One of the easiest ways to celebrate Kentucky bourbon is to host a tasting. All you need are a few guests, a handful of spirits and festive accessories, and you have a party.
Keep your bourbon selection small, four or five different bottles, so guests may try a sip of each. You can always have a follow-up affair with other labels.
And because you want guests to taste the bourbon, not a cocktail mix, there's no need for a cabinet full of juices or other flavorings. Instead, have plenty of water to cleanse the palate and ice for those who prefer to add a cube to cool their drink.
To serve the bourbon, think of offering clear, tulip-shaped or snifter glasses such as those by Glenciarn. The Scotland-based company has developed a design to funnel the aromas of whiskeys to the nose, the better to appreciate everything from color to taste.
And so a guest and his glass don't get separated during the evening, reserve a spot for each person. West Elm, the home furnishings and décor retailer, offers natural slate coasters, $16 for a set of four, that can be monogrammed for an additional $7. Use chalk to write someone's name or initials on the coaster; after the party, erase and use for the next gathering.
To add a fun flair to a home bar, think of accenting with a vintage bourbon decanter. Check out antique stores or shows for something from the '60s or early '70s for a Mad Men look, usually for less than $60.
Offer a selection of snacks, such as light cheeses and crackers. And don't pass up a chance to add a bit of whimsey to the party with patterned appetizer plates. For fall get-togethers, Williams-Sonoma offers Halloween Medallion plates featuring Victorian-inspired snakes, ravens, skulls and bats, $29.99 for a set of four.
And so everyone remembers their favorite spirits, provide note pads for guests to jot down their thoughts about each drink. Stick with a basic tablet or create a personalized pad. At Paper-source.com designs range from bold chevron stripes to cool sea creatures and florals.