December 29, 2011

Bourbon Tour

Being from Kentucky, a trip to a bourbon distillery is a must! My boyfriend just got into town, so today we decided to take a trip to two different distilleries in Kentucky. 

Woodford Reserve & Buffalo Trace Distillery

Woodford Reserve is one of the smaller bourbon distilleries located just south of Frankfort in Versailles, KY. This distillery is a very picturesque and has a ton of history! Here are some pictures from our trip with some fun bourbon facts!
The production buildings of Woodford Reserve
Bourbon Barrel "Railroad"
This fun "railroad" is how the workers transport full oak barrels full of bourbon from the "filling" building to the "aging" building. To be considered "bourbon", the liquor must be aged in newly charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years. Woodford takes great pride in their product and allows the liquor to age for six to nine years. The barrels are HEAVY! Without any liquid, the barrels themselves weight 100 pounds, and with the addition of the liquid, they weigh OVER 500 pounds! So the "railroad" is semi necessary. 
Fermentation Tank
This gigantic barrels holds 7,500 gallons of bourbon mash which consists of corn (72%), malted barley (10%), rye (18%), KY limestone water, and their secret yeast strain. As the mash ferments in these tanks, the yeast converts the sugars in the grain into alcohol.
Copper Pots Distills 
Once the mash has fermented and the yeast have done what they need to do, the alcohol needs to be separated from the mash. This is uniquely done in three separate copper pot chambers that have been imported all the way from Scotland. The mash is boiled and the alcohol evaporates out of the first, and condenses into the second copper pot. The process happens again in the third pot, resulting in a clear liquor. This clear liquor is commonly referred to as "moonshine," if left as is. 
Bourbon Before Aged
The liquor is then pumped into the oak barrels and left to age for six to nine years to get the distinctive amber color and flavor.
Charred Oak Barrels

Aging Bourbon

Bottling Process
After the bourbon has aged for the appropriate amount of time, it is then bottled, shipped, and sold at a retailer near you!

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Now it is hard to compare Woodford Reserve with Buffalo Trace, because the former produces bourbon on a small scale, the latter produces a much greater volume. Buffalo Trace produces 14 different types of bourbon at this location located in downtown Frankfort, KY. So the grounds are a little more industrial looking.

Buffalo Sculpture

Bourbon Production Buildings
We didn't get to see exactly where the bourbon is produced here, because everything is so spread out. But the process of producing the bourbon is essentially the same as Woodford Reserve, except for a few different minor adjustments. (For more specific information about their product, click here!)
Bourbon Barrel

Experimental Barrels
One of the most interesting things about Buffalo Trace were their "experimental barrels" of bourbon. These barrels were much smaller than their usual batch, and used grains such as rice and oats instead of the usual corn, barley, rye combo. Once the barrels have aged enough, they will compare that product to their current product and possibly make a brand new bourbon form it. Exciting! 
Our Tour Guide with all Buffalo Trace Bourbon Products

And we tasted of course! We tasted two different types of bourbon and a "Bourbon Cream" which is basically like Baileys Irish Cream, except with Bourbon! (That was my favorite)
Marshall with Bourbon

Me with Bourbon Cream

I highly recommend visiting some bourbon distilleries if you are ever in the Louisville/Lexington Kentucky area!

For more information about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, click here!

December 27, 2011

Not Vegetarian Friendly

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Now, I know I have only really blogged about desserts and sweet items, so I decided it was time to switch things up a bit.... with MEAT!
Now I know what you're thinking... a Nutrition student? and red meat? Don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer in incorporating more vegetarian and plant based meals into one's diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. I myself experiment with vegan and vegetarian options now and again, but sometimes, a girl just needs a big slab of meat! So that's just was a had for Christmas Eve Dinner!

The big piece of meat pictured above is actually a portion of Buffalo (aka: Bison) Tenderloin. Personally, I prefer to have Bison over Beef any day, for a number of reasons, one being it is a leaner cut of meat. So I also feel that this is a good opportunity to go through of a few differences between beef and bison.

1. I will start with the obvious:

Bison                                                                Beef

 Glad we cleared that up!

2. Unlike most cows raised for consumption, bison usually spend their whole life roaming freely in grass and feed on mostly grass and hay.

3. To find beef that has been grass fed similar to bison is usually a challenge in most grocery stores, unless you go to a more specialty grocer, such as Whole Foods. Even then, grass fed beef is almost always more expensive.

4. If you are worried about there being antibiotics and growth hormone residues being in your food supply, then there is nothing to worry about with bison! Bison are not given these icky chemicals while they are raised.

5. The nutrition profile of bison is also better than beef. Because bison are able to graze and roam freely, their meat is very lean and tender, especially the tenderloin portion. Therefore, there is less saturated fat in one ounce of bison, compared to one ounce of beef, which is great news for your arteries!

Overall, bison is similar in flavor and tenderness to that of beef, but with less fat! For more information on bison, check out this link!

So if you're ever in the mood for some red meat, I hope you will give bison a chance! Below is the "recipe" for my favorite way to cook bison! Hope you enjoy!

Print this recipe!

Pan Seared Bison


  • 2, 6-oz. bison tenderloin filets, about 2'' thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
Probe Thermometer (optional)


Rinse and pat dry your bison steaks. Evenly season bison with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
If using a probe thermometer, insert the probe into the thickest portion of the meat, ensuring the probe is centered in the middle of the steak.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and oil. Allow the butter to melt and for the mixture to get very hot and slightly browned.
Add the steaks to the hot pan, and brown on all sides.

Once brown, transfer steaks to an oven-safe pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 - 20 minutes for medium.

 If using a probe thermometer, cook until internal temperature reaches 135 - 140 degrees F (medium rare - medium).

Remove filets from oven and let rest on counter for 5 minutes before serving.
Note: the butter/ oil pan is a great starting place for making a wine sauce for the bison, after it is browned! Reduce your favorite red wine down in the pan with either arrowroot or flour as a thickener. Finish sauce with butter and serve with bison!