Last week, I noticed an interesting picture posted on the Maker’s Mark FaceBook page. It had the words “Spirits Confidential” emblazoned over the Dallas skyline. The text with the pic said that all I had to do was RSVP in order to attend the event on Thursday night. So, RSVP I did. And so it was that I (along with my buddy Kurt) wandered into the greatest event Dallas has seen since that wedding last August.
Spirits Confidential is the Beam Global traveling trade show. They bring in brand ambassadors, master mixologists, Master Distillers, and distillery bigwigs to town to talk to the people and hand out free samples. I got to talk to bourbon luminaries such as Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Greg Davis, Old Grand Dad one man show Bernie Lubber, and Frederick Booker Noe III – seventh generation of the Beam family and current Jim Beam Master Distiller.
I also got to sample a wide variety of Beam Global’s products. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, which is bourbon sweated out of the barrels after the standard Jim gets dumped, was extra dark and spicy. Knob Creek Single Barrel is bottled at 120 proof and will kick your tail if you’re not careful. And I will now only use maple syrup on my pancakes when Cruzan Black Strap Rum isn’t available.
The highlights of the evening for me were the Throwdown Challenge, wherein you had 60 seconds to identify 8 glasses of liquor by sight and smell alone, and getting an award-winning mint julep from master mixologist Bobby “G” Gleason. My bourbon snob nose won me an autographed mini bourbon barrel at the Throwdown Challenge (on the third try and Even then I switched the Knob Creek and Jim Beam) which Greg Davis kindly personalized for me.
It was a fun evening. I learned that Maker’s 46 uses synthetic corks for a very good reason. I learned that Cruzan is pronounced crew-zhan and means “from the island of St Croix.” I learned that a good bartender can squeeze fire from an orange. And I learned that after a few samples of tequila, Kurt will dip an egg roll in maple syrup and not bat an eye.
Thanks for letting me crash the party, guys.