Bourbon Week 2014 Dates Announced

tbw - backgroundBourbon Week will be back in 2014, and better than ever with the addition of Ottawa Bourbon Week alongside Toronto Bourbon Week.  And we’re thrilled to announce our dates!

This year, our second annual Toronto Bourbon Week will take place from Friday, November 14th until Thursday, November 20th.  And Ottawa Bourbon Week will follow immediately after, from Friday, November 21st until Thursday, November 27th.

Both Toronto and Ottawa Bourbon Week will follow the same format as Toronto’s last year – seven unique events over seven days at seven different locations.  Over the next few months we’ll have more announcements about our events and locations, so stay connected with us by signing up for our email newsletter and follow us on Twitter.

We’ve got a lot of 2014 to go before Bourbon Week happens, so in the meantime download the iCal for Toronto Bourbon Week and/or Ottawa Bourbon Week to save the date in your calendar!

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Bourbon Week Expanding in 2014

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Ottawa Bourbon Week – coming in 2014!

Toronto Bourbon Week is coming back in 2014.  But we’re also expanding!  Due to the success of Toronto Bourbon Week in 2013, we’re proud to announce that we’re going to be launching Ottawa Bourbon Week this year.

Both Toronto and Ottawa Bourbon Week will follow a similar format to 2013 – 7 events over 7 days at 7 different venues.  Each event will be unique and have its own theme, just like last year.  Our Ottawa Bourbon Week will be led by the amazing Taralyn Carver, who also manages the Brewery Market event series.

We’re also going to make some little changes here and there with our digital properties to reflect the addition of Ottawa.  Our website will now be www.bourbonweek.ca (what you’re looking at) which will be updated to have information about both weeks.  And our Twitter handle is changed to @BourbonWeeks to get the word out about Toronto and Ottawa together.

We haven’t finalized the dates for Toronto and Ottawa Bourbon Week 2014, but it will be in the autumn as last year.

If you are interested in being a part of either Toronto or Ottawa Bourbon Week this year, please email us at cass@bourbonweek.ca.  We look forward to seeing you all at Bourbon Week this year – it’s going to be amazing!

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Toronto Bourbon Week Recap: Days 5, 6 and 7

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The Bourbon Derby menu at 3030.

Toronto Bourbon Week continued its amazing inaugural run with events to close out the week at Bar Volo, Ursa Restaurant and 3030 Dundas West.

On Tuesday night at Bar Volo, one of Toronto’s premier beer destinations hosted a casual event entitled Bourbon and Barrel Beers.  Throughout the day and evening guests were offered multiple tasting flights assembled exclusvely for Bourbon Week – Buffalo Trace (with Straight Bourbon, Experimental Oat, Experimental Rye and White Dog), Woodford Reserve (with Straight Bourbon, Masters Collection 1838, Masters Collection Aged and New Cask Straight) and E.H. Taylor (with Small Batch, Single Barrel and Straight Rye).  Volo also offered alongside the bourbon flights a number of unique bourbon barrel-aged beers, including a keg of their own House Ales Barley Wine aged in Four Roses.  It was a relaxed and fun evening, a great warmup for the events to close out the week.

The penultimate event was the Bourbon Mix, our bourbon mixology cocktail competition at Ursa Restaurant.  The night was a raucous party, with a number of competitiors showing their stuff to our celebrity judges including Christine Sismondo, Sandy De Almeida and two guest judges in from New York City.  Our competitors each made two drinks for the judges, one with Buffalo Trace and another with Ridgemont 1792. When all was said and done, Atsushi Suzuki of Ursa took first place, Elan Marks of Weslodge coming in second and Taylor Corrigan of Home of the Brave taking third.  The competition attracted a veritable who’s-who of the bar and cocktail scene of Toronto and the competitors made some incredible drinks during the event.

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Atsushi doing his thing during the Bourbon Mix.

Finally, our closing night party was one for the ages, the Bourbon Derby at 3030 Dundas West.  The Bourbon Derby was a simple premise – a “field” of 20 bourbons available to try, mirroring that of the Kentucky Derby itself.  Visitors to the sold out event were able to select three bourbons with their ticket, representing the best that Kentucky has to offer, personally tutored by 3030 bartender and native Kentuckian Lucas Twyman.  Throughout the evening, drinkers could vote for their favourite bourbon to determine the Derby winner (and in a photo finish Elijah Craig won, with Four Roses Small Batch placing and EH Taylor showing).

But that wasn’t all to the evening – 3030 also offered a menu of small dishes exclusive to the event, each created by different members of their kitchen staff.  And to top it all off, the Derby closed with two sets by the Barrel Boys, a local Toronto bluegrass band.  It was a delightful evening of great bourbon, food and music, a fantastic way to wrap up the festivities.

And with that our first Toronto Bourbon Week came to a close, and what a week it was.  We set out to celebrate this great spirit and celebrate we did, with a week of diverse events that suited tastes from beginner to connoisseur.  It was important to us that we could have events that offered both straight bourbon tastings along with cocktails, food pairings, beer pairings and also live music – and everything came together beautifully.  But we couldn’t have done it without our partners and friends, so many thanks go to:

  • Our venue partners Indie Alehouse, Amsterdam BrewHouse, Acadia Restaurant, Monarch Tavern, Bar Volo, Ursa Restaurant and 3030 Dundas West for their enthusiastic participation,
  • Our media partners Torontoist and NOW for helping to get the word out about Toronto Bourbon Week,
  • Distilleries Buffalo Trace, Ridgemont and Woodford Reserve who stepped up to bring something extra to the table,
  • All our bartender and industry friends who participated in our events, and
  • Everyone who bought tickets and came out to celebrate bourbon – we hope you had as great of a time at the week as we did!

Toronto Bourbon Week was a great success in our first year, and we’re already looking forward to next year.  If you would like to be part of Toronto Bourbon Week next year – please reach out as we’d love to hear from you.  Please drop us an email at cass@torontobourbonweek.com and we’d love to chat about how we can work together.  Stay in touch by following us on Twitter and signing up for our e-mail list on the right hand side of this page.  Cheers and we’ll see you again next year!

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Toronto Bourbon Week Recap: Days 2, 3 and 4

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The great mason jars for the Hillbilly Whisperer.

Toronto Bourbon Week continued its great events through the weekend and Monday with the Hillbilly Whisperer at the Amsterdam BrewHouse, the Bourbon Brunch at Acadia Restaurant and Classics from the Old School at the Monarch Tavern.

Amsterdam was raucous as usual on Saturday night, with a delicious menu created exclusively for Toronto Bourbon Week. Beginning with drinks, Amsterdam brewed the Hillbilly Whisperer, the very rare style of Kentucky Common, a sour mashed beer brewed with rye and flaked maize, which was served in a branded mason jar alongside a shot of Bulleit. For those that were hungry, a bourbon-themed menu was offered for the night, which included seared sea scallop  with bacon bourbon vinaigrette, lettuce, blue cheese, walnut and apple salad, bourbon and cola glazed pork belly with three year old cheddar grits, plus pumpkin crème brulée with maple biscotti. The prix fixe for $65 including the dinner, beer, bourbon & the mason jar to take home was a steal.

Onto our only daytime event of the week, Acadia Restaurant hosted our Bourbon Brunch on a gorgeous Sunday morning and afternoon. The first event to sell out for Bourbon Week, visitors weren’t disappointed as the bourbon menu included Honkeytonk Morning, a kegged and carbonated cocktail with bourbon, barenjager, calvados, pineapple, orgeat and angostura, plus Rock & Rye Bottled Punch, a still cocktail with bourbon, aged rum, spice cordial and hibiscus tea. The family style brunch menu included buffalo milk yogurt, BLT salad, smoked beef cheek benedict, Anson Mills grits and coffee cake.  It was a great way to close out our Toronto Bourbon Weekend with a bright and scrumptious afternoon of bourbon cocktails and food.

Our kegged & bottled cocktails at Acadia.

Our kegged & bottled cocktails at Acadia.

Last night at the Monarch Tavern was Classics of the Old School, a tribute to traditional bourbon cocktails. Our event was guest bar tended by Joe Howell of the Spoke Club, who brought his fine skills to the crowd with a range of cocktails that included the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, a Classic Sour and a Chocolate Vanilla Old Fashioned, made with a range of bourbon including Woodford Reserve, Ancient Age and Buffalo Trace.  Woodford Reserve was kind enough to set up a special tasting lounge, with tutored tastings of their delicious liquid. Rounding out the great vibe of the night was some live piano, creating a truly unique atmosphere for the evening.

Toronto Bourbon Week has been a smashing success thus far, with four events providing a number of memorable and unique ways to discover and enjoy bourbon. The week continues with Bourbon and Barrel Beers tonight at Bar Volo (587 Yonge Street; free admission, 2pm-2am), the Bourbon Mix cocktail competition Wednesday at Ursa (924 Queen Street West; free admission, 10pm-2am) and our closing night party the Bourbon Derby at 3030 Dundas West (tasting sold out, free admission to see the Barrel Boys as of 10pm). With three days remaining, there’s still lots of opportunities to enjoy the inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week. We hope to see you out!

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Day One Recap: Fingers and Bones at Indie Alehouse

TBW - Event PostersDay one of the inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week was a saucy success, with Indie Alehouse hosting a full house of hungry and thirsty patrons serving ribs, wings, bourbon and beer at our opening event entitled Fingers and Bones.

Tickets to the sold-out event went fast, and Indie didn’t disappoint with their delicious lineup of food and drink to kick off Toronto Bourbon Week.

The menu for the evening included a choice of “bones” – smoked ribs with a sweet and spicy bourbon BBQ sauce and braised ribs with a bourbon and hoisin BBQ sauce, plus smoked chicken wings in either a spicy or sweet bourbon sauce.  All of these were paired with sides which included fried polenta, salad, potato salad and fries.

The “bones” were delicious, as were the “fingers”.  Diners were able to choose from a great lineup of bourbons which included Bakers, Bookers, Blantans, Basil Hayden, Elijah Craig, Knob Creek, Knob Creek Reserve, Bulleit, 1792, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve.  Along with the bourbon, diners received a selection of Indie’s house-brewed beers, three of which (Breakfast Porter, Double Team and Sweep the Leg) were aged in bourbon barrels.

Fingers and Bones was a fantastic kick-off to Toronto Bourbon Week, with a scrumptious menu of food and drink and the great atmosphere and hospitality that one can always expect to find at Indie Alehouse.  We hope that everyone who made it out enjoyed themselves, and we’ll see you at the Amsterdam Brewhouse for day two!

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The Bourbon Mix Competitors Selected!

mixThe competitors for The Bourbon Mix, our cocktail competition during at URSA Restaurant on Wednesday, October 2nd have been selected!

Due to time restrictions on the night of the competition, the number of competitors have been reduced to six. Each bartender will have five minutes to make one Buffalo Trace cocktail for two of the judges in the first round, and five minutes to make one Ridgemont 1792 cocktail for the other two judges in the second round. The bartenders will be judged on taste, appearance, and balance of the drinks as well as bartending technique and performance.

We are excited to welcome the following bartenders to the competition:

  • John Bunner – Yours Truly
  • Taylor Corrigan – Home of the Brave
  • David Greig – The Hoof’s Cocktail Bar
  • Simon Hooper – Bloke & 4th
  • Elan Marks – Weslodge
  • Atsushi Suzuki – URSA

In the event that one of the competitors cannot make it, Matthew Landry from Yours Truly will be the alternate.

The event kicks off at 10pm and goes all night.  There will be an exclusive Buffalo Trace punch created for Toronto Bourbon Week by Sarah Parniak and Robin Goodfellow, and the bar will be open all night.  Local cocktail goddesses Sandy De Almeida and Christine Sismondo will be judging, along with two special guest judges from New York City.  It is going to an amazing night celebrating whiskey and cocktail making.  Admission is free and there are no tickets required.  We hope to see you on Wednesday!

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Get Primed for Toronto Bourbon Week

The inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week is a mere 24 hours away, and in preparation for the festivities here are a number of articles about bourbon and Toronto Bourbon Week from around the web to get your appetite ready:

Thanks everyone for your generous coverage of Toronto Bourbon Week and this delicious spirit! We hope to see you out this week!

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Countdown to Toronto Bourbon Week is on!

tbb - now - 2fifths - v1The inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week is only days away, and it’s going to be a week of amazing events to celebrate this delicious spirit.

We’re going to have seven events, one per day beginning on Friday with Fingers and Bones at Indie Alehouse, and closing with the Bourbon Derby next Thursday at 3030 Dundas West.  Each event has a different theme, making them all their own unique experiences.

Our events at Indie, Acadia and 3030 have sold out, but there are still tickets available for our event at the Monarch Tavern.  However, our events at Amsterdam Brewhouse, Bar Volo and Ursa are all general admission, so mark them down even if you didn’t get tickets to the others!  Our 3030 event still has lots of space if you’d like to come and see the Barrel Boys (no cover!) – only the tasting portion has sold out.  And even though our events are specific to each day, you’re always welcome to hit up our great bars throughout the week.

Toronto Bourbon Week will also have commemorative posters available at our events if you’d like to take some home.

We’re grateful to the enthusiasm and participation of our great venues for making the first Toronto Bourbon Week come to life.  And lots of thanks to our digital media sponsor Torontoist and our print media sponsor NOW for helping get the word out about Toronto Bourbon Week.

We hope to see you out at Toronto Bourbon Week starting on Friday!

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The Hillbilly Whisperer at Amsterdam announced!

BrewhouseOur Saturday night (September 28th) event, entitled The Hillbilly Whisperer, will be a great night of beer, bourbon and food at the Amsterdam BrewHouse.  Exclusively brewed and debuting at Toronto Bourbon Week, Amsterdam has made a “Kentucky Common“, a once popular beer style pre-Prohibition, now a very rare one, originating from Kentucky.  At the event, Amsterdam will be pouring their Kentucky Common, affectionately named The Hillbilly Whisperer, in branded mason jars, paired with a shot of bourbon of your choice from their menu.  This one will definitely be a delightful treat and something you don’t want to miss!

But that’s not all! Amsterdam is also offering a unique menu created exclusively for Toronto Bourbon Week.  They are offering the following new menu items during their event at dinner:

  • Amuse Bouche: Seared sea scallop with bacon bourbon vinaigrette and fermented black garlic
  • Salad: Butter lettuce and blue cheese, toasted walnuts, granny smith apple and honey lemon vinaigrette
  • Entree: Bourbon and cola glazed pork belly with 3 year old white cheddar grits and sautéed kale
  • Dessert: Pumpkin crème brûlée with maple biscotti

All of these items can be purchased à la carte, or as a full tasting menu.  This event will not be ticketed and will be first-come, first-serve.  All food and drink will be priced accordingly.  We hope to see you Saturday night at the great Amsterdam BrewHouse on the lake for a unique night of bourbon, beer and food!

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Classics from the Old School at the Monarch Tavern!

web_monarch_logoMonday night’s event during Toronto Bourbon Week will be a good one, where our awesome posters will be coming to life.  The Monarch Tavern will be hosting Classics from the Old School, a night of traditional bourbon-based cocktails, fitting for one of Toronto’s most ‘old school’ bars!

At the event you’ll be able to enjoy a menu of specially curated bourbon cocktails, including venerable favourites the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, the Mint Julep and more.  For the ticket price you will get three full-size cocktails of your choice from the menu.

Classics from the Old School will be on Monday, September 30th, so stop by anytime in the evening with your ticket to have some delicious bourbon cocktails.  The Monarch is always a fun time and their evening during Toronto Bourbon Week will be no different – and there may be some special surprises as well!  So, get your tickets from the link below:

Register for Event

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