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Bourbon News & Notes

This is our bourbon blog — a place where we are always sharing the intricacies and history of America's native spirit. Whether you're new to bourbon or a lifelong connoisseur, visit often to discover new topics and interesting articles .

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Barrel Bung

Filed under: Bourbon Bits


You’ve learned what a barrel thief is, but how exactly does it get away with it? A good thief, Brothers, covers its tracks. Once the liquid has been extracted for quality/taste testing, the hole is then sealed with a bung – a wooden stopper inserted into the barrel that acts as a seal.

Booker Noe could always tell which barrels were exception or the “sweet barrels” as he would say, because the moss over the bung would be wiped away from over zealous “quality control.” Arguably not very scientific, but incredibly accurate. Of course those sweet barrels eventually became sources for Knob Creek® Single Barrel Reserve and the rest was bourbon history.

Steal From the Barrel. Give to the Pour.

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits

6th generation Master Distiller and creator of Knob Creek® Bourbon, Booker Noe, once said of bourbon, “Drink it any damn way you please.” Some may drink it neat in a rocks glass while others prefer to steal it straight from the barrel.

A tool called a “thief” is used to hand select small samples of liquid straight from the barrel, so we can guarantee big, full flavor in each batch of Knob Creek Bourbon.

The Bitter Truth

Filed under: Bourbon History

Now that you know all there is to know about the perfect ice for your Old Fashioned, it’s time to move onto another crucial Old Fashioned ingredient: bitters.

Bitters have long been identified as the “salt and pepper” of cocktails. Not only do they add flavor and complexity to your Old Fashioned, they also help balance the various elements of the drink. 

There used to be only a few common brands of bitters, but thanks to the recent revival of classic cocktails, more and more bourbon lovers are beginning to tinker with crafting their own unique bitters flavors. Booker would be proud.

Bitters are made with three main components:

1. The Bittering Agent – usually a root like gentian or dandelion that delivers the bitterness
2. The Flavor- combinations of herbs, spices, fruits and/or florals
3. The Solution- high-proof alcohol like vodka, gin, rum or brandy

Popular techniques include combining the three components in a canning jar, shaking thoroughly and waiting for the extraction process, which can take up to 20-30 days. Seems like a long time, but we know some flavors are worth the wait.

Game. Set. Mash.

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits

It’s hard to believe sometimes that the big, full flavor of Knob Creek® Bourbon starts with a mash of corn, grains and naturally purified limestone water. But the real bourbon magic comes from the “set back” we add to every batch.

The set back is a portion of previously distilled mash that’s added to maintain consistent quality and flavor in every batch of bourbon. The set back ensures the familiar big, full flavor in every sip.

Bourbon Oatmeal

Filed under: Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Jeff Heck, of

Bourbon whiskey will bring depth to your morning bowl of oatmeal.


Oatmeal (either instant or real and must be unflavored)
Bourbon Whiskey 
Chocolate Chips
Cinnamon Sugar


Make Oatmeal in either the traditional fashion or microwave
Add a 1 shot or 1.5 shots of Bourbon
Top oatmeal with a few chocolate chips and allow to slowly melt atop
Finish with a few dashes of cinnamon sugar to taste

Whiskey And Apple Baked Beans

Filed under: Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Colin Joliat, of

Baked beans are a great side (or meal for you vegetarians), so there’s no reason to let it be boring. Using three different beans is a good start, but it’s really the apples that push this dish over the edge. Of course the booze and bacon certainly didn’t hurt either. I even took a few pieces of that previously cooked bacon and made pork feathers on top just for good measure. What’s a dish without a garnish?


1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can white kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained,
1/2 cup Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey BBQ Sauce
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
6 slices lean center cut thin bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Make Whiskey BBQ sauce.
Combine beans, onion, apples, and BBQ sauce. Pour into a glass baking dish.
Artfully arrange as many pieces of bacon as possible on top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in bacon pieces. BBQ sauce tends to sink, so re-incorporate it.
Return to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Take bite, burn mouth, realize it should rest for 15 minutes.
Never eat normal beans again.

Knob Creek® Rye Brown Mustard & Malt Vinegar BBQ Sauce
Created by Celebrity Chef Michael Symon


1 oz. Malt Vinegar
1 oz. Brown Sugar
1 oz. Knob Creek® Rye
2 oz. Brown Mustard
1 oz. Chipotle Adobo Puree

Heat vinegar, sugar and Knob Creek® Rye in saucepan until sugar is melted and the liquid is reduced by half
Remove liquid from heat and whisk in mustard and chipotle puree
Store in refrigerator and enjoy, can be stored for up to 1 month

You Can Lead a Horse to Bourbon

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits

We already know Kentucky is home to the big, full flavor of Knob Creek® Bourbon. But bourbon isn’t the only thing Kentucky does best. It’s also host to the strongest and fastest racehorses in the business.

So what makes the horses from Kentucky the finest? We’ll give you a hint. It’s also what makes Knob Creek® Bourbon so damn great –¬¬ Limestone Water. The Bluegrass Region in Kentucky rests on a limestone plateau, so the grass is full of calcium and phosphorus. Horses bred in that area are constantly grazing that grass, and all that calcium causes them to develop stronger bones and muscles.

So just like bourbon doesn’t have to come from Kentucky, neither do racehorses. But let’s face it, the best ones do.

Pulled Pork Pancakes With Bourbon Syrup Recipe

Filed under: Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Stephanie Le, of

The pulled pork pancakes are famous around town. Every so often, photos of the pancakes pop up on my friends’ Facebook feeds. They’ve even been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s the dish that chef Brad Miller is most proud of. And it’s served all day!

I had a tiny bite and it was tasty enough for me to want to recreate at home.


Pulled Pork Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups pulled pork, warmed

Bourbon Syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup water


Pulled Pork Pancakes

Preheat the oven to 175 F. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg and mix with the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir gently. Do not over mix. This is a thick, lumpy pancake batter. The little lumps will make your pancakes fluffier. Let bater sit for 10 minutes so some moisture works its way into the lumps.


Heat up a frying pan over medium-low heat. Brush a thin layer of butter or oil on your pan. Take 2 tablespoons of batter and drop it into your pan. Cook until many tiny bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and continue cooking. This side won’t take as long, maybe a minute or two. Hold the pancakes in the warm oven until you’re done with the batter.

To arrange, place one pancake on a plate and top with pulled pork. Repeat twice. Serve with bourbon syrup. Enjoy!

Bourbon Syrup

In a small saucepan, Bring the sugars, bourbon and water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the syrup bubble gently and reduce until a syrup like consistency, about 5-6 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn! Let stand 5 minutes. Enjoy warm.

Angels Get Thirsty Too

Filed under: Bourbon History

During the bourbon aging process, a portion of the liquid evaporates from the barrel into the air. And that, my brothers, is what we call the “Angel’s Share”

Here at the Knob Creek® Distillery, our bourbon is aged in new, charred oak barrels for 9 years. The liquid gains deeper color and flavor the longer it matures, resulting in the big, full flavor characteristic of Knob Creek® Bourbon. Sure, 9 years is a long time, but it means more for the angels.


Filed under: Big Flavor Dinners, Seasonal, Recipes

Celebrity Chef Michael Symon creates the perfect recipe for the beginning of spring, Brats in a Knob Creek® Bourbon Rye.

Bourbon Burgers

Filed under: Bourbon Bits, Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Jill McOwen, of


My real life always takes priority over my blogging life and these past couple of weeks that’s been especially necessary. I got to travel with my family ministry team at my church to Georgia for three days last week, which always requires extra time and energy to make sure my work is caught up and that my children and husband are prepared for my absence. Also, certain routine-oriented children needed some extra TLC from me to get back on-track this week behavior wise.
This week did end especially well with a cookout at our house with friends to celebrate our brand-new Weber grill. Our first one (a generous engagement gift from my Aunt) lasted 13 years and had finally had enough. After grilling on our new one, it is quite amazing how much heat and searing-power we’d been missing for the last couple of summers. Our grill is protected by an overhang on our home, so we grill year round. I am so excited for the many upcoming meals this new one will provide!
So this weekend is like a Tsunami of reasons to celebrate… it’s Kentucky Derby weekend, Cinco de Mayo, here in Cincinnati, Ohio over 30,000 people will be participating in our Flying Pig Marathon weekend events, and of course May the fourth be with you Star Wars fans! With that in mind, I at least paid tribute to both the Derby with this luscious bourbon burger and Cinco de Mayo with some grilled pineapple and sopapilla cheesecake last night at our cookout.
And while it may be a little late for the Pig, for future marathon carb-loading, I highly recommend this crock pot pasta Bolognese sauce. It feeds a crowd of hungry runners!
So this burger recipe I found over at Food network after doing a Google search. Nine out of nine reviewers gave it five stars and I enthusiastically count myself as number ten. It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious… make this!

For the burgers
2 lbs ground chuck
1/2 c. bourbon
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 1/4 t. table salt
30 grinds fresh black pepper
6 slices sharp white cheddar cheese

For the onions
2 T. unsalted butter
1 large Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 t. table salt
8 grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 c. bourbon
1 T. light brown sugar

To serve
6 bakery-fresh ciabatta buns
2 T. salted butter, melted

In a large skillet, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat. Add onions, salt, pepper, oregano and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, 20-30 minutes. Increase heat, add bourbon and allow to simmer until liquid is thick and syrupy. Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat.
While onions are cooking, pour 1/2 cup bourbon in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce bourbon by half. Remove from heat.
In large bowl, gently mix together the ground chuck, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and reduced bourbon. Form into 6 burgers and grill to desired doneness, topping burgers with a slice of cheddar cheese during the final minutes on the grill. We like ours medium-well, which is 150 - 155 degrees. I always use an instant-read thermometer, otherwise my burgers come out cooked like hockey-pucks.
While burgers are cooking, split buns and brush insides and tops lightly with melted butter. Place buns on a sheet pan, cover with foil and place in 250 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
To serve, spread mayonnaise on bottom of buns, top with burgers and cheese and a generous amount of bourbon-caramelized onions.

How To Make Your Own Knob Creek Rye Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Filed under: Bourbon Bits, Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Colin Joliat, of

A wise man once said, “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” I’ve never been accused of possessing wisdom though, which is why I used Spicy Beer Mustard to make my own Homemade Rye Whiskey BBQ Sauce. Why have one intoxicant when you can have two?

Just two short days ago I made a Spicy Beer Mustard from scratch. It only seemed appropriate to put that to use again. Why let sandwiches have all the fun. A word of warning though, if you don’t like South Carolina style BBQ sauces (mustard-based), you might as well go check out a different post instead. Might I suggest Jim Beam Rice Whiskey Treats?

I’ve actually shared the recipe for a Knob Creek Rye Whiskey BBQ Sauce once before, but that was Chef Michael Symon‘s dumbed down version. This is the real deal with a full array of ingredients. It still used the Knob Creek Rye, which is essential to stand up to the spice that’s already in the mustard.
Just in case you haven’t’ seen the lifehack, you can avoid crying while chopping an onion by chewing gum. I’m not Bill Nye so I don’t know why it works, but it does. You could also wear goggles, but then you’d look like an idiot.

Making BBQ sauce doesn’t take much effort. Sweat some onions and garlic in a pan, melt brown sugar over it, and dump in whiskey and vinegar. Then just let the heat do its work.
You’re going to want to mince the shit out of your onion because the last thing you want is to have a bunch of chunks in your BBQ sauce. I actually didn’t do a good enough job so I threw it in the food processor for a few seconds to take those badass onions down a peg or two.

At this point all that’s left is stirring in mustard. I think you can handle that. You’ve made it this far after all.
Be sure to taste the sauce before you put it away to cool. You may need add more brown sugar or salt depending on your taste. There’s no set rule here, just make it taste delicious.

I don’t know where my fancy pants bottle that I use for sauces is, so mine went into a bowl. It’s not exactly the classiest housing location, but it’s all being used in a BBQ sauce competition this weekend anyway.
The recipe comes straight from Knob Creek, though I don’t know if it’s a Chef Symon creation. In any case, it’s the best South Carolina BBQ sauce I’ve had. The original recipe calls for ballpark mustard, so feel free to use that if you don’t feel like making your own Spicy Beer Mustard.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp coriander seed, ground
1 tsp cumin seed, ground
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
½ cup Knob Creek® Rye
2 cups Spicy Beer Mustard
Pinch of salt

Sweat the onions and garlic over low heat for 1 minute in olive oil with a pinch of salt.
Add coriander and cumin seeds to the pan and let them bloom for an additional minute.
Add brown sugar to the pan and let it melt.
Add the cider vinegar and Knob Creek® Rye to the pan and reduce the mixture by about a 1¼ over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the mustard.
Taste for seasoning, adding salt and brown sugar as necessary.
Set aside until needed.

Bourbon Pairings: Food

Filed under: Bourbon Bits

Written By Adam Harris



Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying numerous Knob Creek® pairings at more bourbon dinners than I can probably remember, and I mean that in the best possible way. While there are some surefire, can’t miss standards that will never let you down like barbeque (two of my three B’s right there; basketball being the third) or beef & pork from the grill.

I’m always impressed when something comes out of left field and despite all preconceptions works oh so well. I’m always telling people that bourbon is incredibly versatile and top chefs as well as enthusiastic home cooks have been proving me right every step of the way. Have you ever had bourbon integrated into a salad dressing before? I’ve had more than one Knob Creek® based vinaigrette and it’s delicious! Knob Creek® Rye whiskey adds a spicy nuance compared to the sweetness of the bourbon and I recommend trying both sometime – an extra salad here and there won’t hurt.

As for dessert, I usually like Knob Creek® Single Barrel Reserve bourbon on one big ice cube but sometimes it’s just bad form to refuse a dessert set in front of you. Such was the case one time at this great spot in New York City when the pastry chef roasted sweet potatoes glazed in Knob Creek® Small Batch Bourbon. She then pureed those boozy tubers to a creamy consistency, combined with homemade caramel and swirled the combination like a ribbon through an adult milkshake (spiked with more Knob Creek® bourbon, of course). The mixture made for a treat to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Origin of Flavor, Part 1: Water

Filed under: Bourbon History

Written By Adam Harris


If you ever find yourself exploring the Kentucky wilderness, either by roadside or trail, it won’t be long before you notice two things: the limestone bedrock prominent throughout the state and the clear running creeks and small lakes nestled amongst the knobs & forests. These spring-fed beauties are important to us in Clermont as they provide the first essential building block of crafting good bourbon flavor—water.

Kentucky water is naturally filtered through the limestone and therefore iron free. The water we draw from spring fed Lake Bernheim to make Knob Creek® bourbon is soft, sweet and just right for crafting our signature flavor. We use it to cook the mash, extracting the sweet and spicy flavors from the corn, rye and malted barley in our time-honored recipe. We also add a little to our white dog in order to barrel the whiskey at just the right proof. During barrel aging the water helps draw the whiskey through the layer of flavorful char and into the oak, picking up rich caramel and deep vanilla notes season after season for nearly a decade. Lastly, that special water comes into play when we bottle Knob Creek® bourbon’s big, full flavor at a pre-Prohibition style 100 proof.

Now there are a lot of people out there who are just fine with leaving it up to us to use the right amount of water at the distillery to give Knob Creek® that quintessential bourbon goodness, but there are a few out there who might like to add their own water either with an ice cube or a splash. To end the debate right now, when to add water or not, I find it’s only right to quote our Master Distiller Fred Noe and encourage you to drink it “any damn way you please”.

Meatloaf Sandwich with Bourbon Mustard

Filed under: Bourbon Bits, Recipes

Written By Guest Blogger Heather Christo of



One of the very first recipes I ever posted (many, many, many, many years ago) was for Meatloaf. I was a newbie (or at least rediscovering it) to meatloaf way back then, and I had kind of forgotten about how freaking good it is! But because it is SO COLD here right now (like it’s below 20 degrees here, which is FROZEN for Seattle) it’s is making us all crave hearty and comforting food. Like meatloaf.

So when I couldn’t get the old meatloaf off of my brain, I went back and dug up this old recipe. I loved it as much as the first time I made it, and mercifully so did my kids. But the greatest part was that it gave us dinner for two nights in a row. The first night we had the original Meatloaf, and the second we had these gorgeous Meatloaf Sandwiches. Considering that I have now created the craziest schedule for myself I have had since my booktour over the next few weeks, I am totally into the two-for-one dinners. Are you into that too? By the way, can a meatloaf sandwich be gorgeous?

Big slabs of soft white bread, ripe tomatoes and some peppery little greens were the backdrop for the incredibly moist and delicious meatloaf as well as the insanely wonderful sweet and tangy Bourbon Mustard. Yes. Bourbon Mustard.

If you are in the midst of a chaotic Holiday season, consider making some meatloaf and then using the leftovers for a sandwich. Or maybe just make it for the sandwiches? Either way- it is seriously amazing.

4 thick slices Meatloaf
8 thick slices good bread (such as sourdough, potato, or a rustic Italian)
8 slices ripe tomato
2 handfuls arugula
Bourbon Mustard
Bourbon Mustard
1 teaspoon bourbon
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
5 tablespoons good grainy mustard

For the mustard, completely combine the ingeredients in a small bowl.
Divide the mustard amongst the bread, and top every other slice with the meatloaf. Add the tomatoes and a small handful of the arugula to the sandwich and top with the other slice of bread.
Slice and Enjoy!
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meet Adam

Filed under: News


We’d like to introduce a fellow bourbon fanatic and one of the wisest whiskey men we know, Adam Harris.

Adam is our Knob Creek® Bourbon Ambassador and works closely with our master distiller and other whiskey experts to learn every intricacy of small batch bourbon. We told him you all are thirsty for knowledge, so he’s going to start sharing his insights, news and bourbon know-how on the Original Brothers of Bourbon blog.

Adam’s passion started by slinging cocktails in New York City bars and it eventually led him to a job with Jim Beam in 2006. Since then he’s been recognized by many for his contributions to the industry and was even named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of the Commonwealth. If you ever meet Adam, he promises two things: bourbon in your glass and (if you’re lucky) the best old fashioned you’ll ever have.

Stay tuned for bourbon gold from Adam Harris.

Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam

Filed under: Bourbon Bits, Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Kevin Lynch, of Closet Cooking

I do not know how I could have possibly missed the whole bacon jam band wagon when it came around a while ago but I recently discovered it and jumped right on board! I mean, how could you possibly go wrong making a jam where the primary ingredient is bacon? I was completely smitten with the idea and had to make a batch right away!

Luckily it was pretty easy to find a bacon jam recipe online, there are a ton of them and each one was a little different. After poring over dozens of recipes the base seemed to come down to; lots of bacon, some onion, garlic, vinegar, coffee and sugar and from there you can go with whatever you like. I chose to go with some of my favourite things including with maple syrup and a splash of bourbon and I could not resist adding a source of spicy heat in the form of some smoky chipotle chili peppers. With all of the ingredients in this jam, you know that it is just packed with flavour and umami with a nice balance of salty from the bacon, sweet from the brown sugar and maple syrup, tangy from the cider vinegar and spicy from the chipotles!

Bacon jam is really easy to make which is good because you are going to be wanting to make it all the time! In fact, I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe!

While I was writing the recipe and making the jam ideas of how to use it were flying through my head and I look forward to sharing some of them with you later in the week. Of course the first way that I tested out my shiny new batch of bacon jam was the easiest way, simply spread on toast and I now look forward to enjoying it that way for many happy breakfasts to come!

SERVINGS: makes 1-2 cups

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 50 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours

1 pound thick smoked bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup coffee (brewed)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
1-2 chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan an over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon starts to get crispy and set aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of the grease in the pan.
Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan.
Add the coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon, bacon, chipotle chilies, cumin and pepper, reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 1-2 hours.
Process the jam in a food processor to smooth it out a bit but not too much as you want to have the texture of the bacon.
If you do not finish it all in one sitting, store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Tip: Chipotles chili peppers in adobo can be hot and everyone hase their own preferences for heat. I recommend that you add the chipotles in adobo a bit at a time, taste testing as you go, to bring the heat up to the point where it is a nice undertone without overwhelming.

Tip: I prefer the bacon jam warm so I take out what I need and give it a few seconds in the microwave before using it.



Take a Sip Back into History

Filed under: Bourbon History

What if you could track the history of a sip? And not just from bottle to barrel, but from barrel to a 100 year-old mash recipe. Bourbon lovers are passionate about how their bourbon is made and that’s why distillery tours are so popular. But there is one trip every true bourbon fan must take before they take their last sip. And that’s to take the ultimate bourbon adventure on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® journey isn’t just giving you a behind the scenes look into 8 of the most popular Kentucky bourbon distilleries. It’s offering you a chance to be a part of the history these companies have built over the many, many years they’ve been in production. The Beam® bourbon brand started as early as 1795 when Jacob Beam began selling his first barrels of corn whiskey. Back then, his whiskey was called “Old Jake Beam” and the distillery was called the “Old Tub.”

Six generations later, Booker Noe began learning the true craft of bourbon making, adhering to the pre-Prohibition standards he learned from generations of master distillers before him. This led him to one of the greatest innovations in bourbon artistry in 200 years, “small batch” bourbon, and with it came Knob Creek® bourbon

The chance to walk in Booker Noe’s footsteps at the Jim Beam Distillery is the highlight of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience. There’s nowhere else you’d have the chance to learn the “Kentucky Chew” so you can better appreciate the big, full flavor of the original small batch bourbon, Knob Creek®.

To learn more about this bourbon rite of passage, visit

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL® and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.


Filed under: Bourbon Bits, Recipes

Big Flavor never goes out of style. That’s why Knob Creek® is bringing back the original bourbon cocktail, the Old Fashioned.
There are many stories about how the Old Fashioned was invented. We refer to the story that it was coined in the 1880s in Louisville, KY and was created in honor of Colonel James E. Peppers, a local bourbon distiller. And although you may be unfamiliar with Colonel Peppers, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of, or even sipped on, the delicious bourbon cocktail that is the Old Fashioned.
Blended with sugar, bitters and citrus, the bourbon you use to craft the perfect Old Fashioned has to stand up to these added ingredients. That’s where the big flavor of Knob Creek® comes in and makes for a more robust-flavored cocktail. It’s not just a good choice; it’s the only choice. Because the original bourbon cocktail calls for the original big flavor bourbon.
We like our Old Fashioned classic:
2 parts Knob Creek® Bourbon
2 dashes bitters
1 splash water
1 tsp sugar
1 maraschino cherry
1 orange wedge
Mix sugar,  water and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Drop in a cherry and orange wedge. Muddle into a paste using a muddle or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice cubes and stir.
But wait. There’s more.
Bourbon lovers may be familiar with this classic recipe, but the Old Fashioned has come a long way. Contemporary mixologists have experimented with flavored bitters, added different citrus and floral components and even tried different variations of bourbon.
Stay tuned as we continue to explore the original bourbon cocktail and what makes it so damn great.


Knob Creek Smoked Maple Glazed Ham 

Filed under: Big Flavor Dinners, Recipes

Created by Michael Symon

This one-of-a-kind recipe is from Chef Michael Symon, showcasing that the big, full flavor of Knob Creek Smoked Maple translates just as perfectly on your plate as it does in the glass.

Recipe Serves 8-10

10-12 pound, Bone-In, Fully Cooked Ham
1 C Water
2 C Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon
¼ C Dijon Mustard
1 ½ C Brown Sugar
½ C Honey
½ C Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cinnamon Stick
Juice of 1 Orange
½ tsp. Salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Place ham in a roasting pan, adding 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover 
with foil and place in the oven to warm through, about 2 hours. (begin making glaze)
3. After about 2 hours, your ham should be warmed through. Remove it from the oven 
and remove the foil.
4. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees.
5. Pour the glaze over the ham and place ham back in the oven, uncovered, for another 
10-15 minutes, until the glaze becomes sticky on the outside of the ham and starts to caramelize.
6. Remove from the oven, slice and enjoy.

1. Heat a large heavy bottomed saucepot over medium heat and combine the Knob 
Creek Smoked Maple, mustard, brown sugar, honey, cider vinegar and cinnamon 
2. As the mixture comes to a gentle boil, whisk to dissolve the sugars.
3. Lower the heat to medium low, and continue to cook and reduce liquid. Whisk the mixture occasionally until it begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.
4. After about 20 minutes, the mixture will begin to look like a glaze and the bubbles 
will slow down and appear smaller.
5. Remove from heat and finish the glaze with the juice of 1 orange and ½ tsp. salt.
6. Remove the cinnamon stick then set aside.

The Bourbon Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits

As the sixth generation Master Distiller, Booker Noe was practically raised on bourbon, metaphorically of course. 

He started working at the company when he was about 21 years old. There he learned the trade from his “Uncle Jere” and his cousin Carl. “Uncle Jere,” or T. Jeremiah Beam, had helped rebuild the company in 1934 after the Repeal of Prohibition the year before. Yes sir, Booker learned from the best.

Student quickly became master as Booker excelled at the distillery. Booker ate, slept, breathed and, of course, drank bourbon. Before long, he was made Master Distiller.

After years of mastering the craft, he began to experiment with small batch recipes, restoring the quality from bourbon’s past. And that, of course, is how Knob Creek was born. It is now the #1 super premium bourbon on the market.

Booker had great pride in both bourbon and his ancestors, which he passed down to his son, Fred Noe III. As the now 7th generation Master Distiller, Fred believes that every bottle produced is a reflection of his family. And the new Knob Creek Smoked Maple, inspired by Booker’s quest for big flavors, is the perfect addition to the family. 

Nobody knew bourbon like Booker.  And nobody loved it quite like he did either.  I guess you could say he was born to bourbon.

A House Just Ain’t a Home Without Bourbon

Filed under: Seasonal, Bourbon Bits

Booker Noe, sixth generation Master Distiller and the creator of Knob Creek, was a huge proponent of drinking your bourbon any damn way you please. So whether you like it neat, or on the rocks, might we suggest you try it on a rocking chair?

You’ll find the perfect spot to sit and sip a bold glass of Knob Creek Bourbon on the front porch of the Knob Creek Guest House, a private cottage located on the distillery property in Clermont, Kentucky. Built in 1911, the lakefront property once belonged to the family of a Cadillac dealer from Louisville. It was purchased by Booker Noe’s family not only for its charm, but also for the lake, which would serve as another source of the incredibly pure Kentucky water used in the production of Knob Creek Bourbon.

Although it was originally used as a hunting lodge for friends and family, it now serves as a guesthouse, full of rich history. Nowadays, family, friends and fans alike can spend a weekend with Knob Creek in the heart of bourbon country.

So if you ever find yourself in the peaceful town of Clermont, Kentucky, be sure to stop by and visit the Knob Creek Guest House. The beautiful view from the front porch is best seen with a glass of big bourbon flavor. And remember, if all you have back home is a tiny stoop for enjoying your Knob Creek, then that works too!

Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Knob Creek Pineapple Glaze

Filed under: Seasonal, Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Mike Vrobel at Dad Cooks Dinner.

Knob Creek and Pineapple Shrimp

Knob Creek and pineapple? Absolutely! Knob Creek plays particularly well with pineapple - the big bourbon flavor is a great match for the sweet and sour fruit. I layer those flavors on grilled shrimp, first as a marinade, then as a grilling glaze. Bland shrimp? Not when I’m done with it.

These shrimp can be an appetizer or main course. If I’m serving the shrimp as an appetizer, I use short skewers, with three shrimp per skewer. I serve the skewers hot off the grill.

I made these for a party, and the smell of the grilling shrimp drew in my guests. I barely got them off the grill grates before they were devoured.

For dinner sized servings, I use longer skewers with six shrimp per skewer. That should make eight skewers, which is enough for four people. Or one or two hungry guys. If you’re serving more people, get more shrimp. The recipe easily scales up; the only real work is skewering.

And, of course, the bourbon flavor in the shrimp makes these a great match for a glass of Knob Creek. Enjoy!


Plated and served


Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Knob Creek Pineapple Glaze

Cooking time: 6 minutes


Grill (I love my Weber Summit, but any grill will work - shrimp doesn't need high heat)

Skewers (I like these metal skewers)


2 pounds shrimp, 21–25 count, peeled and deveined


2 tablespoons Knob Creek bourbon

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil


2 tablespoons Knob Creek bourbon

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


1. Marinate the shrimp

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Peel and devein the shrimp, put them in the bowl of marinade, and toss to coat. Marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes to one hour, stirring and tossing occasionally.

Marinating the shrimp


2. Set the grill for direct medium-high heat

I preheat my grill with all the burners on high for 15 minutes. Then I brush the grates with my grill brush and turn the burners down to medium-high.

3. Reduce the glaze

If you have a grill-safe basting pot, put the glaze ingredients in the pot, and put it in the grill while the grill is preheating to bring it to a simmer. Once the glaze is simmering, slide it off the heat and let it simmer while the shrimp is on the grill. Move it closer or farther from the heat as needed to maintain a simmer.
My “grill safe pot” is an enameled steel camping mug. If you don’t have a grill safe pot, simmer the glaze on the stovetop until it reduces to a thick glaze.

4. Skewer the shrimp

While the grill is preheating, skewer the shrimp, letting excess marinade drip off.

Skewering Shrimp


5. Grill the shrimp

Quick Summary:
Grill the shrimp over direct medium-high heat until browned, about 6 minutes. Brush the shrimp with the glaze a couple of times during the last two minutes of cooking.

Put the skewers on the grill over direct medium-high heat, and cook for two minutes, or until the shrimp are starting to brown. Flip the skewers and cook for another two minutes, until browned on the other side. Brush both sides of the shrimp with the glaze, and cook for one minute to caramelize the glaze; brush both sides again with glaze, and cook for one more minute.

Remove the skewers to a platter and brush one last time with the glaze. Let the skewers rest for five minutes, then serve.

Glazing the shrimp on the grill


  • 21 to 25 count shrimp are also called “Jumbo Shrimp”, and oxymoron that George Carlin loved to point out. 21 to 25 count means 21 to 25 per pound, giving you roughly 48 shrimp to skewer and grill.
  • If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for an hour before skewering the shrimp. Soaking he skewers keeps them from burning on the grill. Or, at least, it keeps them from burning right away - if they’re over a hot spot, they’ll still char.
  • I prefer metal skewers - no worry about them burning up. But watch out, because they come off the grill blazing hot, just waiting for me to forget and grab one with bare fingers. Um…not that I’ve branded my fingertips or anything.


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Who you calling small?

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits

Booker Noe coined the term “small batch” long before it was a buzzword. He introduced the world to the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, which included yours truly, Knob Creek. Booker Noe’s goal with Knob Creek was to create stronger, more complex flavors reminiscent of pre-Prohibition bourbon.

Often, when distillers bottle a batch of bourbon, they mix hundreds of barrels together in a large tank for bottling. However, Booker Noe’s small batch technique is to blend a limited amount of barrels to reach a very specific flavor profile – big. Then, Knob Creek’s small batch bourbon is aged longer to develop more character than traditional straight bourbons.

Currently, there is no legal requirement for what constitutes a “small batch,” but the industry and bourbon fans credit Booker and his Small Batch Collection, as the first to popularize the term.


Filed under: Bourbon Bits

(photo from Mike Sabatino of Deer Tracks Jerky)

We pretty much stick to drinking it. But some people smoke it, blend it, infuse it and who the hell knows what else. But we’re fine with it, as long as they’re enjoying America’s Native Spirit. While searching the worldwide whiskey web, we found some interesting products that have been flavored with bourbon. But as cool as they are, most have just a hint of bourbon. What if they were made with Kentucky Straight Bourbon? The small batch kind. The big flavor, Knob Creek kind. Here are 7 products we’d want to punch up with our full flavor. Because we know our fans want all the bourbon goodness they can get.

This jerky is handmade in the Midwest from 100% USDA whitetail deer, spices, sugar and other natural ingredients. Then those good folks add a bit of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey for good measure.

Don Poynter, the same genius who created the crossword-puzzle toilet tissue, invented this gem in 1954. He also came out with a Scotch version. But who wants to brush their teeth with Scotch flavored toothpaste?

Paprika is oftentimes smoked, but when it’s bourbon smoked, you get another layer of flavor with some Kentucky swagger.

After meeting legendary distiller Booker Noe in 1992, Goose Island’s brewmaster, Greg Hall, was inspired with a truly unique concept – aging stout in used oak bourbon casks. The beer was released in honor of the company’s 1000th batch.

Even though there’s been a big college football rivalry between Kentucky and Mississippi (currently tied at 20 wins apiece), we will not refuse these orbs of awesome.

While we know the above items already exist, this is still America where anything can happen. So here’s our dream list of new bourbon-flavored products.  What are your biggest bourbon wishes?

1. Bourbon Funnel Cake
2. Bourbon Snow Cone
3. Bourbon Pub Cheese
4. Bourbon Shepherd’s Pie
5. Bourbon Battered Corn Dogs (bourbon battered anything really)
6. Bourbon Corn On The Cob
7. Bourbon Salad Dressing
8. Bourbon Mouthwash

Meat Master Class - Meat Selection

Filed under: Seasonal, Recipes

Celebrity Chef Michael Symon presents the first Knob Creek Meat Master Class on selecting the right protein.

Big Flavors - Grilled Pork Chops with Knob Creek Lemon Glaze

Filed under: Recipes

Written by guest blogger, Mike Vrobel at Dad Cooks Dinner.

Grilled Pork Chops with Lemon Bourbon Glaze

Pork loin chops can be dry and bland. Today we’re fixing that, taking the flavors of a Knob Creek Sour and building them into the chops.

Start with thick-cut, bone in pork chops. The mass of the bone slows down cooking, and the thick chop gives us time to build a browned crust on the outside of the chop without overcooking the inside. I don’t cook pork loin past medium doneness; chops are so lean they dry out when cooked past 145°F to 150°F internal temperature. And, best of all, bone in pork chops give me a bone to nibble on as part of dinner.
If you can find Berkshire pork, a heritage breed that isn’t as lean as modern pigs, buy it! It’s worth the extra money to get a little fat in the meat - fat means flavor.

The first layer of flavor is the marinade - lemon, bourbon, salt, and sugar. This marinade has a lot of salt in it, resulting in a marinade that also works as a brine. While the marinade flavors the outside of the meat, the salt works its way into the meat, seasoning it down to the bone. That brining effect helps the pork hang onto liquid while it cooks, so it doesn’t dry out on the grill.
Don’t worry, the pork chops won’t come out salty - the extra salt is discarded with the excess marinade.

The next layer of flavor is from the grill. Sear the chops directly over the coals to start a beautiful browned crust. Then, move the chops away from the heat, so they can finish gently over indirect heat. We’ll add some wood chips, adding a hint of smoke to the pork.

The last layer of flavor is a lemon, bourbon, and brown sugar glaze. This gives the chops sweet-sour crust, with the tart lemon playing off the sweet bourbon and brown sugar.

Bland pork chops? I don’t think so.


4 (1 1/2 inch thick) bone in pork loin chops (t-bone chops or rib chops)

1 cup of wood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour (oak chips are best, if you can find them; hickory, apple, cherry, or pecan also work)


Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup Knob Creek bourbon

1 tablespoon fine sea salt (or 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil


Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons bourbon

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


1. Marinate the chops

Put the pork chops in baking dish in a single layer. Make the marinade: whisk the lemon juice and zest, bourbon, salt, and sugar until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 1 minute. Whisk in the oil in a slow stream. Pour the marinade over the chops, and turn to coat. Put the dish in the refrigerator and let the chops marinate, turning occasionally. Marinate for at least an hour, preferably four hours.
Pork chops ready to marinate

2. Preheat the grill to medium-high

Set the grill up for two zone cooking; one side should be medium-high heat, the other side no heat. In my kettle grill, I light a chimney full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with gray ash, then pour the charcoal in a tight, single layer over half the charcoal grate. In my gas grill, I preheat with all the burners on high for 15 minutes, then turn two of the burners down to medium-high and turn off all the other burners. After the grill is preheated, I brush the grates clean with my grill brush.
Grill with two zones set up - charcoal on one side

3. Prepare the glaze

If you have a grill-safe basting pot, put the glaze ingredients in the pot and give them a stir. Put the pot on the grill over direct heat until it starts boiling, then slide it just off the heat, and let it simmer while grilling the pork chops, thickening it into a glaze. Move it closer or farther from the heat as needed to maintain a simmer.
My “grill safe pot” is an enameled steel coffee mug, intended for camping. If you don’t have a grill safe pot, simmer on the stovetop while the grill preheats, reducing it to a thick glaze.

4. Grill the chops

Quick summary: Sear the chops over medium-high heat for 6 minutes. Finish over indirect heat with the lid closed, until the chops reach 135°F internal temperature, about 8 more minutes.

Details: Take the chops out of the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chops on the grill over the medium-high heat and grill until they are starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the chops and grill the other side until it starts to brown, about 2 more minutes. Flip the chops, rotating 90 degrees to get a diamond pattern in the grill marks, and cook until they are well browned on the bottom, about 2 more minutes.
Chops on the grill

Turn 1 - browned on one side

Turn 2 - browned on the other side

Brush the chops on both sides with the lemon bourbon glaze, watching out for flareups as the glaze drips onto the fire. Move the chops over to the unlit side of the grill, put the drained wood chips on the charcoal, and close the lid and cook the chops with indirect heat. The chops are done when they reach 140°F internal temperature (cooked to medium doneness), about 8 minutes. Brush the chops again with the glaze and remove to a platter. Let the chops rest for ten minutes before serving. Brushed with glaze, moved to indirect heat

140 degrees - done

Serve and enjoy


1 1/2 inch thick chops will serve two people, unless they’re big eaters (like me). Or, if each person needs their own bone to gnaw on (again, like me.)

Because of the lemon juice, this is a very acidic marinade. It will cook the pork chops like ceviche if they marinate too long. Don’t let the chops sit for more than eight hours, or they’ll start to get tough.

Smoking wood is easy to use in a charcoal grill; just toss it on the coals. Gas grills are trickier. If your gas grill comes with a smoker box, use it for the wood chips. If not, wrap the drained chips in a layer of aluminum foil, and (carefully!) lift the grate and put them directly on the burner cover over a lit burner after you move the chops to indirect heat.

I’m recommending Knob Creek for this recipe because of its big bourbon flavor. And, of course, a glass of Knob Creek is the perfect drink with these chops.


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Becoming 40: The Standards for the Modern Middle-aged Man

Filed under: Seasonal, Bourbon Bits


All men grow older but few men grow.

I read that somewhere and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Most of you know me as a confident, well-dressed, middle-aged guy with a balanced portfolio. That’s me now, but I wasn’t always that way. There were a few skills I needed to master and lessons I needed to learn to become the 40-year-old me you see today. The fact is that with good genes and a bit of luck we’ll all turn 40. But it takes a conscious effort to develop the skills required to become 40.
Yes, all men grow older but few men grow.

So I’m sharing with you the 10 skills/lessons every man should master by the time they are 40. Call them the minimum admission requirements to Project 40. Just like jazz standards for musicians, these standards are an important part of any middle-aged man’s repertoire.

No matter what your profession, you always have a need for at least one good suit in your closet.

Here’s a tip: Unless you are a sneaker company pitchman and 6’6” shooting guard for a 6-time world champion basketball team, you should never wear a 4-button suit. For that matter, you shouldn’t really wear suit jackets with more than two or less than two buttons. (You see where I’m going with this right?)

Bonus tip: The bottom button on your suit jacket is not meant to be buttoned. If you insist on wearing a three-button jacket, just the middle button needs to be fastened.

A turning point in a man’s life comes when dinner parties at your place cease to consist of pizza and beer. When you can serve your guest a meal that you have created yourself, you have truly entered grown manhood.

My friend Pat shared a great crab cake recipe on this blog.

That’s a good place to start.

Just like with a suit, there will be a time regardless of your profession, when you’ll need to put on a tie. This is your job. Not your wife’s.
Here’s how you do it.

Every man needs a signature drink. You walk into your local pub and sit down. The bartender walks over and asks what you’d like… You’re on deck… Without hesitation… Without looking at a menu or humming and hawing… What is your drink?

Whatever it is, it should just flow off your tongue.

What’s my signature drink you ask? Well I’ve recently graduated to premium bourbon.

Double Knob Creek neat. Ordered in a deep voice.


Read On at Project 40...


It’s Brunching Season

Filed under: Seasonal, Recipes

After trudging through the long, cold winter, it’s finally the season we’ve all been itching for—spring. It’s the smell of fresh air, the brightness of blossoms and, more importantly, it brings the most important meal of the weekend back into our lives. Brunch.

From bourbon infused maple syrup to bourbon-glazed ham to bourbon bacon and eggs, we encourage you to set the standards at the start of brunching season by serving up your favorite recipes with only the biggest, fullest flavors of Knob Creek® Bourbon.

Sure bourbon warms your bones in the thick of winter, but it can also take on a refreshing taste of a springtime cocktail or become a big flavor that transforms French toast into what we like to call Kentucky Breakfast Toast. So, check out a couple of Knob Creek® Big Brunch recipes to start your spring weekends off right. Cheers!

Big Brunch Cocktail

Kentucky Breakfast Toast


Knob Creek Big Brunch

Big Flavor Dinner Series: Datz Tampa Photos

Filed under: Big Flavor Dinners

Datz - May 8

Big Flavor Dinner Series: the Gorbals LA Photos

Filed under: Big Flavor Dinners

The Gorbals - May 15

Welcome to the Big League

Filed under: Bourbon History

Now that it’s officially spring, we think it’s okay to talk about baseball. With a long season and an even deeper history, it’s no wonder that America’s Spirit and the Nation’s Pastime go back a ways. In 1882, the owners of the original six baseball teams controlled professional baseball. At the time, baseball was believed to be a gentleman's game. There were set standards and morals that were expected to be upheld. Liquor wasn't sold in the parks, Sunday games were prohibited, and admission was at a premium to keep out the common folk.

However, in the late 1800s, baseball would never be the same. Enter the American Association. While the owners of the original major league teams prohibited selling alcohol on their grounds, the ban did not apply to the AA. Breweries and distilleries backed several AA teams, deeming it the “Beer and Whiskey League.” The other owners applied the name as an insult to the league’s mischievous ways, but the fans of the Association's clubs embraced and celebrated the gesture.

The “Beer and Whiskey League” stayed true to its nickname, steering the most free-spirited years in baseball history—challenging the original professional baseball league by cutting admission in half, playing on Sundays, selling liquor in ballparks, all while fielding exceptional players.

So while you root for your team this season, use the 7th inning stretch to pour yourself a glass of big bourbon and say thanks to the “Beer and Whiskey League” for their services in introducing the American spirit to our greatest pastime.

Big Flavor Dinner Series: Bar Ferdinand Photos

Filed under: Big Flavor Dinners

Photos from our most recent Big Flavor Dinner at Bar Ferdinand, Philadelphia.

Guest Article: The Timeless Standards of the Kentucky Derby Style (Courtesy of Red Clay Soul)

Filed under: Seasonal, Bourbon Bits

Beautiful Louisville, Kentucky. Churchill Downs. On Saturday, May 4th, the thoroughbreds will thunder around the track on their ‘run for the roses’. While the horse race gets all the TV coverage, the traditions and style are on full display at the track. Mint Juleps, the ladies’ hats, and ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ are long-standing traditions that make the day. For the guys who knows their Derbies, there are standards. Standards in the way we look, the way we carry ourselves, and in what we drink. Whether you are watching the race from the infield or up in the stands, make sure you look good by dressing the part:

Red Clay Soul

  1. Persol 3028 Sunglasses: First and foremost, it’s important to protect your eyes during the day-long tailgating festivities.  Secondly, these are great for doing some incognito people watching.  Staring is rude, unless they can’t tell.
  2. Brooks Brothers Tan Suit: Let’s be honest.  You want to look like a man who knows what you are doing at the Derby.  Wear a suit.  A good suit.  Since it’s springtime, a tan suit is the perfect pallet to add some punch.
  3. Sid Mashburn Pocket Square: Think of this as your napkin for the day.  It’ll start as suit pocket decoration, and eventually serve to wipe the bourbon off your chin, dab the sweat off your forehead, and later on to dry your tears when your pick doesn’t take the top prize.
  4. State Traditions Kentucky Hat: This may spend the first part of the day in your date’s purse, but there is a time and place for all hats at the Kentucky Derby.  Don’t let the ladies be the only ones to join in the fun.
  5. Ledbury McGuire Gingham Shirt: Add some color to that tan suit with a bright Kentucky blue gingham.  The fit is spot on, and the style is timeless.
  6. Smathers & Branson Jockey Silk & Derby Flask: You never know when the line for refills is too long, so prepare accordingly.  Fill this bad boy up with some Knob Creek and share accordingly.  Don’t lose this one though; it may end up being your lucky flask.
  7. Smart Turnout Royal Horse Artillery Socks: Of course, socks are optional, so if you choose to partake, keep with the Kentucky blue theme.
  8. Southern Proper Dixie Dot Neck Tie: A timeless yellow tie that will be the finishing touch to your ensemble.  Tie the right knot, though – stick with the Windsor.
  9. Johnston & Murphy Ellington Saddles: Break out those saddles.  This is as good a time as any.  Remember that there is a good chance these could show some wear after a day at the Derby, but that is no excuse for great style.

Thanks to Red Clay Soul for the article.


Feast on The Whole Beast.

Filed under: Big Flavor Dinners

There’s much to be said for respecting the pig enough to eat the whole beast after you kill it. That is the trend that’s been happening across the nation in the last few years. Restaurateurs, chefs and farmers are embracing the age-old philosophy of nose-to-tail eating, which is pretty simple; eat all of it, not just the chops, ribs or rump. But damn that rump is good.

It’s a nice departure from how most of us obtain our meat – packaged in plastic or on display in the butcher’s showroom. This new culinary trend takes you into the backroom, and demonstrates how to use the entire beast to enjoy a range of different flavors and a more sustainable lifestyle. 

We think this style of cooking is right up our alley – big flavors the way they were meant to be. So in 2013, we’re introducing the Knob Creek® Big Flavor Dinner Series for a nose-to-tail experience like no other. Bourbon’s biggest fans, The Original Brothers of Bourbon, are gathering in 13 cities as local chefs prepare the whole beast and bartenders build massively flavorful cocktails.

Ready to join us for dinner? Join OBOB today to be the first to hear about a Knob Creek® Big Flavor Dinner Series near you.

World War II Delays Bourbon Comeback

Filed under: Bourbon History

The celebration was over before it even started. Immediately following Prohibition, many Bourbon distilleries struggled to reopen. And by the time some were back up and running, they were once again halted with the surge of World War II.

During WWII, many distilleries were converted and used for medicinal and fuel alcohol purposes. Penicillin was just invented using a fermentation process. And naturally, distilleries were an ideal setting to produce it in mass quantities.

Despite a few minor historical hiccups, Bourbon distilleries rallied and persevered, making it the strong, American spirit it is today. And at Knob Creek, we pay homage to Bourbon history more than anyone else. We go all the way back to its earlier times, restoring the standards of pre-prohibition-style Bourbon. We are straight Bourbon with only the biggest flavors. 100 proof. The way it was meant to be.

Here’s to history. Let’s never forget it.

With Big Bourbon, Comes Big Responsibility

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits


We are Bourbon. And as the leading international symbol of Kentucky craftsmanship and tradition, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association was formed as a non-profit organization to protect America’s official native spirit.

The KDA dates back to 1880 when 32 distillers gathered together at the Galt House in Louisville, KY to organize and protect Bourbon from “needless and obtrusive laws and regulations.” For decades, they battled to reduce whiskey taxes and insurance fees, while also addressing other significant issues of the time. Unfortunately, the group inevitably folded under the overpowering Prohibition.

What knocked them down only made them stronger. The KDA was revived in early 1936, after a core group representing distilling companies banded together to end Prohibition in Kentucky, which was successfully repealed in November 1935. The association continued to carry out its mission on behalf of distilled spirits, serving as a liaison during World War II on alcohol production and promoted Bourbon as the global export for the Nation.

And though much has changed over the years, the KDA’s mission to protect the trade interests of the industry has stayed true. Today, the KDA’s membership has consolidated to six companies representing seven distilleries that account for 95% of the world’s Bourbon, including yours truly.

So, when you’re in the area, make sure you raise a glass of full-flavored Knob Creek to salute the KDA and those who stand for big bourbon. And while you’re at it, check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour of the state's legendary distilleries.

New, White Oak Char makes the Bourbon

Filed under: Bourbon History, Bourbon Bits

The thing about Bourbon is that it’s very patient and very particular in how it’s made, especially the barrels. Unlike its whiskey brothers, our Bourbon is only aged in new, white oak barrels to really draw out the bold characteristics from the wood.

A Bourbon barrel is formed when wood is cut into staves, then heated and bowed to form a cylindrical container. The barrel is then sent through a small fire for about 12 minutes, to caramelize the sugar and “toast” the wood. It is then directed into a larger fire for 6 to 12 seconds, to burn out the inside, forming an even charcoal layer. There are 4 levels of charring and many bourbons stop at level 2 or 3. Knob Creek always uses a level 4 char, the highest, to ensure the biggest flavor possible. The new, white oak barrels are then filled to the brim with the high wine and ready for aging.

During the aging process with varying seasonal temperatures, the liquid matures as it “breathes,” moving ¾ of an inch in and out of the 1-inch thick new, white oak barrel. The expanding and contracting liquid in and out of the caramelized layer of charred wood inside the barrel, gives it that distinctive big Bourbon flavor and color. Straight Bourbon whiskey must age a minimum of two years. But we think patience brings perfection—so we age our small batch Bourbons for nine years.


Knob Creek White Oak Char

Quick Fire Grilling Tips: Episode 4, Serving

Filed under: Recipes

See more Knob Creek recipes created by Michael Symon at

The Lowdown on Bourbon Street

Filed under: Bourbon Bits, Recipes

Bourbon Street – the infamous strip of revelry running between Canal and Esplanade in the heart of New Orleans – seems to be the most aptly named stretch of road in the entire United States. Truth be told, while the name of the thirteen-block strip of Mardi Gras and America’s native spirit Bourbon are certainly linked, it’s not for the reasons that many believe.

It might come as a shock to those outside the state of Louisiana, but in spite of the prevalence of cocktailing opportunities it offers, Bourbon Street was not named after Bourbon Whiskey.

In 1721, French Royal Engineer Adrien de Pauger completed the difficult task of designing and planning the port city settlement of New Orleans for the French colony of Louisiana. In what could be considered a rather shrewd and calculated political move, de Pauger named each of the streets after Catholic Saints and French Royal Houses, reserving the name of the main road in the Vieux Carre for France’s ruling family, the House of Bourbon. Despite the dominion of New Orleans subsequently being passed from France to Spain, back to France, and then ultimately to the United States, de Pauger’s homage to the Bourbons remains as he intended.

So what about Bourbon, the whiskey? It actually originated from an area known as Old Bourbon, what is now called Bourbon County, Kentucky, which was also named after the French House of Bourbon. We consider it the royal family’s biggest accomplishment.

If all that history has made you thirsty, there’s no better Bourbon cocktail to toast during Mardi Gras than the legendary Sazerac. A cocktail that endured a rather lengthy hiatus when the importation and sale of absinthe was banned between 1912 and 2005, the Sazerac began its life in New Orleans as a cognac-based cocktail served at the Sazerac House. But when an epidemic devastated France’s grape crops, the proprietors turned to Bourbon. Lucky for us.

The Sazerac
2 parts Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey
2 parts absinthe
1 sugar cube
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Lemon twist

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice to chill. In a separate glass, muddle the sugar cube and Peychaud’s bitters. Add Knob Creek and ice. Stir well. Discard the ice in the chilled glass and rinse it with absinthe by pouring a small amount into the glass, swirling it, and discarding the remainder. Strain the Knob Creek, bitters, and sugar mixture into the absinthe rinsed glass. Release the lemon twist over the glass and discard.



If it wasn’t for winter, would there be Bourbon?

Filed under: Bourbon History, News

It’s February, and by now a large percentage of folks living on Kentucky’s hemisphere have had their fill of not-so-friendly temperatures. While the dry, bitter cold wreaks hell on the roads, skin and utility bills, it is an integral component in the process that gives Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey a character and flavor that sets it apart from whiskies aged in other parts of the world.

Kentucky’s climate is one that presents vast fluctuations in temperature and humidity between the summer and winter months. These fluctuations cause a great deal of expansion and contraction of both the whiskey and barrel over the course of aging, a dynamic that expedites the whiskey’s exposure to the caramelized sugars in the aging barrel’s inner layer of charred white oak. This expedited movement of whiskey in and out of the wood – called ‘breathing’ – mellows Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey at a faster rate than whiskey aged in damper, more consistent climates like Scotland and Ireland. Add the deepest barrel char and nine years of aging to the process and Knob Creek’s unique and magnificent taste experience is created.

So, if you find yourself cursing the cold this February, take some comfort in knowing that over at Knob Creek, the damn cold weather is doing a damn good job at giving you that big, full flavor.


Knob Creek Winter

February tries harder. Sure as heckfire.

Filed under: Seasonal, News

If you aren’t a big fan of February, you’re not alone. Back in the 8th century BC, when Roman King Numa Pompilious established the basic Roman Calendar, he shortchanged February in order to accommodate a 355 day calendar for a number of reasons, but mainly because it was the empire’s least favorite time of year. And years later, when Julius Caesar added 10 more days to the calendar, once again, February got the short end of the stick.

Thankfully, February never developed a Napoleon Complex, and in the centuries since, has worked to overcome its image by offering ample opportunities to raise a glass. Between Super Bowl Sunday, Mardi Gras and President’s Day weekend, February’s calendar takes full advantage of its shortened month. And you should too.

Thanks to the way the days of 2013 fall, an added bonus in 2013 is that Groundhog Day (February 2nd) will fall on a Saturday. And whether you choose to spend the day waiting on a petulant rodent or watching Phil Conners repeat the same day over and over, either activity is a perfect excuse to enjoy a Kentucky Groundhog.

The Kentucky Groundhog

2 parts Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey

1 part sweet vermouth

1 part fresh lime juice (one lime, squeezed)

1 thick cut lime wedge for garnish

Fill a shaker with ice. Add Knob Creek, sweet vermouth, and lime juice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Then, garnish with lime wedge.

Knob Creek Rye named “The World’s Best”

Filed under: News

20 years after Booker Noe introduced the world to Knob Creek's big signature flavor, we were very excited about offering another innovation based on his passion and dedication. And we wanted to continue his pre-prohibition inspired quality.

Before prohibition, rye whiskey was actually the most popular American whiskey, and it's having resurgence as of late. So we thought we'd give it a crack. What we didn't expect is that our first attempt at making Rye whiskey would turn out to be "The World's Best Rye" and win the Double Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Our rye is patiently aged and has a big, bold flavor. From spicy to exceptionally smooth, it brings the rich and savory rye flavors through, start to finish. It's made with a blend of the highest quality rye grains and bottled at a full 100 proof, just like our original bourbon.

So if you're a fan of our big Knob Creek flavor, a rye fan, or both, you should taste this for yourself, and let us know what you think on Facebook. Try it neat first and then see how well it works mixing cocktails.

Rye Whiskey vs. Bourbon: What’s the Difference?

Filed under: Bourbon Bits, News

Bourbon vs Rye Whiskey

Bourbon and Rye Whiskey are both American classics that have played important roles in building industry, shaping commerce, and establishing the new frontier.

Both follow the same process. The grain is milled, mashed, cooked, fermented, distilled, barreled and aged. Both are to be distilled to no more than 80% alcohol (160 proof) and aged in new charred oak barrels. And to be considered "straight" (the only way we do things), both need to be aged for at least two years and can have no added coloring or flavor.

The biggest difference is the key ingredient:€” corn vs. rye. Bourbon must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, whereas rye whiskey must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% rye. However, corn, rye, wheat and malted barley can be used for bourbon and rye whiskey in different proportions so long as the 51% rule is met.

Generally, bourbon is enjoyed neat, with a little water or over ice. Some enjoy bourbon in cocktails while others hate the idea. Rye, however, is enjoyed by most in classic and contemporary cocktails, but is also great simply neat or with ice.

We suggest you try both ways, decide for yourself and let us know what you think on Facebook.