Smokehouse Tailgate Grill Hosts Dinner Featuring Van Winkle Bourbon

Bourbon aficionados occupied half the dining room inside of Smokehouse Tailgate Grill on Tuesday January 3 to get a taste of four different Kentucky-distilled liquors, each 1-1.5 ounce pour increased in rarity from the previous one. Proof (pun intended), you ask? The evening’s lineup was Bulleit 10 Year, Michter’s 10 Year, Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, and Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year. Those bottles, as a collective, can fetch around $1,500 on the secondary market, which is typical for purchasing sought-after bourbon.

The good news is this event didn’t cost more than a grand, but rather a $120 price tag (including tax and tip). It didn’t just come with bourbon; a three-course dinner prepared by Chef Anum Bandele was also part of the liquor tasting. And what’s more is you get an education on what you’re drinking, and even some info on distillery practices, courtesy of a distillery employee or a local liquor representative.

The evening kicked off with a “welcome” snack of salty house-cut sweet potato chips contrasted beautifully by a sweet maple mayonnaise dipping sauce, that we washed down with a starter cocktail comprised of Bulleit Rye, Sweetshine Walnut Liqueur, and tiki bitters.

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Bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits

Now that our palettes were prepped, it was time to get serious. Out came our first snifter glass with the spicy finishing Bulleit 10 Year, served with a jumbo bacon-wrapped shrimp atop a cake of deep-fried cheddar grits. Following that was the still spicy, but smoother Michter’s 10 Year, along with a rare to mid-rare, and super tender beef Wellington, that was stuffed with smoked pork belly.

Chocolate soufflé with caramel

It was then time for the stars of the show to make an appearance. The Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year — served before a decadent bourbon chocolate soufflé with caramel sauce — was the highest proofed liquor we had (107) and it sure had a boozy bite and lingering spicy finish that you could feel from your throat to your nose, and possibly your watery eyes. Finally, out came the Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year for comparison. The 12 follows the same recipe as the 10, but everyone at the table remarked on how different it tasted. It was less assertive than the 10, and had a caramelly sweet smell, went down easier, and finished clean.

If you’re interested, Smokehouse Tailgate Grill in Mamaroneck is planning to host one of these on the first Tuesday of each month. Dinners will be kept to three courses, three bourbon tastes, and one “welcome” cocktail. They’ll typically be $60-$70 — Tuesday night was the exception because of the Van Winkle brand. Stay tuned to their Facebook Page to stay apprised of all things bourbon dinner related.

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