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    Eat & Swig

    Learning The Art Of Mingling Bourbon At Stitzel-Weller
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    Bartenders are on the front lines of the bourbon business. They're responsible for making sure you have a good experience with whatever you're drinking, and they can introduce you to new things in a way you just can’t get in the lines of a liquor store.

    The alcohol experts at Diageo understand the critical role bartenders play in exposing bar patrons to new products. They recently invited representatives of the United States Bartender’s Guild from around the country to The Bulleit Experience at Stitzel-Weller to educate them about bourbon history and the uptick in Diageo bourbon offerings.

    Participants had the chance to tour the recently renovated historic facility, listen to an abbreviated bourbon history lesson from Michael Veach and learn about the new I.W. Harper and Blade and Bow offerings. But perhaps the most informative and interesting experience was the mingling lecture.

    Kernen Bell, who typically works in Canada for Diageo North America, joined the group at Stitzel-Weller to teach the techniques his team uses to mingle whiskeys.  He pointed out that you could just take the oldest and best whiskey you have and bottle it, but then it would end up costing significantly more than people would want to pay for it.  Mingling is about getting the right flavor profile above all else, but it’s also about achieving that flavor profile at a price point that will appeal to consumers.

    “Distillation is science and mingling is art,” said Bell during the session. Samples are reduced to 20% abv for analysis so the team can focus on the flavors and aromas without the strong alcohol content. Participants were walked through the tasting and nosing process, then invited to make their own blends using the samples provided. The process gives you quite a different understanding of the bourbon that ends up in your bottle; it's the same process that keeps brands consistent across decades.

    Bourbon education is the best kind of education, and it’s especially important to those on the front lines of the bourbon industry. Here's hoping bartenders keep learning techniques to bring us the best tastes and prices for the drinks we love.

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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