September is Bourbon Heritage Month, but don’t think for a second that Kentucky will be having all the fun. Mary Eddy’s Kitchen and Lounge, located in the 21c Museum Hotel on West Main in Oklahoma City, will be celebrating Bourbon Heritage this month with a unique cocktail menu focused on the American spirit, and a fantastic 5-course meal complete with Bourbon and Bourbon-based cocktail pairings.
Based in Louisville, Kentucky and founded by Laura Lee Brown, the great-grandaughter of Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown, the hotel and art space is steeped in Bourbon history and aims to put the spirit, as well as Brown-Forman products, on show. I sat down with Jason Campbell, Executive Chef of Mary Eddy’s, and Michael O’Hara, the restaurants Assistant Food & Beverage Director last week to find out about the great things they have planned.
Let’s start with those cocktails. The Bourbon Heritage Month menu will be rolled out on September 1st in addition to Mary Eddy’s existing cocktail list, and will shine the spotlight on all that Bourbon has to offer. The menu is organized with light, sweet and fruity drinks on top, gradually evolving to robust and spirit-forward cocktails towards the end of the list. With the amount of variation, there will be something for everyone.
Michael was nice enough to whip up a few of the concoctions for me while we talked and every single one of them was fantastic. I started with the Kentucky Rose which was the first on the list. The Four Roses all but disappears when mixed with the refreshing aloe liqueur and house-made berry shrub. If you don’t want the whiskey to slap you in the face, this one is for you. Next up was Movin’ to the Country, a peachy whiskey sour with its name being inspired from a certain 90’s song about the stone fruit. The drink is basically a fruity take on a amaretto sour/whiskey sour hybrid. The red wine float adds really interesting character to it and the wheated Maker’s Mark is perfectly in line with the soft and rich flavors. That house-made amaretto foam is something special, too. I ended with the .357, a riff on the Revolver which features Bourbon and coffee liqueur. The house-made super rich espresso and demerara syrup is incredible and when accompanied by the Peychaud’s bitters and orange it brings out all the huge notes in the Knob Creek. So good.
Now that the drinks were flowing it was time to talk food.
Chef Campbell is from Bourbon country having worked at the 21c in Cincinnati only an hour-and-a-half from Louisville before moving to OKC to open Mary Eddy’s last year. During our conversation it became obvious he has put substantial thought behind the menu. This dinner is an OKC-only event, and Campbell is pulling out all the stops to highlight everyone’s favorite American spirit. Bourbon won’t be an ingredient in any of the recipes as Campbell feels it only muddles the complexity of the spirit (I agree), but instead each course will serve to bring out different notes in Bourbon’s classic flavor profile. I don’t want to give away too much, but things like tartare with hints of burnt orange, smoked duck, charred cabbage, rye vinaigrette, and an amazing chocolate creme dessert will really pull out the great range of flavors from the pairings.
And what will the pairings be? Well given the history of 21c it makes sense that the dinner will be focusing on Brown-Forman products including possible appearances by an expression from the Old Forester Whiskey Row Series, the new Old Forester Statesman, Woodford Reserve Rye, and maybe even a limited whiskey or two!
The Bourbon Heritage Fork + Bottle is on Thursday September 21st at 6:30pm and tickets are $89 per person. Space is very limited with only approximately 50 seats available. Reservations will fill up quick so make sure to call 405.982.6984 to make yours. Kate and I will absolutely be there so make sure to come over and say hi during the dinner!