Published on March 26th, 2018 | by Brittain Thompson0
Inaugural Oxford Bourbon Festival Celebrates Bourbon and the Women Who Make It
The Inaugural Oxford Bourbon Festival aims to entertain while educating about the world of bourbon through tastings, seminars, and Laser Skeet Shooting. Net proceeds from the festival will directly benefit the Exchange Club Family Center.
“The idea came up about two years ago,” said Daryll Parker, Volunteer Coordinator. “It’s a bourbon town and it’s a foodie town. There’s so many talented chefs, so we had the idea to put them together and do some pairings but sneak in education throughout the festival.”
The weekend will be something of a bourbon symposium featuring four talks ranging from the historic connections of bourbon and blues to a full roadmap of the flavor profiles you can find in different bourbons.
“One I’m especially excited about is called Bootlegging, Bourbon, and Blues,” said Parker. “We just added to the panel former Chief of Police [H.C.] Franklin and he’s going to tell old moonshine bootleg stories. That’s going to be an intimate session where you can take in some history.”
The panel will also feature blues curator and associate professor Greg Johnson interviewing bluesman Little Willie Farmer and Clyde Mays III, grandson of famous Alabama bootlegger Clyde Mays.
The three other talks include David Rich of Rich Grain Distillery discussing how bourbon is made, locals Nick Spiller and Jeff Callaway showcasing how to make different bourbon cocktails, and bourbon authority Susan Reigler will speak on the different flavors in bourbon. At the end of Reigler’s seminar she will conduct a blind tasting to see if there is a gender-based preference on bourbon profile.
The festival also wants to put a spotlight on women in bourbon in celebration of March being National Women’s Month.
“The Festival is highlighting women in bourbon,” said Parker. “It’s a big deal that we got Susan Reigler to come down as well as Alex Castle to do the Key Note.”
Reigler is an Executive Bourbon Steward and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Bourbon Women Association in addition to authoring several books on the topic. Castle is the head distiller for Old Dominick Distillery, based in Memphis, Tennessee. The distillery is owned by the Canale family with roots dating back to 1859.
A Four course meal featuring lobster tail and ribeye prepared by Chef Kirby King of King’s will be held Friday on location at King’s. Each course will be paired with a bourbon from the bourbon infused pork belly opener to the final course of Fresh Grilled Peaches.
“I love a good steak and this is a great opportunity to learn about what bourbons you can pair well with the different meats,” said Parker.
The festival culminates to the Grand Tasting on Saturday at The Lyric Theater. VIP ticket holders will be treated to 15 bourbon samples paired with food prepared by local chefs from 6:30–10 pm. General admission ticket holders can enter the Grand Tasting at 7:30 pm and enjoy 12 bourbon and food pairings.
“Having all these different restaurants doing pairings with great bourbons is going to be a great time,” said Parker. “There’s indoor laser skeet shooter, live music, it’s going to be a fun experience.”
Tickets for the Inaugural Oxford Bourbon Festival are available online at OxfordBourbonFestival.com