it has on distilleries.
Following the welcome, the Bourbon Classic University will offer a variety of classes split into two learning sessions for ticket-holders to explore. The first session includes classes like "Entertaining with Bourbon Tastings" and the second offers "Bourbon & the Bean: What do Chocolate & American Whiskey Have in Common." (A full list of classes and a schedule is available online.)
After the university, participate in "the ultimate bourbon experience." Enjoy bourbon tastings from Bourbon Classic distillers, many of which will have representatives on hand to discuss what makes their product unique. As you imbibe, you'll also enjoy dishes that have been specially prepared to complement the bourbon as well as a unique marketplace full of bourbon-related products.
7-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31; 2:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2. Standard weekend packages for the Cocktail Challenge and University/Ultimate Bourbon Experience start at $249. Tickets available here. All events take place at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, 501 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky. For more information on the Bourbon Classic, visit bourbonclassic.com.
The hippo pool will be situated in the zoo's grassy-plained Africa exhibit, the most ambitious wildlife exhibit in zoo history. Currently home to cheetahs, a male lion and giraffes, among others, the next phase of building out the Africa exhibit will include the addition of an African wild dog, meerkat, gazelle, lesser kudu, impala, Ruppell’s vulture, crowned crane and kori bustard. The hippo exhibit will be the final piece of Africa.
The zoo will be obtaining/borrowing their hippos — a unrelated male and female pair — from another zoo in order to breed them. The hippos will be what are referred to as Nile Hippopotamuses (not the little pygmy ones from "too cute" memes, although those would be adorable). They're the third largest land animal, weighing in around 4,000 pounds and getting as tall as five feet at the shoulder. So one can imagine building a healthy and suitable pool for them costs a pretty penny.
Well, Lexington, Ky.'s craft brewery West Sixth Brewing is stepping up to the plate for one of their "6th for a Cause" events at Taste of Belgium on Short Vine in Clifton Heights to benefit to zoo in a fundraising event they've dubbed "Hops for Hippos." The zoo gets hippos; you get beer. It's a win-win.
Held up until now at the brewery's headquarters in Lexington, this will be their first 6th for a Cause event and tap takeover in the area. According to a press email, "The partnership with Taste of Belgium, a business that has similar ideals, has allowed West Sixth to take this fundraising effort on the road and to begin to apply the brewery's mission to all communities where West Sixth beer is distributed."
At 6 p.m. on Feb. 6, West Sixth will take over the taps at Taste of Belgium, with their IPA, Amber, Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter and a traditional Belgian style ale that has never been released in Cincinnati, the Transylvania Tripel. Taste of Belgium will be donating 6 percent of the evening's sales and West Sixth will match that contribution to benefit the Cincinnati Zoo.
Zoo director Thane Maynard, zoo COO Dave Jenike and other zoo representatives will be on hand to discuss their good work, help bartend and provide information for those who would like to get more involved. You can probably ask Thane all your hippo-related questions as well.
The evening will also include prize raffles and West Sixth commemorative glasses.
Taste of Belgium is located at 2845 Vine St., Clifton Heights. For more information on the event, zoo or West Sixth visit their websites: authenticwaffle.com, westsixth.com or cincinnatizoo.org. You can also make a donation to support the zoo's hippo efforts here.
The Betts House, located in the Betts-Longworth Historic District in the West End, is the oldest surviving brick building in Cincinnati. Built in 1804, it opened to the public as a museum in 1996. And their current exhibit, Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer: The Architectural Legacy of Cincinnati Breweries, examines the tunnels, breweries, buildings and people that made Cincinnati one of the leaders of the 19th century brewing industry through photos, charts, narratives, technology and more. The show has been extended until March 27, and the house is featuring several beer-related events to close out its run.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Betts House will host a cooking class, Cooking with Beer! Join chef Stefan Skirtz from Findlay Market's S&J Bakery and Cafe as he demonstrates how to utilize beer in your cooking, particularly Christian Moerlein brews. 1:30-2:30 p.m. Free with museum entry ($2). The Betts House, 416 Clark St., West End, thebettshouse.org.
And then from 5-10 p.m. Feb. 7 and noon-8 p.m. Feb. 8, take a tour of the Listermann Brewing Company in Evanston (1621 Dana Ave., Evanston, listermannbrewing.com) to support the Betts House. Explore the inner-workings of the brewery, see some panels from the Bricks, Barrel Vaults & Beer display and support the mission of the house. Tour is $5 per person with proceeds going to the Betts House. More details here.
The comp will take place in heated tents on Elder Street on the north side of the Market House and be judged by firemen from Engine Co. 5. First, second and third place will receive a cash prize: $100 for Chili Meister; $50 for Chili Monarch; $50 for Chiliologist. The winner automatically qualifies to compete in the All-Ohio Regional Chili Cook-Off held in September 2014.
In addition to chili, there will be live music by Anna and Milovan from noon-2:30 p.m., Christian Moerlein craft beer, free public tastings starting at 12:30 p.m. (until the chili is gone) and specials on chilis, coneys, spices and more from merchants.11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. Limited to 30 contestants. Visit the blog at tinyurl.com/kqrmr2g for contest rules and an entry form. Deadline is noon on Friday, Jan. 24. findlaymarket.org.
"What's going to make us different is our culinary staff," Stephens writes. "Constant ideas of recipes, ice creams and cookies are going to make some waves for sure in the area. We will also be listening to the public, so if you have a great meatball recipe, bring it down and we can give it a try."
Packhouse will be located on Monmouth Street in Newport. Their current projected open date is Jan. 28, so keep an eye on the restaurant and get more details here.
One hundred percent of the sales of the bakery on Saturday will benefit ArtWorks and their youth development programs this summer.
“Breadsmith is committed to giving back to the community that we live and work in,” Ward Bahlman, owner of the Breadsmith and resident of Cincinnati, says in a press release. “We want to celebrate our new store by supporting the worthwhile projects of ArtWorks which is doing so much for our community’s landscape.”
Tamara Harkavy, the founder, CEO and artistic director of ArtWorks added, “ArtWorks is grateful to Breadsmith for donating their sales to our Adopt-an-Apprentice campaign that will directly support the 120 teen apprentices we’ll hire this summer to work on ten new community murals and other creative projects.”
The fundraising event for ArtWorks will also include behind-the-scenes tours and free samples of Breadsmith's award-winning breads, muffins and sweets. Customers will get a look at the European-style interior design which allows them to see the “hand-made, hearth-baked” Breadsmith process.
For more information visit artworkscincinnati.org.
Learn more about Triple Digit and Listermann, plus get taproom hours and what's currently pouring at the brewery, here.
If you don’t want to spend all day cooking (or all day waiting for someone else to cook), the following are some of the local restaurants offering Thanksgiving dining options to satisfy friends, family and kids. Reservations are required for pretty much all meals and buffets, so call ahead.BB Riverboats Thanksgiving Day Cruises: Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings … on the river. $40 adults; $20 children. Cruises 1-3 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., bbriverboats.com.
Boi Na Braza: A three-course meal with 16 cuts of meat, including turkey. $37.99. Noon-7 p.m. 441 Vine St., Downtown, boinabraza.com.
Cascades Restaurant: Entrées include roast turkey with andouille cornbread stuffing plus Coca Cola and brown sugar-glazed ham with pineapple cranberry compote. Garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato, green bean casserole and desserts round out the menu. $12.95. 5:30-8 p.m. 4554 Lake Forest Drive, Embassy Suites, Blue Ash, 513-981-3752.
Chez Nora: Buffet with turkey and cornbread stuffing, ham, sweet potato casserole, biscuits and gravy and more, including pecan pie. $21.95 adults; $11.95 children; free for under 5. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 530 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-491-8027, cheznora.com.
Claddagh Irish Pub: Buffet including a salad bar, roast turkey and extensive dessert bar. $24.95 adults; $9.95 children. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Multiple locations including 5075 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513-770-0999, claddaghirishpubs.com.
deSha’s: A Thanksgiving dinner buffet with a carving station, entrées including smoked gouda pasta, sides and a variety of desserts. $32.95 adults; $12.95 children. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 11320 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-247-9933, deshas.com/cincinnati.
Fall Feast: This is the ninth year of Give Back Cincinnati’s community Thanksgiving celebration. Join 4,000 neighbors, homeless and underserved individuals for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner plus free coats, haircuts, health screenings, pediatric dental checkups, live music and a big-screen TV. Free. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; doors open at 9 a.m. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, fallfeast.org.
The Golden Lamb: Special Thanksgiving menu featuring an entrée choice of oven-roasted turkey with sage stuffing, slow-roasted prime rib, both or vegetarian Shaker tomato pie. $24.95-$29.95 entrée; $13.95 for 10 and under. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 27 S. Broadway St.., Lebanon, 513-932-5065, goldenlamb.com.
La Petite France: All-day Thanksgiving buffet with breakfast until 2 p.m. plus dinner items until 6 p.m. Appetizers include escargots bourguignon and pâté maison; entrées include roast turkey with all the trimmings and baked ham in champagne; assorted international cheeses; and desserts including crème brulee, pumpkin clafoutis and more. $32.95 adults; $15 children ages 4-12. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 3177 Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale, 513-733-8383, lapetitefrance.biz.
McCormick and Schmick’s: Serving their full menu plus a Thanksgiving plate with soup or salad and a turkey dinner. $24.99; $9.99 children 12 and under. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 21 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-339, mccormickandschmicks.com.
Metropole: Chef Michael Paley mans the fire for this classic Thanksgiving feast with farm-to-fireplace menu items. Prices vary. 2-8 p.m. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6660, metropoleonwalnut.com.
Mitchell’s Fish Market: Three-course Thanksgiving menu with oven-roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry relish plus mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Regular menu also available. $24.99 adult; $8.99 children. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Multiple locations including Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., mitchellsfishmarket.com.
National Exemplar: A traditional dinner with prime rib or turkey. $27.95. Noon-7 p.m. 6880 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-2103, nationalexemplar.com.
The Palace: Traditional Thanksgiving day buffet with prime rib, turkey, vegetable lasagna, side dishes and dessert. $49.99 adult; $39.99 senior; $24.99 children. Noon-7 p.m. 601 Vine St., The Cincinnatian Hotel, Downtown, palacecincinnati.com.
Restaurants at the Palm Court: Thanksgiving buffet with turkey, ham, prime rib, short ribs, salmon, stuffing, potatoes, squash, pecan pie and more. $65.95 adults; $49.95 seniors; $19.95 ages 5-12. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 35 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com.
Palomino: Slow-roasted turkey dinner with apple-sausage stuffing, garlic herb mashed potatoes, herb-roasted vegetables, homemade cranberry relish and turkey gravy. $26. Noon-8 p.m. 505 Vine St., Downtown, 513-381-1300, palomino.com.
Parkers Blue Ash Tavern: Thanksgiving dinner with a carving station, side dishes, salad, a seafood bar and homemade desserts. $31.95 adult; $10.95 ages 5-10. Noon-7 p.m. 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash, 513-891-8300.
The Phoenix: Traditional turkey, prime rib or beef dinner. Includes live music and family photos. $29.95 adults; $16.95 children; free for 4 and under. Noon-6 p.m. 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-721-8901, facebook.com/phxrestaurant.
Red Roost Tavern: Buffet including turkey, ham, salmon, beef, cheese, charcuterie, pumpkin ravioli and dessert. $49.95. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 151 Fifth St., Downtown, 513-579-1234, cincinnati.hyatt.com.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: A traditional three-course turkey dinner with choices like gumbo, Caesar salad, steak house salad, oven-roasted turkey breast with gravy, sausage and herb stuffing, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake and more. Full menu also available. $36.95; $12.95 children 12 and under. 1-8 p.m. 100 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, 513-381-0491, ruthschris.com.
Seasons 52: Dinner offering Plainville Farms roasted turkey with gravy, traditional stuffing, mashed potatoes, maple-glazed butternut squash, French green beans and house-made cranberry relish. $25.95; $12.95 children. Noon-8 p.m. 3819 Edwards Road, Norwood, 513-631-5252, seasons52.com.