This is a dinner we did with Pappy van Winkle distillery on November 3rd 2010….
First for a little bit of history…
The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville, traveling around the state by horse and buggy. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also purchased the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery, which made bourbon for Weller. They merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Their prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.
In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. He had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were either sold with the distillery or to other distilleries.
After selling the distillery, Julian, Jr. resurrected a pre-prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian junior’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian, III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing the highest quality wheated bourbon available. His son, Preston joined company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.
Recently, the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed in order to produce a superior quality product.
Aside from the rich family history, Van Winkle bourbons are special for another important reason, their recipe. All of the Van Winkle bourbons are made with corn, wheat, and, barley instead of corn, rye and, barley. This “wheated” recipe gives the bourbon a much softer, smoother taste and it also allows the whiskey to age more gracefully.
I believe it was my friend Sean Brock that introduced me to the ritual of Pappy way back when we did the ideas in Food dinner in Charleston SC. I for one never been a Bourbon drinker ever. Sean and Pappy had made me into a convert. That night we have consumed an undisclosed amount of different aged Pappy and the next day we rocked the Ideas in food dinner ,half sober and with the shakes . From that day Bourbon , one that worths drinking, has been a good friend .
Cooking with one of the most glorified Bourbon distillery in the States is more than a great honor , its a great responsibility … The pressure was on for this dinner . Such a unique opportunity presents itself rarely . Everyone in Local Roots was pumped for that dinner. After all, our ritual for every guest chef dinner the past 7 months has been to have shots of Pappy’s really good bourbon before the dinner. A ritual very important to us as it has blessed us with great times and success. Inevitably we wanted to cook a really good dinner and incorporate Bourbon in the mix as well and have a fun night and most importantly maybe introduce some of our guests to the Old RIP Pappy Van winkles miracle.
The menu for the dinner was the following…
Hors d’ oeuvres
Beaten Biscuit, Bourbon mayo, pickled green tomato, country ham
Bourbon Caramel popcorn
Bourbon cured Trout, Brioche
Winter Point Oysters, Smoked Black Pepper, Tabasco Dip n dots
Cocktail : Pappys Manhattan
Chicken and dumplings, Beet, parsnip, Creamed Sunchoke, Milk
Family reserve 12 year Aged Bourbon
Maine Scallop, Pork belly, foraged hen of the woods mushrooms,Smoked heirloom farro, brown butter puree
Family reserve 15 year Aged Bourbon
Bourbon Milk shake, Nilla Wafer
The progression of Bourbons showed an ever increasing complexity …
Here are a few pictures from that day …..