Bourbon’s Perfect Pairings

Kentucky-based chef Jonathan Lundy sounds off on this spirit's ultimate food mates.

Jonathan Lundy, a Kentucky native and chef/owner of Jonathan at Gratz Park in Lexington, Kentucky, knows a thing or two about Bourbon and food. He was a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast (2010). Jonathan’s restaurant offers bluegrass cuisine redefined, a concept that’s showcased in drinks like his Bourbon Alexander cocktail and dishes like his Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale-Braised Bison Brisket. Here are Lundy’s tips for enjoying Bourbon with just about anything.


Seafood. “Basil Hayden’s high rye content goes well with smoked salmon.”
Chicken. “The Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel has high levels of smoke and oak, which go great with grilled meats, especially chicken and beef.”
Red Meat: “Woodford Reserve Double Oaked makes the best mint julep because of its drier finish. I enjoy pairing it with roasted lamb and a mint julep jelly.”
Vegetables: “The Old Charter 8-Year-Old pairs with vegetables because of its corn content and pepper and honey-vanilla notes.”
Dessert: “Try Four Roses Limited Edition 2011 with a warm chocolate cake,” says Lundy. “Its strong cocoa scent is perfect.”

Try this cocktail by chef Lundy:

Bourbon Alexander
2 ounces Maker’s Mark Bourbon
2 ounces Godiva Liqueur
2½ scoops vanilla bean ice cream (approximately 5 ounces)
A dash of fresh grated nutmeg

Combine the Bourbon, Godiva Liqueur and ice cream in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour the mixture into an 8-ounce brandy snifter. Dust the top of the drink with freshly-grated nutmeg.

For Lundy’s tips on pairing Bourbon with bites, visit next month.

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