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San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2015 Recap

Bourbon & Banter was very graciously invited back by the folks at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference to attend their spectacular event that focuses on all of the great booze and food across the country and in the city of San Antonio. It is an event filled with opportunities to learn about liquor, its history, cocktail making, food pairings, and what is new and hot in the industry. Classroom sessions (always taught alongside a few choice cocktails) are complemented by blow-out bashes that feature live bands and world-class cocktails set amongst the historic backdrop of downtown San Antonio. Not only is the event perfect for any cocktail lover and foodie, it is also a philanthropic venture that raises proceeds for the Houston Street Charities. For 2015, we had a very special San Antonio local cover the conference for us. A big thank you to Mr. Antonio Gonzalez for representing the Bourbon & Banter team in Texas and for Kristian Jaime for taking some amazing photos of the conference. Below are Antonio’s highlights and favorite cocktail recipes from this year’s SACC. Cheers!

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St. Louis Bourbon Academy 2014

Poster about Bourbon Academy St. Louis

Bourbon Heritage Month keeps getting better and better. We’re pleased to announce that the Filson Bourbon Academy is returning to St. Louis on October 11th. Bourbon Hall of Fame member, Mike Veach, will once again be our host and will personally be responsible for boosting your bourbon IQ at least 160%.

This year we’ve partnered with Glen Echo Country Club to host the event and we’re looking forward spending the day learning about bourbon with other like-minded folks from the St. Louis area. Here’s all the details you need to know.

Filson Bourbon Academy with author & historian Michael Veach

Saturday, October 11th, 11-5pm at Glen Echo Country Club, St. Louis

The Filson Bourbon Academy  answers every question you ever had about the native spirit of the United States, but were afraid to ask.

  • “Was there any one person that invented Bourbon?”
  • “Why did rye whiskey fall out of favor until recently?”
  • “Where did Bourbon REALLY get it’s name?”
  • “How did whiskey end up aging in wood?”
  • “What makes an American whiskey a Bourbon?”
  • “What whiskeys were still being made during Prohibition?”

Come enhance your appreciation of Bourbon and increase your knowledge of Kentucky whiskey products at the Filson Bourbon Academy. This class is supported by the Kentucky Distillers Association, Bourbon & Banter and Glen Echo Country Club.

This six hour course will consist of lectures & stories pertaining to the history of Bourbon in Kentucky, as well as Bourbon tastings.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • “Farmer Distillers and the Birth of Bourbon”
  • “Bourbon and the Industrial Revolution”
  • “The Early 20th Century and Prohibition”
  • “Post-Prohibition and the Modern Era of Bourbon”

Mike Veach American Whiskey Class PhotoJoin Michael Veach, former archivist for the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery and the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, KY , a recent inductee into the Bourbon Hall of Fame and author of the new bestselling book “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage” as he answers any & all questions about the true American spirit, in a condensed 6-hour version of his 4-week long Filson Bourbon Academy on the History of American Whiskey on Saturday, November 11th, from 11 AM-5 PM at Glen Echo Country Club – 3401 Lucas-Hunt Road, Normandy, MO 63121.

Tuition is $125 and all proceeds go to benefit the non-for-profit Filson Historical Society. This price includes lunch for each participant.

All attendees completing the course will be certified as a member of the Filson Bourbon Academy and made honorary members of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Attendance is extremely limited so sign-up quickly. (Only 50 seats available)

You must be at least 21 years of age to enroll.

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Review: Michael Veach’s Bourbon Academy II

Michael Veach's Bourbon Academy II Photo

Many of our readers have been lucky enough to attend one of Michael Veach’s famed Bourbon Academy events, including the one sponsored by Bourbon and Banter last November. These events are well-known and respected in the bourbon community and are designed to take you from relative bourbon novice to certified bourbon smarty all in the course of one day. But recently bourbon geeks have been encouraging Veach to develop a second class that dives deeper into bourbon history for those who have already passed Bourbon 101.

Luckily, Micheal Veach recently started working on a book that will look at significant people who helped shape the Bourbon industry of today, including an in-depth look at individual people and the Bourbons they created or are named for them. This August he agreed to turn some of this research into the Bourbon Academy II. On August 23rd, I was one of the attendees at only the second  of this class, held at the newly opened Hearth Room in downtown Cincinnati.

The class covered the lives and contributions of William LaRue Weller, E. H. Taylor, Jr,  George Garvin Brown, Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, James E. Pepper and Julian P. Van Winkle while we sipped a bourbon or whiskey from each of these creators. Overall it was a fascinating day. I probably learned as much about bourbon history in that day as I have in the past two years. I did not realize that a German-Jewish immigrant created I. W. Harper, that E. H. Taylor was one of the driving forces behind the Pure Food and Drugs Act, or even that most of bourbon history is more about marketing than distilling.

In the future, Veach plans to shorten the class into an after lunch session of about four hours and for a lower price. If you have a chance to take the class in this form I would highly recommend it. My only complaint about my experience is that because I was taking an early and untested version of the class, I ended up paying the full day price for a class that ended early and I didn’t feel like I got my money’s worth. But since all proceeds go to the Filson Historical Society, I still consider it money well spent. Another word of warning –  this class is really for bourbon or history geeks only. Veach is a fount of knowledge but he is a historian – not an entertainer. If you bring along a buddy whose interest in whiskey begins and ends with drinking, they will likely be bored.


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Bourbon In The Blind – St. Louis Bourbon Tasting

Bourbon In The Blind St. Louis Bourbon Tasting Image


We’re thrilled to announce that tickets to our highly anticipated Bourbon In The Blind Tasting Experience are now on sale!

Join Bourbon & Banter, Randall’s Wine & Spirits and The Blind Tiger on August 30th for an amazing afternoon of bourbon, gourmet pizza, giveaways and good old-fashioned banter. Spend the afternoon with your friends and learn about American’s Native Spirit from Bourbon & Banter founder, Patrick “Pops” Garrett as he leads you through a blind tasting of 6 bourbons. Challenge your taste buds as we strip away brand loyalty and label prejudice allowing both bourbon novices and aficionados to experience bourbon in a whole new way – In The Blind. And of course, since this is a Bourbon & Banter event there will be some pretty cool bourbon themed swag giveaways. There’s a rumor that one of our partners might even throw in some extra prizes to make things interesting.

The event will start promptly at 1:00 PM with an introduction to bourbon and explanation of our bourbon flavor wheel to help you with your tasting. From there we’ll begin tasting bourbons and discussing what makes each one unique – without tipping you off to the brand. After the final bourbon has been tasted dessert will be served. While everyone is enjoying their dessert, Patrick will reveal the bourbons and provide additional information about each one and answer questions from the group. Throughout the course of the event there will also be some bourbon giveaways to keep everyone on their toes.


We thrilled to announce that Wall Street Journal-bestselling author Fred Minnick, who writes for Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate, Scientific American, and many others will be joining us at Bourbon In The Blind as co-MC and to sign copies of his award-winning and critically acclaimed book – Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky–the heart of Bourbon Country–Minnick regularly judges cocktail contests and serves as a judge on the World Whiskies Awards and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Minnick is the “Bourbon Authority” for the Kentucky Derby Museum and is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors as well as the Author’s Guild. Minnick is also an accomplished photographer and is a former finalist for the Pink Lady International Food Photographer of the Year. But most importantly, he wears ascots.

Grab a copy of his book in advance for him to sign, or purchase a copy at the event. Either way Fred is going to help turn the event’s bourbon IQ up to 11.

When we’re done we invite you to stick around and enjoy a drink at The Blind Tiger as they open to the public at 4:00 PM.

Here’s the complete details for this year’s Bourbon In The Blind event:

What: Bourbon In The Blind Bourbon Tasting Experience
When: Saturday – August 30, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Where: The Blind Tiger (click for directions)
Dinner Details: Bourbon-inspired Gourmet Pizza
Bourbons: Blind tasting of six (6) different bourbons representing a wide variety of styles and strengths. Blind tasting format is perfect for bourbon novices and aficionados alike.
Available Seating: Seating is limited so resister soon.
Venue Details: Check out The Blind Tiger’s website for more details on their location.
Cost: $45.00 per person (includes bourbon tasting, pizzas, coffee/soda and dessert)Additional drinks are available for purchase during and after dinner. 
Reserve Your Seat Now: Buy Tickets

We hope you can join us for this amazing afternoon of food and bourbon. With only limited seating available I’m sure it will sell out fast. Make sure to reserve your seat and invite your friends. We look forward to seeing you on August 30th!



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