Bar Review: Bottled In Bond (Dallas)

While in Dallas last week for work I was driving north on the Dallas North Tollway and happened to be figuring out my plan for dinner when I saw Bottled in Bond and pulled off the road. What a great name for a bar! Their website says it perfectly:

No one likes rules and regulations but we are allowed to enjoy great whiskey today thanks to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897….

To be labeled as Bottled-in-Bond or Bonded, the liquor must be the product of one distillation season (January to December) and one distiller at one distillery. It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume). The bottled product’s label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, if different, where it was bottled. Only spirits produced in the United States may be designated as bonded.

This very Act is the foundation behind the concept for our Cocktail Parlour & Kitchen allowing people to experience the thriving era of craft cocktails and American Whiskey in a unique atmosphere.

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Bottled in Bond has a classic design with a great long bar that can seat 20. There is a lot of wood and glass in the cases used to display their spirits.I did not count the bottles behind the bar and on the cocktail list but I am guessing it was north of 150. The music mix gives it a good vibe.

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Jasin Burt, the owner, has done it all right. Lucky for me he was tending bar that night. As I always do, I started with an Old Fashioned and Jasin makes a great cocktail. He uses Evan Williams Bottled as his house bourbon, one of my favorites. We started talking whiskey and bourbon. Our conversation could have gone on all night.

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Their happy hour is from 4-7 PM and the list of items in it will satisfy anyone. The “Bonded Happy Hour” menu includes six items at only $7 each. I started with the deviled eggs. They have bacon and relish on top of them, and they were delicious. You get six, which is easily shared by 2 or 3 people.

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While waiting on the eggs Jasin poured me a little Slaughter House Bourbon. I had never seen or tried it before. It was very good with a strong hint of cocoa. It was a nice compliment to the deviled eggs.

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I then got a pour of Forged Oak to sip with the Italian Caprese flatbread I had ordered. I was curious to try it as I have seen its price hold steady, or drop versus the other Orphan Barrel releases. It was good, and I wanted to compare it to something.

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Jasin suggested Old Forester Statesman. What a nice comparison and the Statesman really held up and shined. Both were excellent with the very flavorful flatbread.

I can’t say enough good things about Bottled in Bond. Jasin and the entire staff were very knowledgeable, friendly, and made me feel at home. I love talking bourbon when I am drinking bourbon, and I learned a lot from Jasin. The conversation was lively, and the food fantastic. If you happen to be in the North Dallas/Frisco area, it’s definitely worth a stop. They are only a stone’s throw from the new Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. You will be delighted you made the trip.

Surprise! We’re on the Bourbon Trail!

Well, I didn’t tell you ahead of time because time got away from me, but I’m telling you now – Lynn and I are on the Bourbon Trail right now. We flew into Nashville yesterday and today are making our way through Lexington and on to Louisville, where we’ll stay the night. Our agenda is loose but here’s a quick rundown of what we’re planning to do:

-Had dinner at Martin’s BBQ last night then went to Tin Roof for live music
-Tastings at Corsair and MB Roland
-Visit Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark, potentially Heaven Hill too
-Staying at the historic Seelbach Hotel in Louisville
-Potentially visit Evan Williams
-Drinks at Silver Dollar

Follow along on Instagram (@bourbonwbt) for updates throughout our trip!

You can read about my first trip to the Bourbon Trail here!

Visiting The Homestead

We recently had one of those weekends you will always cherish and remember fondly. Our daughter and her husband suggested we go to The Homestead. If you are not familiar with The Homestead it is not because its new – they recently celebrated 250 years as America’s first and oldest resort.

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The Resort

While there we took the history tour of the Homestead and learned a lot about how a resort in pretty much the middle of nowhere in Virginia came to be, and became a legend.

Quick overview… Captain Thomas Bullitt, Charles and Andrew Lewis were part of the militia and surveyors during the French and Indian War. They were told of the many healing qualities of the waters in the area. In 1764, at the end of the war, Captain Bullitt received a colonial land grand of 300 acres which contained seven natural mineral springs from Colonel George Washington. Captain Bullitt moved his militia and his family and their families to the area. Within 2 years the land was cleared and an 18 room wooden hotel was built. In 1766, The Homestead was opened and named in honor of the Homesteaders who built the resort and bathhouses. The hotel changed ownership several times until 1901 when a fire started in the pastry shop and burned the entire resort. The day after the fire the investors met and decided to rebuild immediately. Fast forward to today and it is now part of the Omni Hotels & Resorts.

Getting There
We flew into Richmond (RIC) and stayed the night with our daughter before heading to the Homestead. If you’re coming from out of the area, Charlottesville and Roanoke are the closest airports, but Richmond is the largest close airport and serviced by Southwest which I’m loyal to. You definitely have to rent a car, there really isn’t another way to get to the resort. It is a nice 3-hour drive from Richmond through horse farms and the Blue Ridge Mountains. On our way, we enjoyed a leisurely drive stopping in the Charlottesville area to get a sandwich for lunch at Greenwood Grocery, one of our son-in-law’s favorites. If making a day of your drive, you basically pass through Central Virginia wine country and stopping at a vineyard such as King Family Vineyards is highly recommended.

Once you get close to the hotel you’ll see the Tower and the resort coming into view. It is perfectly nestled into the hillside. You also drive past the golf courses and surrounding spa, casino, and cottage row on your way into the main entrance of the resort.

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The Resort from the Spa

Activities
The Homestead offers tons of activities for visitors young and old. It is most well known for its golf courses. The legend Sam Snead helped in giving the Homestead that legacy. Born nearby, Snead began caddying at The Homestead when he was 7. He worked as an assistant pro at The Homestead at 19 and turned professional in 1934. There are 2 courses at the Resort. The Old Course has the oldest continuously used 1st Tee in the country. The Cascades Course is set against the Allegheny Mountains. Both offer excellent golf. There is also a miniature golf course for younger and non-golfers.

The spa is another popular attraction. My wife and daughter had facials at the spa. The facilities are about 5 years old and very nice. When they re-did the spa they added a great headed outdoor pool and hot tub just for spa-goers. And within the spa complex is a Hot Spring pool as well. Lynn and I spent the afternoon soaking in the mineral pool – I definitely recommend it. (Not to be confused with the original hot springs that are off-site. We didn’t make it to those.)

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The mineral pool at the Spa

Other activities include fly fishing, shooting, zip lining, hiking, the outdoor family pool and lazy river when it’s warm out, the indoor pool, and of course the hot springs. Carter and I went to the shooting club to shoot trap. I was very impressed with the club, but not my shooting.

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The indoor pool – isn’t it beautiful?

Another activity you can’t miss is afternoon tea. Well, they call is social hour now, but it’s essentially afternoon tea. The service has changed a bit since the last time my daughter and son-in-law were there. They set up a station to get your tea (hot or cold) and then waiters walk around with a treat – while we were there it was pumpkin bread one day and lemon bars the other.

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The Great Hall

Another popular activity is just sitting in the Great Hall (essentially the lobby) by the fire reading, playing games, or hanging out. Lynn and Taylor spent a decent amount of time working on their needlepoint there Saturday afternoon.

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A fire we posted up by for a couple hours Saturday afternoon

Tip: Pack your own alcohol! We brought a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of wine to enjoy throughout the weekend. It’s a great place to pour yourself some bourbon and wander down to the Great Hall to gather with people. We also brought some after dinner drinks to the outdoor fire pit to enjoy with our s’mores.

Dining
Dining at the Homestead excellent. We opted for the breakfast package to enjoy their popular breakfast buffet with its legendary homemade donuts. Breakfast takes place in the Main Dining Room – a grand, open room with a dance floor and piano. You can picture how it was used years ago for opulent dinners. We didn’t eat dinner there, but the breakfast was great.

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The Main Dining Room (Photo from the Homestead website)

We were supposed to eat dinner our first night at Jefferson’s Restaurant, which is described as “a modern American grill serving regional influences.” Its menu looks pretty similar to a steak house menu with some regional additions like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits. Unfortunately the power went out right before our reservation on Friday, so after having cocktails in the bar area in the dark and ordering as many cold appetizers and salads from the menu as possible we called it a night. I guess we’ll have to go back!

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The bar area at Jefferson’s Restaurant (Photo from the Homestead website)

We had lunch on Saturday at the Casino Restaurant which is near the pro-shop. Lunch was delicious. We shared the fried zucchini appetizer and a couple pizzas. Everything hit the spot.

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The Casino

We ventured to the Waterwheel Restaurant at the Gristmill Inn a couple miles from the resort for dinner Saturday night. It is very quaint in an old gristmill with exposed wood beams and whitewashed walls. They have a fun little wine cellar in the basement of the mill where you can go down to pick out your wine. Everyone raved about their dishes, including the guests around us. It’s a fun atmosphere, excellent food, and great experience.

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Waterwheel’s Wine Cellar

After dinner Saturday night we wandered back to the Homestead and got a s’more kit to roast s’mores outside around their large bonfire pit. While it was definitely cold out (we were there in February) the fire was roaring and it was a fun little after dinner activity.

Tip: Make reservations for dinner as soon as your book your trip. There aren’t a lot of dinner options in the area and because of both on-site and off-site restaurants they fill up quickly.

Another must-try is the Lobby Bar. When the Homestead did a small remodel 5 or so years ago, they added this bar literally right off the lobby (hence the name) with a small billiards room with pool tables behind it. The bar has portraits of the 22 sitting Presidents who have stayed at The Homestead. It’s a warm and inviting bar with a nice selection of liquor, beer, and wine, and a great atmosphere especially during a busy weekend. While there, I enjoyed an Old Fashioned and Lynn a Manhattan – our “go to’s”!

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The Lobby Bar

There is also a new French restaurant in town called LesCochons d’Or that people recommended. We did not get a chance to eat there but plan to on our next trip to The Homestead. It has gotten excellent review and you can walk to it from the hotel.

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Outside of LesCochons

Overall, I can’t say enough about the experience. When I have described it to people here on the West Coast they say it sounds like the setting for the movie “Dirty Dancing.” While a little less “campy,” it’s definitely similar. And years and years ago people would head to the Homestead for the entire summer much like Dirty Dancing.  Sitting in the Great Hall with all the overstuffed furniture and roaring fires is part of the wonderful experience. We really did feel like we had dropped back in time but with all the amenities of the 21st century.

If you get a chance go, you will come back refreshed with very fond memories.

Bourbon Bill is on Vacation!

Bourbon Bill would like to apologize to all my faithful readers. We are on vacation… again. Although I am gathering a lot of material for future blogs, I am having far too much fun to write. Hang in there, lots of great stops on our travels to share!

As you saw in my last blog, we were in Washington State for a wedding. The following weekend we headed to Northern Virginia for Stacey & Benji’s weeding. Great weekend, glad I took notes! Got to spend time with Taylor and Carter, see other friends while eating and drinking in some fun places.

Just left the Houston Airport where we had a refreshing, “Honey Bee” at Pappas Burger. The Honey Bee was made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Texas Silver Star Honey bourbon, fresh lime juice and blackberries. Garnished with a lime wedge and huge blackberry. It hit the spot along with a juicy half pound bacon cheeseburger. Headed to Corpus Christi to see my son, Burch, and his wife, Sara.

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Stay tuned for blogs from Virginia, Texas, and exciting Bourbon news!

Bourbon Bill

Distillery Tour: Woodinville Whiskey Co. (Woodinville, Washington)

Lynn and I were in Washington for a wedding a couple weeks ago and while there toured Woodinville Whiskey Co., a bourbon distillery. You say bourbon has to be made in Kentucky. Well, as I’ve talked about before – it doesn’t! Yes, Bourbon can come from anywhere in the USA.

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We met our friends Tim and Susan at Woodinville Whiskey Company. It’s a small craft distillery that was established in 2010. It’s a really attractive building close to Chateau Ste. Michelle and across the street from Columbia Winery. We took the tour which gave an informative introduction for those who don’t know much about whiskey, bourbon, or distilled spirits.

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Woodinville Whiskey Co. is a small, well designed, and efficient distillery that makes a very good product. All their grain comes from a contracted farm in Quincy, Washington. They can control the quality and supply this way. They also age their barrels on the farm. Quincy is in eastern Washington and a much better environment to age the bourbon because they get the climate and temperature swings you need to get the bourbon in and out of the oak in those barrels. That helps to enhance the flavor.

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They have a very fun tasting room with a friendly knowledgeable staff. Kaytlyn greeted us as we walked in the door and helped us with our tasting and got us on a tour.   You get to taste their Rye, Whisky, Bourbon, and Vodka. In addition to that, you get to taste what turned out to be one of my favorites – their Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. Wow, what a great maple syrup! I saw they had a gift pack with a bottle of their bourbon, 2 bottles of maple syrup, and 2 logo Glencairn glasses (I could not resist the gift pack).

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After tasting we had lunch in The Hollywood Tavern which has been in that same spot since 1947, and is next door to the distillery. It has inside dining and a fire pit on the patio. The food is amazing. They have a good selection of wine and beer. It hit the spot on an overcast cool day.

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I highly recommend you visit Woodinville Whiskey Co. You can’t buy their product outside of Washington State. If you are in Seattle it’s worth the time to see Woodinville. You can also tour some of the surrounding wineries. It makes for a great weekend!

Bar Review: The Whiskey House (San Diego)

Last weekend, we drove down to San Diego for a Padres game with our good friends Ray and Jeannine, who own Highland Valley Vineyards (they make some incredible red wines at HVV, and well worth a Sunday afternoon to visit their vineyard). They promised that after the game we would stop in the Whiskey House in San Diego. I knew it was going to be a killer experience when I looked in the door and all the walls were covered with lighted shelves and whiskey, after whiskey, after whiskey!

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They had so many whiskeys I was in awe. They claim to have over 1,400 whiskeys, and I am not going to dispute that claim. WOW I was in “Bourbon Heaven.” Lynn, Jeannine, and Ray had ordered craft cocktails and they were all good. Lynn had an Old Fashioned, and Jeannine a Manhattan. I was just memorized by the list; I had to try bourbon that I had not experienced previously.   The list is huge! Many seemed very reasonable but $299 for a pour of Pappy seemed a little steep.

From their website:

The Whiskey House features over 1,400 whiskeys, craft cocktails, 20 international draft beers, an eclectic wine list and a delectable menu of house made fare. We specialize in house made sausages, fresh ground burgers, exotic cheeses, and charcuterie and downtown’s newest breakfast café, just next door… The Lazy Hippo, offering healthy breakfast items and savory favorites, along with fresh squeezed juices and smoothies.

By the time we got there after a long but successful Padres game the clock was about to turn to AM so we did not try any food but it looked really good. This will be a regular stop for me when in San Diego. The atmosphere is very dark, warm, and inviting. There are is kinds of seating from bar stools, tables, to sofas so you can enjoy your favorite spirit in a relaxed environment.

The next day we took in the races at Del Mar and on Saturday we saw California Chrome win the Pacific Classic. What a great weekend of baseball, whiskey, wineries, horses and good friends. When in San Diego you must put this on your to-do list!

Mount Gay Rum (Barbados)

Back with a review of another rum distillery from our trip to Barbados. I promise Lynn and I relaxed and sat on the beach during our trip to Barbados. But we also packed in some great activities! In addition to our visit to St. Nicholas Abbey (read my review here), we also stopped by Mount Gay Rum’s distillery.

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There are three tours to choose from: their Signature Rum Tour, the Interactive Cocktail Tour, and Bajan Buffet Lunch Tour. We decided to just take the Signature tour. It was most informative, you saw a short film, and did a lot of tasting.

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On the tour you get to try everything but the 1703. Rum, like whiskey, is affected by the time in the barrel. That was something the English learned as they shipped it to England and the rum rocked back and forth for weeks in the barrels on board the ship. They offer a complete selection of rum. They offer the Silver, Eclipse, Black Label, XO, and 1703 Old Cask Selection. We bought a bottle of the Silver to make mojitos when we got back to California, and a bottle of the XO for sipping. Surprisingly, sipping Rum is not much different than whiskey, or bourbon.

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After the tour we got a table on the patio and had a wonderful Mt Gay Silver Rum mojito. They were cooking french fries and they smelled great and I can tell you they were great with a mojito. All the food looked really good but we were not hungry.  The Interactive Cocktail Tour took place in the bar right next to us and out on the patio, so we watched it for a bit while we sipped our mojitos. The class looked like a lot of fun and after watching it I would recommend it.

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A little bit about Mount Gay rum, which I knew nothing about before our visit (mostly pulled from their website)… The Mount Gay Rum story begins in 1703. George Washington spent 6 weeks in Barbados when he was 19 years old. He visited some of the Rum Distilleries and no doubt probably visited Mt Gay. Rum, originally called “Kill-Devil” by the Barbadians who first distilled it, is truly a product of the island with their abundance of molasses combined with their thirst for alcohol lead to this unique discovery in the production of spirits. Sir John Gay was a respected leader and businessman who worked tirelessly in service of the island of Barbados. A friend of Sir John Gay’s, John Sober, inherited a then-unknown distillery and had asked for Sir John’s help in managing it. Sir John Gay took quickly to the business of making rum. He refined the distillation process and began producing a noticeably superior product that we know today as Mount Gay Rum.

Sailing vessels carried exotic trade from the colonies and introduced Caribbean flavors to Europe and the Americas. This period of shipping was an important part of Mount Gay’s Heritage. The Mount Gay Rum Red Cap is a symbol of accomplishment in the sailing community. It can only be worn by sailors who have raced in a Mount Gay sponsored regatta where, upon completion of the course, they are awarded the cap. You can’t buy one in the gift shop, you have to earn it.

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I have never really been a rum drinker and enjoyed my re-introduction to the spirit. I enjoyed our time in Barbados and learning about rum. I will be drinking more rum in the future.