Bourbon does not grow on trees.... but the black angel's share does....especially when you are distilling the grains to make bourbon.
Earlier this summer we took a mini-vacation to Mammoth Cave Kentucky. They say you get lucky in Kentucky, I would say my stroke of luck was finally convincing my two tired kids, my husband and my father in-law that we MUST stop at the Jim Beam Distillery on our way home. I tried without success to stop on the way to Mammoth Cave.... I thought that having a bottle of bourbon would mix well with underground forays into the dark cracks in the earth and camping by the light of the moon. That's what you do in Kentucky right? Drink bourbon? After all, moonshine cures all ails...doesn't it?
|angel's share. the black mold that grows on everything around the distillery.|
Turns out, even tears didn't work on my family. No... they wouldn't have their food-blogging mama, hijack their trip and turn it into some kind of bourbon-fancy. I stayed true to our course, pushed back the tears and the curse words and headed down the road to the Cave City exit. If you have never been to Cave City, just know that the tiny little grocery store called "Houchens" pronounced "Halgens" is not the friendliest to outsiders, be prepared for stares. I was the fourth one in slow moving line. The cashier
seemed did know everybody and their mother and father... and all of their names. She struck up conversations with them all, except me. Luckily the young bagger boy was amused with my northern foreignness and carried all of my groceries out to the car, loaded my car and even put the bag of ice into the cooler...I thanked him with a proper tip and drove back through the hills to our campsite at Mammoth Cave.
Wish I had that bourbon. Our mini-vacation was supposed to be relaxing, dreamy and full of wondrous hikes into the nether regions of Kentucky's dark hills. Somehow, Kentucky's luck ran out as I had a 4 day migraine that wouldn't budge with the help of Ibuprofen, coffee, or CocaCola. Wish I had that bourbon. Modern medicine killed the moonshine business. Moonshine was the medicine of the hills. Then along came aspirin, iboprofen and anbesol and soon it was cheaper to buy a bottle of aspirin that it was to purchase your weekly supply of moonshine. I really wished I had that bourbon. My headache was sticking to me like the angel's share sticks to everything around it.
|the general store. i think this is the general.|
I hung back on one of our last hikes into the caves, for the previous trip my heachace was so bad I had asked one of the sweet guides if he would take me back. After all, we were in the underground lunch room which happened to have an access elevator to the surface. Couldn't they just pack me in the elevator their with the food supplies. Beam me up.... anything, something....Please? The kind guide offered to walk me the mile back to the entrance of the cave. I declined as that would have held the entire group up at least forty minutes. Instead, I marched the next 3 miles, up and down underground valleys and hills with a headache that pounded with each footstep until we finally emerged to the surface. Can you blame me for finking out on the last hike?
Ahh... mama time. While the rest of the family were hiking with lanterns underground, I drove back into Cave City to see what life was like when you weren't at the grocery store. It was delicious. I spent an hour at the General Store which had more junk than you could shake a stick at. Some junk, some antiques, but the mix of it all was some how beautiful. I drove around and stopped here and there. I had a young blue jean wearing, brass belt buckle donning, white t-shirt, cigarettes in the back pocket Kentucky gentleman try to convince me to try out the ziplines through the hills. I gently declined. I purchased two handmade fairytale wooden birdhouses from a sweet little place on the side of the road and finally took a wrong turn and found myself on a gravel road face to face with a confederate flag and a tumbledown house. That was my cue to turn around....I finally watched Deliverance for the first time this year....and the memories of that were too fresh in my mind to investigate the hills any further!
|salvaged bourbon barrels. pricey.|
I finally did get my bourbon, just not in the bottle, but a can. Our stop to the Jim Beam Distillery was smack dab in the middle of my driving shift home. Hence no tasting, just the tour. They happened to sell all things bourbon at the gift shop and I walked away with Kentucky Bourbon Vanilla Sorghum. mmmmm. I have had it in my cupboard since the end of June. Everytime I opened my cupboard, I would see the little can, staring at me. Finally, I cracked open the sweet jar of sorghum as if it was a new can of paint. Instead of painting my walls, I painted my sweet peaches and tucked them into a warm peach crisp. Still waiting for my bottle of bourbon. Next time.
Lucky in Ketucky Bourbon Peach Crisp - Recipe
8 organic peaches blanched for 1 minute, peeled and cut into moons.
3 TBS Kentucky Bourbon Vanilla Sorghum
6 TBS butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
2 TBS flour
dash of salt
Oven to 350 degrees. 8x8 pan. Place cut peaches in pan. Drizzle 3 TBS of bourbon vanilla sorghum over peaches. (more if you enjoy a sweeter crisp) Place oats, cinnamon, flour, brown sugar, dash of salt and butter in food processor. Blend until you have a nice crumby topping. Place topping on peaches. Bake for 45 minutes - an hour. Make sure it is bubbly and brown before you take it out. Serve with organic cream.
lucky in Kentucky....xoxoxo Megan