Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience 2019 | Kentucky Cocktail Competition

This spring I had the pleasure of photographing the 2019 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience cocktail competition at Ostra Louisville. This was my second year photographing the Kentucky competition, where bartenders compete using Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey as their key ingredient in an original cocktail or Manhattan variation, with one bartender moving on to the next stage of competition. As a local Louisville photographer, I have a keen interest in all things bourbon, so it’s always a blast combining photography and bourbon cocktails!

As you can see from the photos from the event, the crowd had a great time drinking and watching the competition, the judges enjoyed their cocktail judging duties, and all in all, everyone had a great night of it!

How to Derby | Woodford Reserve and Old Forester at Liquor Barn

If there's anything Kentuckians look forward to as winter warms up into spring, it's the Kentucky Derby and the partying and festivities leading up to it! Louisville really comes alive in anticipation for the horse racing, bourbon drinking, hats, and local flair of the Derby.

A week before Oaks, I shot a fun event called How to Derby at the local Liquor Barn in Springhurst, featuring Brown-Forman's top Derby libations-- Old Forester bourbon, Woodford Reserve bourbon, Korbel Champagne, and Finlandia vodka. Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris and 2018 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby 144 bottle artist Keith Anderson were in attendance to sign bottles and posters for excited fans. Between the signing tables, the bar serving mint juleps, liquor tasting tables, swag distribution, and live music by The Porch Possums Bluegrass Band, there were also local vendors mingling and selling their derby inspired collections. Clayton & Crume handcrafted leather goods, Peake Ties ties and bowties, Mysterious Rack hats and fascinators, plus bourbon barrel cake, bourbon balls and chocolates, and cigars. If you weren't ready for derby before the event, you certainly were after!

Louisville SWIG | Old Forester Speakeasy at The Henry Clay

Last Friday I got to time travel! Just kidding-- well, sort of. I photographed the party of the century-- the Old Forester speakeasy room at Louisville SWIG, a local event celebrating the end of prohibition-- Repeal Day, December 5, 1933-- and the publication of Louisville Magazine's SWIG Volume VIII at The Henry Clay. The Old Forester speakeasy boasted tastings of their bourbons-- the 1870 Original Batch, 1897 Bottled in Bond, and 1920 Prohibition Style bourbons as well as their new Statesman bourbon (inspired by characters in "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"). A signature cocktail tasting was also served (crafted by Jeremy Johnson). The bar was stunning with a massive ice sculpture of the signature Old Forester bourbon bottle lit from below. 

To the partygoer's delight, the speakeasy was filled with diversions: a cinema featuring a reel from "Kingsman: The Golden Circle", 1920's and 30's hairstyles for the ladies by J. Michael's Spa & Salon, shoe shines for the gentlemen by The Executive Shoe Shine, Carly Johnson's beautiful singing, Caricatures by Vickie, magician Richard E. Darshwood, a selfie photo booth, and passed food (White Castle, pizza, and Vegan Jerky, oh my!)

It truly was the party of the century! And you know what they say, "a little party never killed nobody"! Check out some of my photos covering the event, below!

5 Places to Spend Autumn in Kentuckiana

I've always been a proponent for "being a tourist in your own state", and as autumn is my favorite season, this year I was excited to experience it from start to finish at home, in the Kentucky area. Since moving back to Louisville, I've had a goal to see more of my state-- revisiting old favorites, yes, but also experiencing new parts of Kentucky. So, get ready for an image-heavy blog about the 5 places I visited this fall (so far) in Kentuckiana.

1. Maker's Mark Distillery, Loretto, KY

We began the season with a trip out to Maker's Mark to see the Chihuly glass art installation. I'd never been out to Maker's Mark before-- I'd done a distillery tour or two in the past, but the iconic and historic bourbon distillery was a head above the rest, I thought. The Chihuly pieces only added to the beauty of the place. We did a guided tour of the grounds and buildings, taking in all the sights, smells, and tastes of Maker's Mark. 

2. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, KY

I try to get out to Bernheim as often as possible, so on our way back from Loretto, we stopped by Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest for a quick hike, and I could see the leaves just barely beginning to turn-- early harbingers of fall. Bernheim has a multitude of options for walking, hiking, and strolling, depending on what you feel like doing that day. You can walk around one of the lakes, or hike up and over a creek in the woods. We did the latter, on this particular day.

3. Nolin Lake, Mammoth Cave, KY

Skipping ahead to the weekend of October 1st, I went with a friend to her family's house on Nolin Lake-- another new place for me. Most lakes in Kentucky are man made, dammed up rivers turned into recreational lakes, which make them quite different than what I am used to having grown up spending summers on the lakes in Minnesota. From the Nolin Lake State Park website, "The 5,795-acre lake created from the impoundment of the Nolin River in 1963 and the 333-acre park are located along the northern edge of Mammoth Cave National Park in Edmonson County".

4. Natural Bridge State Park, Daniel Boone National Forest, and Red River Gorge, Stanton, KY

People always gaped at me when I told them I'd never been to Red River Gorge or Natural Bridge State Park, both special areas in the Daniel Boone National Forest, which stretches across a huge swath of Kentucky. So this fall, I finally got to visit these amazing places! The natural stone arches in the area reminded me of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah, and I was happily surprised to find them in my own state. The leaves had also just started to really get colorful, which is always a thrill.

5. Huber's Orchard, Winery, and Vineyard, Starlight, IN

As it was getting closer to Halloween, I started to feel the need to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch-- you know... like you do this time of year. My favorite in the area is Huber's, in Starlight, Indiana (the only Indiana location on this list, sorry! I need to get up there more but Kentucky is just so fascinating). Surprisingly, I had never gone apple-picking in their orchard, I usually only spent time at their farm market and winery, so I was determined to do so. I ended up letting my mom pick most of the apples while I took photos!

Welp, if you waded through all those photos, I thank you! So far it's been a gorgeous fall in Kentuckiana, and I'm just excited to shoot more photos. 

If you're interested in buying prints of any of these photos, follow the links below!

Prints of Autumn in Kentuckiana
More prints and products

Cooper's Craft | The Tasting Room at Westport Whiskey & Wine

Tuesday evening I went with Alicia Orgel to the Coopers' Craft Bourbon tasting and cocktail demo at Westport Whiskey & Wine / The Tasting Room at Westport Whiskey & Wine where she and Cat taught the class how to make a Hop & Holler:

  • 1 1/2 partsCoopers’ Craft
  • 1/4part Triple Sec
  • Top w/ Ginger Beer
  • 3 dashesOrange Bitters

Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Stir and strain into an old fashioned glass over ice.

Everyone had a great time tasting the bourbon and learning how to use bar spoons-- as well as the reason why we shake or stir drinks!