3 Bourbons for Thanksgiving

Now that our children are grown, the Thanksgiving meal has evolved into being about more than just turkey. The boys generally enjoy a little bourbon before and/or after we eat (we still stick to a light red wine for dinner). With Thanksgiving just two days away, I thought I’d share with you three bourbons great for serving on Thanksgiving.

1. Buffalo Trace

buffalotraceThis is a bourbon that is good for both mixing or sipping. At this price point, you don’t have to watch the bar to make sure your good sipping bourbon isn’t ending up in mixed drinks, but also can easily serve it to a large crowd to enjoy on the rocks. Buffalo Trace is an outstanding distillery which makes premium brands such as Pappy Van Winkle and Blanton’s.

Price: $25.99 for 750mL from BevMo!

2. Basil Hayden’s
bottleThis is a great bourbon for serving both on special occasions or at an impromptu gathering with friends. It is a lower proof, well priced sipping bourbon. I recently picked a bottle up from our Costco for $39.98. We pulled it out on Sunday at Friendsgiving and it was a crowd favorite. I’ve written before about this making a great gift – consider taking this to your Thanksgiving host as well!

Price: $44.99 for 750mL from Total Wine

3. Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Reserve Cask Finish
To go with some of the bold, tanniny red wines you will be drinking over the holidays, I suggest Jefferson’s Reserve finished in Groth Cabernet French Oak barrels. This bourbon is a superpower sipper and will be well received by all your friends and family. If you follow this blog, you know I’m a big fan of Jefferson’s Reserve bourbons. This one is perfect for a holiday – unique, smooth, easy to like.

Price: $73.99 for 750mL from Mr. Hi Time

RECIPE: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

As our family starts finalize our Thanksgiving menu, I wanted to share a favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipe – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. It’s to die for. So rich. You really don’t use much bourbon so for guests that don’t like bourbon it really just imparts a little extra flavor to the pie, but not a true bourbon taste. I also really like this crust recipe and have used it for other pies. This recipe is great for tailgating too! (I’ve never taken a photo of the pie – will have to do that this year.) Enjoy!

Photo from Food & Wine’s website

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (from Food & Wine magazine)


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water

2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons bourbon (remember, you’re adding flavor, so don’t use your fanciest, but don’t skimp – we use Woodford Reserve)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (we use Ghirardelli)


1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ice water. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until firm.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant; coarsely chop. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

4. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set. Tent the crust with foil halfway through the baking time if the edge is browning too quickly. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Bourbon AND Bourbon Bar Review: Bourbon House and Pinhook Bourbon

When you are Bourbon Bill, and in New Orleans, you end up in a bourbon bar on Bourbon Street (Note: I did not go at night time!).

If you have been reading my blog you know that some historians give New Orleans credit for coining the term “bourbon.” When they would ship their whiskey down the Ohio River from Kentucky, specifically much of it from Bourbon County, the barrels were marked bourbon. New Orleans residents starting asking for that “bourbon” whiskey. They liked it better than other whiskey they were importing.


Wee walked from our hotel in the French Quarter to 144 Bourbon Street and Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House. The food looks outstanding and it has gotten great reviews. But we didn’t go there to eat.


We went there for the incredible bourbon selection. As you can see by the picture of the list on the wall, it is quite extensive.


Lynn immediately ordered a Manhattan. Her Manhattan made with Blanton’s was excellent. I tried a sip but I had to spend some time looking at the list. I looked and looked for something I had not tired. Then I spotted 2 bottles on one of the back bar shelves. They had racehorses with jockeys on them on the labels. I had to find out what bourbon was in those bottles. It turned out to be Pinhook Bourbon.


First think to note about Pinhook Bourbon is the name. A “Pinhooker” is an individual who buys a young racehorse with the express purpose of reselling the horse for profit. They do this through some training, fixing some flaw to enhance its value. The term is also used for speculators in tobacco, produce, or today even yard sales. Derived from the Spanish verb “pintar,” to paint or ripen.


Now back to the bourbon. Pinhook is crafted from a mash of 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley. It has been aged at least 6 years in American oak and bottled at 90 proof. The 20% rye helps make it very smooth. It has hints of vanilla, salted caramel, and finishes with the warm taste of toasted nuts. If you can find it, buy a bottle. They only produce about 5,000 bottles each year. The bottles labels showcase a horse owned with by Bourbon Lane Stable LLC.


Having enjoyed sitting at the bar at Bourbon House and talking with other bourbon lovers was a kick. What a great atmosphere, wonderful selection, and, as I said before the food looks amazing. Plan to spend more time than we did and enjoy a Pinhook bourbon with some of their authentic southern seafood.