In August, a group of local women led by mixologist and bar owner Molly Wellmann and Britney Ruby Miller of Jeff Ruby's Culinary Entertainment traveled to Maker's Mark's distillery in Loretto, Ky. to tour the facilities, learn about the bourbon distilling process and create their own barrel of Maker's Mark Private Select bourbon.
The barrel program gives people the opportunity to create a custom bourbon recipe by choosing a combination of 10 wood finishing staves that introduce distinct individual flavors into the bourbon. There are 1,001 possible combinations that can be created with the staves.
After touring the facilities, the team of women (which included CityBeat photographer Hailey Bollinger) sat down and discussed their vision for the bourbon's flavor profile. It was important for the bourbon to taste good in cocktails and by itself, and it also needed to pair well with Jeff Ruby's steaks. The team also considered the season that the bottles would be released winter and wanted the bourbon to have a warming element to it.
With these goals in mind, the group created and taste-tested several combinations of oak staves to land on their final selection. The barrel aged for the past few months in a limestone cellar and was released to the public on Friday, Nov. 30.
Bottles were available for purchase at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield from 10 a.m.-noon and Wellmann and Ruby Miller were present to sign bottles. The bottles have sold out.
There was a kick-off party at Japp's starting at 4 p.m. on Nov. 30 where guests could sample the bourbon in cocktails created by Molly Wellmann and her team. There was live Jazz music starting at 5:30 p.m. by The Burning Caravan, light bites from Jeff Ruby's, holiday giveaways, raffles and more.
If you missed the bottle release, you can still try the bourbon at Japp's Since 1879, Myrtle's Punch House, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse downtown, Jeff Ruby's Precinct and Jeff Ruby's Carlo and Johnny.
November 30, 2018
Photos by Hailey Bollinger