empty bar

Bars are closed! Say it ain’t so …

empty bar

Art by Kris Tremblay (Twitter: @h00tcom)

Beginning today at 5 p.m., ALL Kentucky bars and restaurants will be shut down due to this horrendous and sinister coronavirus, which should not even be allowed to share a name with a beer! The mere idea of bars closing is something I never thought I’d have to live through, unless I time-traveled back to 1920 when Prohibition started.

And St. Patrick’s Day is Tuesday! The horror!

Carryout, drive-thrus and delivery options are still available, but how does that help me at happy hour?

Luckily, we’re Kentuckians, and our private bourbon collections are museum-worthy. Plus, I know you’ve been hoarding wine, beer and other spirits since Trump took office, so we will survive.

And hey, they didn’t shut down liquor stores, so at the moment, there’s still a supply to your demand.

The time for you to take up bartending is now. Jump in there and start mixing ingredients like a mad scientist! Trust me, when the bars open back up, you’ll have a new appreciation for our hard workers who shake, stir, strain and maintain quality and consistency with each and every drink.

In the meantime, here’s a suggestion on how to support to your favorite watering hole: Go online and buy gift certificates from them (if that’s an option). That applies to all local businesses, including your favorite local bourbon tour company named after a popular Southern cocktail (shameless plug).

I’m not a thoughts-and-prayers type of gal, but if that’s what it’s gonna take, then Amen! It’s gonna be a long week inside the Bar Belle’s Bourbon Bungalow.

Doc's Bourbon Room

2,000 bottles of bourbon on the wall … take one down, pass it around at Doc’s Bourbon Room

Doc's Bourbon Room

Doc’s Bourbon Room officially opens Wednesday, Feb. 5. | Photo by Sara Havens

I saw the bourbon bat signal shoot through the midnight sky. Word of a new bar opening spread around town like a sinus infection. Thousand bourbons, I heard. All kinds of whiskey. Cocktails galore.

After a recent visit to Doc’s Bourbon Room, I can sign my name to the long list of supporters. Doc’s is legit, and it’s exactly what Whiskey Row needed.

Prices are reasonable, and pours from the inventory of about 2,000 bottles can be enjoyed in 1-ounce or 2-ounce increments. That means if you just want to try something, like the latest Old Fitz 15 Year, you don’t have to spend an arm and a liver doing so.

The outgoing and competent staff explained that they’d like to have 3,000 bottles by Derby. It’s great to have goals!

I decided to try out their signature Old Fashioned because, after all, it is the city’s official cocktail, and I’ve been assigned by the mayor to investigate the best in the city and make sure every establishment is up to par. Doc’s certainly is. Their Seasonal Old Fashioned was made with Michter’s Bourbon, fig and sage demerara, and birch bark bitters — and it was tasty!

food at Doc's Bourbon Room

All mine! | Photo by Miriam Rodriguez

But not too tasty. A good Old Fashioned should never be masked. Meaning, if bourbon isn’t the first thing you taste, it’s a waste of sugar and calories. That one cost $13 — a typical price for cocktails at fancier bars downtown — but you could also create your own Old Fashioned using a cheaper bourbon, and I’m sure the price would come down a few bucks.

The cocktail menu included a dozen options in all and showcased some that didn’t have bourbon or whiskey at all — in case there are those people among us.

The small-bites menu features everything from pretzels and beer cheese to fried green tomatoes, spring rolls and buffalo cauliflower (Huh? And nope! I firmly believe cauliflower is the vodka of vegetables. Take that, Oprah!).

I also sampled some scrumptious dessert that I had to see (and bite) to believe: a Grilled Hershey Sandwich. It was exactly what you’d imagine: a grilled cheese sandwich with melted Hershey bars where the cheese should be. A little raspberry sauce was drizzled over to make it appear healthy — and boom, you’ve got yourself the best thing that’s been in your mouth since Grandma’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving!

It seems like the food is meant to be shared, making Doc’s Bourbon Room an ideal stop before a game or concert … or just a place to gather after work with friends.

It’s fun to marvel at the endless shelves of whiskey, but being the weirdo I am, I wondered what would happen if an earthquake were to hit Kentucky. All those 2,000 bottles would come crashing down, as would my own small collection in my home, and we’d all have an unfortunate situation on our hands. Let’s just hope that never happens and work on securing some insurance should an unfortunate act of god occur.

Anyway, Doc’s Bourbon Room is a welcome addition to Whiskey Row! It officially opens on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Who wants to try and drink all 2,000 bottles with me before Derby?

Here are some more photos of the eats, drinks and all those bottles.

Angel's Envy cocktail menu

Cocktails about nothin’? The Angel’s Envy winter cocktail menu is all about ‘Seinfeld’

Angel's Envy cocktail menu

A cocktail menu about nothing. | Photo by Sara Havens

You know those people. They go around quoting “Seinfeld” like the show just came out last week — and you’re supposed to understand (and laugh at) every little inside phrase from sponge worthy to close talker to no soup for you!

I get it. I respect “Seinfeld,” but I’m here to confess I never was an avid watcher. My first front-page story, however, was covering the series finale for my college newspaper The Post in Athens, Ohio. I hopped from dorm room to coffee shop reporting on people’s devastation that the nine-year show was coming to an end. That was 1998.

And this is 2020. Which is actually a quote from one of my journalism heroes, Barbara Walters, but that’s another story.

While you all with taste were engrossed in “Seinfeld,” I was more enamored with “Melrose Place,” “Friends” and “Blossom.”

But back to the show about nothing and its tremendous support group of die-hards. I stopped by Angel’s Envy Distillery Tuesday afternoon for several reasons — one of which I cannot talk about until next week*. The one I can mention is the distillery bar’s new menu for winter, which is COMPLETELY “SEINFELD”-THEMED!

Mike Bohn

Angel’s Envy Bar Manager Mike John talks “Seinfeld” and cocktails. | Photo by Sara Havens

I’ll list the names of the drinks below, which I’m sure all you nerdy fanatics will understand 100%. I was more interested in the ingredients, but that’s just me. The one we got to sample was called The Beach, which I don’t get the reference to, but it was delicious! It was made with Angel’s Envy Rye, Averna, coconut, black walnut and salt.

The talented Angel’s Envy Bar Manager Mike Bohn whipped it up for us and explained the concept behind the menu and the cocktail. And the idea is pretty simple: Everyone loves “Seinfeld,” including us. So let’s make a cocktail menu based on popular words or phrases from the show.

As a cocktail consumer, the options are both creative and appealing. So why not mix craft drinks and comedy — with a twist of skill and a wink to pop culture?

*Stay tuned for a very special episode of The Bar Belle next week, where I’ll tell you why I was really at Angel’s Envy. 

 

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the list of drinks on the Angel’s Envy winter menu:

  • The Summer of George — Angel’s Envy Bourbon, grapefruit, lime, maple, allspice
  • Serenity Now — Angel’s Envy, yellow chartreuse, St. Germain, cacao, chipotle
  • I Don’t Want to be a Pirate! — Angel’s Envy, aged rum, Velvet Falernum, cinnamon, peppercorn
  • Festivus Flip — Angel’s Envy Rye, winter spice, cream, egg, soda
  • Come Back, One Year! — Angel’s Envy, cream, spices, butter (served hot or cold)
  • Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That — Angle’s Envy, tamarind, quince, white port, citrus, gremant
  • The Beach — Angel’s Envy Rye, Averna, coconut, black walnut, salt
  • The Jr. Mint — Angle’s Envy, chocolate, mint, genepy, coconut, milk
  • No Soup For You — Featured cocktail of the day

Also new at the Angel’s Envy bar is a library of cask strength Angel’s Envy that dates back to 2013! Giddyup!