Life has swallowed me whole and spit out a few curls.
Before it totally digests me, though. I am blogging an event I attend last month live from the belly of the beast. Honestly, it's pretty decent wifi from in here, tbh. Password is: FML2016. Very modern.
When Nathalie from Praxis PR e-mailed me about attending a Bourbon Night presented by Knob Creek at The Mule downtown Hamilton I squealed a bit.
A lot. OKAY I SQUEALED A LOT WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME CAN YOU NOT TELL I AM STRUGGLING, HERE?!
Chef Matt (I do believe) at the Mule created a Southern inspired menu JUST for us! And @whisky_chef (follow him, guys!) Matt Jones took us through an amazing history of Jim Beam, Basil Hayden's, Knob Creek and bourbon in general. I honestly had no idea about 99.9% of what he was talking about so I felt like my head was exploding with knowledge afterwards.
Or it was the bourbon. OOPS?!
I got this cool name tag which made me feel super legit even though I think I was the only person who had no idea what was happening D:
The night began with cocktails, made with bourbon, NATCH.
The honey ginger cocktail below was absolutely unreal. Each cocktail was crafted with such passion and the heat of the bourbon paired surprisingly well with the already spicy ginger. The honey sort of coated your throat after. Simply lovely!
I really ought to pay more attention to drinks -- it's a whole other world out there!
That peach and watermelon salad? UNBELIEVABLE!
To be fair, though. The Mule is simply amazing even beyond this event. If you have been downtown Hamilton lately it really has transformed in terms of the food scene. The Mule is on King William so it's fairly central -- the decor inside is the enchantingly rustic, vibrant yet elegant mismatched decor that makes you feel like you're in a movie. Yes I am lame, shushhh!
Beyond King William there are soooo many lovely places to eat at James Street North, Locke Street, Augusta Street and beyond. I am so proud of the entrepreneurs that have built up downtown to be a really trendy area, again. It's encouraged a lot of business that I think had otherwise decided that downtown Hamilton was less exciting than Toronto. NO WAY T DOT YOU JUST STEP OFF, OK? OK DRAKE? YOU HEAR ME!?
I will admit I felt a bit far removed from the other amazing food bloggers there that had such a vast experience with the goods the local scene has to offer. I am starting to branch off a bit more from my pretty restrictive/not so adventurous food intake. BY THE WAY -- they were all so lovely. I met so many lovely ladies at my table and it became my beautiful little safety bubble for the night! haha
I am trying to be less rigid and explore more -- oh and just having a free evening to do that is kind of impossible so I am hoping to make time for that, too!
Wait until you see the beauty.
Not pictured were the mains -- fried qual, creamed corn and butter beans. OH LORD THAT CREAMED CORN! It had my heart. My soul.
Know what else? THAT PALETA! I have this weird thing with really liking to chew my popsicles and this had soooo much great texture with the pepitas and oat crumble inside. I can't wait to hunt down more paletas next time I am out and about -- it was insanely good!
Errrr...Why am I here, again?!?!
So basically we got to try 4 different kinds that ranged in intensity from mildest to most powerful.
1) Jim Beam Black: Is a lovely gold amber with supposed aromas of sweet vanilla, corn and toasted oak and a long elegant, smooth finish. And honestly that's the best way to describe it. This was to me- the most versatile and appealing. I used it in my cocktail that we were able to create!
2) Basil Hayden's: The same lovely colour with a bit more of a spicy, peppery, honey flavour. This had more of a bite and for that reason I still preferred the first. But this was lovely! I can see how this may pair better with a citrus, for example.
3) Knob Creek 9YO: This was a totally different experience. The colour was much deeper and the flavour had notes of caramel and vanilla with a touch of sweet apricot (I couldn't taste the apricot because I was a huge baby LOL). This definitely lingered a lot longer, was a bit sweeter and overall more rich. A shot of this would set me right after shovelling snow. Ew. Why did I talk about snow. Unless it's Jon Snow. Mmmm. Jon Sneeewwww.
4. Knob Creek Single Barrel: The strongest and boldest flavour, IMO. Caramel, vanilla, nuts and oak. A long finish. To me, that felt like burning. But I know the seasoned bourbon fan would really appreciate how complex this flavour was.
I already mentioned how we got to make our own cocktail WITH THE WHISKY CHEF HIMSELF!
I created the most ironic drink of all time. A drink in homage to my roots which are grounded in a country where drinking is forbidden.
Meh, irony is cool. Here's the ingredients:
Base: Jim Beam Black (1 oz.)
Modifier: Vanilla – infused simple syrup (To taste)
Accent(s): Cardamon bitters, Liqueur – Maraschino (5-6 drops)
Garnish: Grated cinnamon (Garnish -- to taste)
Cocktail Name: Cleopatra
Optional: 1/4 cup whipped egg whites.
Matt also added whipped egg whites -- WOW! It made the cocktail so creamy. The drink turned out unbelievable. I couldn't believe how balanced the flavours ended up!
All in all it warmed my heart to feel included in such a cool community. Because my blog is mostly desserts I didn't feel like I 'fit in' -- but the event made me feel so much more connected to Hamilton. Not that I wasn't already in love with the foodie scene downtown -- but now I am making more frequent trips!
S/O to Nathalie for being the cutest and most helpful person on the planet - Praxis PR you guys put on an AWESOME event -- and I am totally a Jim Beam fan now. Who'd have thunk it?!
What's your favourite drink to make/order when you're out?
I monitor carbs pretty closely so I am usually a vodka water kinda gal but lord knows it tastes like varnish. MOVE OVER ABSOLUT COME ON JIM BEAM!
Thanks for putting up with my disappearing act lately, I promise I am creating new recipes I JUST NEED TIME TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE DARN THINGS!
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LOVE U BB XO