Bourbon tasting and cocktail masterclass

Ignition’s Summer Party

By Jeff Chandler, Business Development Manager, US

“With many event organizers on the team, it was no easy task to plan the Ignition Summer Outing…

When my colleague Sadie and I were given the challenge, we met and asked a lot of questions and found out that many ideas have been used before. Planning something unique and fun that everyone can enjoy and that hasn’t already been done before proved to be difficult, but we were up for the task!

Having planned many events before and thinking back to a different time in life, I suggested to Sadie that we have a Bourbon tasting with an educational piece and then we expounded on the idea and decided to throw in 2 cocktail stations and a mocktail station all led by a mixologist that would show us how to make select cocktails using bourbon.  We also thought it would be wise to enjoy a bit of food before we embark on our bourbon education. 

We made a group reservation at the local restaurant Mesh, which is in the heart of the Massachusetts Avenue cultural district that is booming with art, food, and many shops.  Mesh is a contemporary American restaurant that features innovative food that uses locally sourced meats and vegetables.  The room was alive and buzzing with everyone enjoying the confines of a private room while enjoying their lunch.

We also had visitors from the UK team with us that day, Sam, Adam, and Mark. Once we were done with lunch and knew that we were as prepared as one can be for a bourbon tasting, we ventured over to Libertine.  Libertine Liquor Bar is in the basement of a building across the way from Mesh and it almost seems if we are entering a speak easy in the middle of the day. The bright sunlight is drowned out and the environment looks and feels as if we were transported back to the 1930s.

Libertine Liquor Bar celebrates the pioneering American spirit with a focus on classic cocktails, craft distillers, and boutique brands. The group is greeted by Lindy Brown (Spirit/Cocktail Specialist) and asked to grab a seat and a drink at the bar if you would like.  Lindy begins her educational piece and begins to talk to the group about bourbon and what makes a whisky a bourbon.  We also received a surprise visit during the presentation from John Kruse, Brown-Forman State Manager for Indiana.  Brown-Forman oversees the whole production, distribution, marketing, and sales of a couple small brands such as Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, and Old Forrester to name a few. 

After the group was educated on bourbons and quizzed to make sure they were paying attention, we were asked to venture over to the cocktail stations to learn how to make a proper Old Fashioned and Sazerac.  At this point, everyone had spent several hours of enjoyment together and the group was released into the wild ready to take on the Bourbon World! 

Before everyone left, each person was given a bottle of Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select, with their name personalized on the front of the bottle and the Ignition logo put on the back of the bottle – true to our group brand values, EPIC (Entrepreneurial, Personable, Intelligent, Collaborative).  I would venture to say that some of these bottles will not be cracked open for several years to come until the moment is just right.

No doubt there were a few sore heads the next morning, but we’re not saying who!”