What I Learned From Dinner With Jim Rutledge

  • Four Roses Dinner with Jim Rutledge
    There's no better sight than a bunch of Four Roses standing at attention.

Last week Bourbon & Banter had the honor of hosting a Four Roses bourbon tasting dinner with Jim Rutledge as our guest of honor. Before his arrival at dinner, I was like a child at Christmas–eagerly awaiting Santa Claus to come down the chimney. I had met Jim on several occasions, but couldn’t help but be excited that he was coming to St. Louis to spend some time with the local Bourbon & Banter community. There was no doubt in my mind it was going to be an amazing evening.

Upon arrival guests were treated to one of Juniper’s signature cocktails, a local riff on a Presbyterian featuring Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon, Big O Liqueur, ginger beer and lime juice. Drink in hand, everyone met Jim before dinner and engaged in some banter with other guests. Once seated for dinner, Jim began by sharing a detailed overview of Four Roses’ history in the US and how he became involved with the brand during his years at Seagrams. As each dinner course was presented by Juniper’s chef, Jim provided an overview of each Four Roses bourbon paired with it. Over the course of the evening we sampled Four Roses Yellow Label, Small Batch, Single Barrel and a special private selection single barrel chosen by Juniper. (Special thanks to Juniper for extending an amazing offer on bottles of their selection for our guests.)

Throughout the evening Jim spared no details in answering questions and educating us on all things Four Roses. While I was already familiar with much of what Jim shared, there were some interesting nuggets I wrote down to  share with our readers. Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

Mint Julep Recipes From Bulleit & Wild Turkey

The Kentucky Derby is just days away. It’s time to stock up your bar, purchase some extra bottles of bourbon and of course, time to find a great Julep recipe to share with your guests. To help you with the latter we’ve compiled a few recipes below from our friends over at Bulleit Bourbon and Wild Turkey. Of course if you already have a favorite recipe feel free to share it with us in the comments. We’re always looking for new recipes to share with our friends. Have a great Derby Party everyone!

The-Queens-JulepThe Queen’s Julep

Recipe by Punch Room Head Mixologist Bob Peters


  • 1.33 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz. Fernet Branca Menta
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, muddled

Muddle mint leaves in a shaker. Pour Bulleit Bourbon, simple syrup and Fernet Branca Menta into shaker with ice and shake. Double strain and pour over crushed ice in a julep cup. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.
Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

Sharing Bourbon…and Banter for a Good Cause


The bourbon industry is so hot right now that it’s easy to get caught up in the game chasing down the next great thing or trying to just keep up with industry chatter. At times I get more than a little overwhelmed with it all and question if I should just move to a remote part of the world with my bourbon and enjoy it without distraction. Fortunately I tend come to my senses quickly knowing that bourbon without banter gets boring real fast. So when my wife and I recently had a chance to play host to some friends and neighbors who purchased a bourbon tasting in my home from the annual auction at my kids’ school, we decided to go big and create an event that was all about spreading the bourbon gospel.

The original auction tasting included three bottles of bourbon for the group accompanied with some basic appetizers. The winners were to take home the remaining bourbon to share with other friends as they wished. We decided to call ant audible about 5 days before the event that involved opening up my entire personal bourbon collection for the group to enjoy along with some selected bottles to help introduce them to the world of bourbon. Additionally, my wife outdid herself by creating an amazing spread that included everything from candied bacon to chocolate covered figs. Everyone had a great time and I was thrilled to have been able to introduce folks to bourbon in a way that made it more accessible and enjoyable. Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

Eastside Distilling: A Bourbon Across America Visit

Photos courtesy of Cheryl van Grunsven.

I first visited Eastside Distilling in September 2011 when they were called Deco Distilling and all they had to offer was rum. It was fine rum and they made some tasty cocktails, but it was a day of dudes strolling Portland’s Distillery Row and it was the 4th place we visited. Things got murky that day.

A few months later, they re-christened themselves as Eastside Distilling and have been growing since. After their Belize-style Below Deck Rums (silver, coffee, ginger and spiced), they created Portland Potato Vodka, Burnside bourbon, Cherry Bomb whiskey, Marionberry whiskey and a set of holiday liqueurs. Production and sales have increased from 400 cases a year to 6400 cases annually.

I met with Eastside’s master distiller Melissa Heim. Having previously learned her craft as rum distiller at Rogue Spirits, she came to Eastside 3 years ago and recently signed a contract extension through 2020. With all of the talk of women in whiskey these days, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Heim is the only female master distiller west of the Mississippi. Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }