National Bourbon Heritage Month: gelato + cocktails

September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, which automatically makes it my favorite holiday.  Christmas?  Who needs Christmas?  Pass the Maker’s and the real cheer!

Over the last three years, I’ve developed a taste for bourbon – where it used to be too strong and dominating, I can now taste vanilla, citrus, and smoke.  As much as I enjoy it in cocktails, I also love cooking with bourbon because it lends a deep, rich flavor to everything it touches.

When I had this bourbon butter-pecan gelato at Ciao Bella, I was struck at the richness of the cream, balanced by the crunchy pecans and the depth of the bourbon.  I love butter pecan ice cream, but this was transcendent.  I thought I’d have to make my own, but when I googled it, I found the Ciao Bella recipe right here. Aside from adding a teaspoon and a half of salt (my pecans were not salted), I made it just as directed.  It did require a entire night to freeze properly, but the flavor was amazing from the get-go.

Then, of course, there is the classic old-fashioned, made more interesting by using delicious and juicy tangelos in place of oranges…

Or a less traditional Fox & Hounds, made with absinthe and egg white, for something complex and rich.  (And toxic – completely toxic.)

How will you be celebrating National Bourbon Heritage Month?  There is no wrong answer, not even “with a bottle of Maker’s, watching America’s Next Top Model.”  Here are some previous ideas from this blog: Greengage-Mustard Compote and a Basil-Apricot Smash.

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