Bring Out the Gimp

Musings on pop culture by freelance journalist Shawn Conner

Buffalo Trace bourbon tasting at Brix in Vancouver

Buffalo Trace coasters

Buffalo Trace coasters. Robyn Hanson photo

One thing I’ve always loved about Buffalo Trace is its name. It’s got to be a good bourbon if the makers have the cojones to name it after wild animal scat.

However, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that the drink, my go-to bourbon when I’m feeling flush, is not named after road apples.

Harlen Wheatley, master distiller and Buffalo Trace brand ambassador, maintains that the bourbon is actually named after trails used by buffalo, or maybe the trail left by buffalo – which, I maintain, still brings us back to my original interpretation.

Buffalo Trace master distiller Harlan Wheatley

Buffalo Trace master distiller Harlan Wheatley at Brix in Vancouver, Jan 20 2011. Robyn Hanson photo

Mr. Wheatley was in Vancouver this week to host a dinner-and-bourbon-cocktail pairing event at Brix Restaurant in Yaletown (how come these things never happen on Commercial Drive?) Thursday, Jan 20. Before the dinner, a few of us media types were treated to a preview of the food, which was heavy on the meat – a “trio of pork” and New York strip sirloin with a baby russett potato, as well as caramelized onion soup with duck confit – to go with the bourbon.

To start, Jonathan, the Brix bartender, mixed up a “Seelbach” cocktail (named after a Louisville, Kentucky hotel, now owned by Hilton) with Spanish sparkling wine (cava), angostura bitters and Cointreau, along with the bourbon; it had a kick like a mule.

Photo - Seelbach cocktail

The Seelbach cocktail, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, at Brix Restaurant, Vancouver, Jan 22 2011. Robyn Hanson photo

The Buffalo Trace Manhattan was similarly delicious, definitely a cut above the average Manhattan, and was a good argument for using higher-end bourbon in mixed drinks. (Although I won’t be substituting Buffalo Trace in my Jack-and-Cokes anytime soon).

Just for comparison’s sake, we followed up the mixed drinks with some straight-up (in a chilled glass) BT and, the piece de resistance, a dab of the Eagle Rare single barrel 10-year-old, which runs about $60 a bottle.

Eagle Rare brand

Eagle Rare 10-year-old bourbon at Brix in Vancouver, Jan 22 2011. Robyn Hanson photo

Oh well, next time I’m flush…

Thanks to Cate Simpson of Simpson PR, Harlan Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Distillery, David Hannay of Brix and Dan Lee Harris of Dana Lee Consulting for the excellent start to our Thursday night.

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