A sold-out crowd of bourbon-swilling Dallasites descended on the historical Venue at 400 North Ervay on November 14, for Woodford Reserve’s School of Bourbon class, hosted by CultureMap.
Upon arrival into the grand old lobby of the former downtown post office, guests were ushered onto an elevator and whisked to the third floor where a world of whiskey awaited. Prior to the class, guests were treated to a sampling of Woodford Reserve cocktails crafted by bartenders Austin Shuffield and Fernanda Rossano.
Shuffield’s specialty of the evening was the Fall Break, a fruity, herb-filled concoction made with Woodford Reserve, orgeat, fresh lemon juice, apple bitters, and sage leaves. Rossano, meanwhile, was shaking up a spicy, cinnamony sipper called Some Like it Hot, made with Woodford Rye, chili syrup, bitters (aromatic and citrus), and lemon-lime peel.
Between drinks, guests — including Kate Eom, Chris Roclevitch, Praya Persaud, Stephen Long, Brenda and Byron Lawrence, Kate Luthuy, Ken Bardsley, Casi Cleavelin, and Kristi Miller — sampled tasty bites like warm brie en croute with port-poached figs and pulled pork quesadilla with avocado crema from Food Glorious Food, before finally settling into their seats for the tasting.
After a quick video showing the Woodford Reserve distilling process, Tamara Piontkowsky began the class. The interactive tasting included samples of Woodford Reserve, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, and Woodford Reserve Rye, paired with everything from aged cheese, toasted nuts and citrus, to dark chocolate, dried cranberries, and sorghum as a way to train your palate to identify the flavors in every sip. Given that Woodford Reserve has more than 200 flavors, that’s no easy feat.
In between tastings, participants also learned about the distilling process itself, as well as the history of Woodford Reserve, which was founded by Elijah Pepper in 1812 and is one of Kentucky’s oldest and smallest distilleries.
While sipping bourbon is fun and all, the night was made even better knowing that all proceeds from the evening benefited Mankind, a Dallas-based nonprofit that promises to help save lives and end suffering from prostate cancer by encouraging men to receive annual tests and help research scientists find a cure for prostate cancer. That is something we can all raise our glasses to.