Toronto Bourbon Week Recap: Days 5, 6 and 7
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!