The Woodford Reserve Culinary Cocktail Tour: A Journey With Bourbon, by Dave Larson. Louisville, Ky.: Brown-Forman Corporation, 2005. Contents, Foreward, Index, Illustrated. pp129.
This book is a gift to the eyes. Very well designed with stunning photographs. The chapter on the Woodford Reserve Distillery has no text and 29 pages of photographs. The images say all that is really needed to be said for this book about the distillery. Even so, that does not mean that there is no text to the book and it is without content. There is plenty of text and it is not all about cocktails as the title suggests. There are twelve featured chefs with each having a page with an introductory bio of the chef and a photograph or two of the chef in their restaurant. This is followed by a chapter about "Talented Producers" with bios of five people who produce locally grown produce - everything from garlic to hams.
The real point of the book are the recipes - both cocktail and foods. Cocktails, appetizers, sides and salds, entree's and desserts each have their own chapter and the recipe includes a photograph of the final result. The classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Mint Julep and Old Fashioned are to be found as well as many new drinks. Champagne cocktail and Bourbon Slush as well as Melon Splash and Hot Bourbon Cider. The foods are just as varied. Pickled Shrimp, Corn and Crab Fritters, Woodford Wilt Salad, Corn Relish, Pork Tenderloin with Fig Peach Chutney and Polenta, Pork Chops with Green Tomato and Mango Relish, Plum Berry Shortcakes and Blackberry Biscuit Pudding are just a sample of the recipes. The index makes it easy to find recipes by ingrediant but does not index the bios of the people. Larson obviously wanted the focus to be on the food, not the people.
This is a very good book, well designed and pleasing to the eyes. It is filled with great recipes. The book is made to promote Woodford Reserve, but it is done in a subtle manner compared to many of the "in your face" styles used by other products. A good book to have in a bourbon library, but a better one to have in the kitchen.
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873