Songs we will be singin’ along to this summer with Bourbon in hand
Summer is coming to the Bluegrass State and we are HERE FOR IT!
We asked our Master Distillers, Bourbon personalities, bartenders and tour guides what songs they will be sipping Bourbon to this summer and put them all in a Spotify playlist just for you. With songs ranging from traditional bluegrass to AC/DC to Vampire Weekend, this mix is as diverse as Kentucky Bourbon itself. Also be on the lookout for lots of Kentucky artists woven throughout.
Click here to listen: Hot Mash Summer
When asked what Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris would be pouring and playing this summer, his response did not disappoint! Chris said that he will be sipping Double Oaked on the rocks while listening to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck “because it shocks you how good it is.” When it’s cocktail hour he will be sipping a Woodford Old Fashioned to The Honeycombs Have I The Right because “you just want to hold it and bring it to your lips,” or a Woodford Manhattan with Rush’s 2112 because “it’s complex, smooth and dynamic.” Speaking of Rush, Chris may also opt for a Woodford on the rocks set to Working Man “because it is the everyday reward.”
Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe has a lot to say on this subject! “My friend Hank Williams Jr. did this song many years ago and it has been a favorite of my family [ever since].” While Fred and kin listen to Family Tradition this summer, they will no doubt “enjoy a drink of Jim Beam, since [that is our] family tradition, and [Hank] has been a fan of Jim Beam many years.” Fred has many friends in high/low places, “Another friend, Kid Rock has a hit All Summer Long that is appropriate, and I will be enjoying the new Jim Beam RTD citrus Highball seltzer.” Fred says he’s always been a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, and one of his favorite tunes is Whiskey Rock-A-Roller. “I will enjoy an Old Grand Dad drink since they reference it in the song.” Fred continues, “My great friends Eddie Montgomery and his former bandmate Troy Gentry did a song with Ronnie Milsap Shakey Ground that I will enjoy with a frozen homemade Jim Beam Black whiskey sour that my mother created.” And one more for the road, “Another song I enjoy is the classic song La Grange by ZZ Top. I will be enjoying a Knob Creek on the rocks with a splash of water.”
Jim Beam’s American Whiskey Ambassador Beth Burrows has been crowd-sourcing the beats on Facebook ever since the pandemic started. When asked what she will be sipping and singing this summer she said “Old GrandDad Bonded Paper Plane cocktails on a patio, in the sunshine, while jamming Electric Love by BORNS.” Beth will be gettin’ outdoorsy with a “Knob Creek Rye S’mores Old Fashioned around the campfire while Walkin’ After Midnight by Patsy Cline plays over the speakers.” and when she’s feeling energized – “Legent on one large rock while Nina Simone sings I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl on the record player…and I dance around the room!”
Owensboro is home to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, so naturally Green River Master Distiller Jacob Call chose a cover of the bluegrass classic Paradise by Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson. Jacob will be sipping on Green River Bottled in Bond pre-release as Sturgill croons those old lyrics, “Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green River where Paradise lay…” Before his glass empties, he’ll put on Somewhere In The Middle by Cody Jinks…“because Cody Jinks is awesome.”
Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Denny Potter will be mixing up his official summer drink – a Maker’s Gold Rush. “It’s always refreshing and easy to make.” said Denny. “As for songs…I have a few that I love to listen to during the summer. All either remind me of my time living in the Virgin Islands or I just like the beat and they put me in a good mood.” Island Song and Deep Knee by the Zac Brown Band both fit the bill, as does Float On by Modest Mouse. Virgin Islands Nice by Pressure will keep you grooving on those hot summer days. Denny says, “Pressure is a local Virgin Islands musician that has a great Caribbean following. He raised a lot of money for the Islands post Hurricanes Irma and Maria.” Denny may also be sipping on Maker’s with some Ice Ice Baby to this summery remake by the Marty Ray Project.
Rabbit Hole’s Founder and Whiskey Maker Kaveh Zamanian will be sipping on some Heigold as he spins What’s Poppin’ by Jack Harlow – “It’s fresh, fun and [Harlow is a] local hometown Louisville artist.” Next he’ll be dropping the needle down on Changes by David Bowie because it’s a “timeless, classic, and [has] resonant lyrics about life.” Last but not least, Kaveh chose Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack because it’s “cool, timely and well, it’s Bobby Womack, what’s more to say?”
Haley Perros works her day job as a brand marketer for the Wilderness Trail Distillery, but her night passion is co-hosting the Kentucky Music Preview podcast – so naturally we wanted her song recommendations. Haley set the scene for her Bourbon and beats – “the windows are open, it’s evening and you’re cooking and dancing in your kitchen. Drinking an Old Fashioned or a chocolatey Wilderness Trail high rye Bourbon while listening to I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos.” She will also be found “celebrating summer with friends, drinking a Blueberry Julep or Wilderness Trail Rye Whiskey for its floral flavors, and listening to SUPERBLOOM by MisterWaves.” Go Flex by Post Malone is what’ll be on when she’s “drinking on the lake not driving boats because we are responsible, just vibing to summertime feeling.” Next up, Haley chose Bloodshot Eyes by Trampled By Turtles. “Sitting by water, a campfire, on your porch alone or wherever puts you in that slow ethereal space, sipping on Wilderness Trail wheated Bourbon because it tastes like sweet nostalgia .” You’ll be sure not to skip this slow jam – High Rises by CHIKA will be on in the event of a “rooftop party or home alone cleaning party, any occasion can be a reason to celebrate. Sipping that Wilderness Trail 5yr cask strength barrel pick because it’s fun and that’s the mood we are in.” Last but not least, Hot by The Last Artful, Dodgr is an apt choice for “a hot muggy summer night on the back porch with a friend or someone special and a glass of 6yr Bourbon because those are the ingredients for long convos and big dreams.”
Perhaps our youngest Master Distiller, Caleb Kilburn might be as passionate about music as he is about the liquid gold he distills for Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Caleb will be sipping on Peerless Single Barrel Rye while listening to Maggie’s Song by Chris Stapleton…and just look at this little puppy face! “My wife, Hannah and I added the first new member to our household this spring. Magnolia, or Maggie for short, is an English Springer Spaniel who has quickly made herself right at home.” Caleb will also be mixing up some cocktails with Kentucky’s favorite ginger soda while spinning Caught Up In You by 38 Special. “Hannah and I will be celebrating our first anniversary this summer. We’ll be reliving the best day of our lives while sipping our signature wedding cocktail.”
- 1 1/2 oz of Peerless Small Batch Bourbon
- 1 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz of simple syrup
- Cherry and Orange Wedge for garnish or whatever fruit
Pour first 3 ingredients into collins glass and fill with ice. Stir intensely, then top off with Ale-8-One.
While Peerless is his passion, Caleb enjoys other pours as well. “The very first concert that I ever attended was Bob Seger when I was in middle school. Dad and I knew every word to Night Moves and it was just an amazing memory. I’ll celebrate Father’s Day with him and a glass of [Wild] Turkey 101 to honor another man that I look up to.”
The Casey Jones Distillery in Hopkinsville asked their entire distillery staff to send in their favorite songs, and boy did they! There were so many we had to make them their own playlist that can be found here – Casey’s Cuts. The CJD staff will no doubt be jamming out to this playlist while sippin’ on their own Casey’s Cut Moonshine, Small Batch Bourbons, or a jug of their famous Moon-a-Rita.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Director Adam Johnson had a few tunes to add as well (fun fact – Adam made so many mix tapes in high school his nickname was Sir Grooves.) On Tour by Kurt Vile is first up because “it’s reminiscent of being on a distillery tour.” Adam also chose several songs by Matt Duncan “because he’s a good Kentucky native and his music is light and fun – perfect for summer.” Adam said he will be spinning One Mint Julep by Louis Prima and Keely Smith “because it’s jazzy and I’ll certainly be making use of the mint in my neighbor’s garden.”
We are finishing off our Hot Mash Summer playlist with Toast 2 Us by Tuxedo. All of us here at the KBT encourage you to take the time this summer to appreciate the good things and raise a toast to someone you love. Cheers!
Sip and Sing like a True Kentuckian – Responsibly!
Featured Kentucky Artists:
- Ben Sollee
- Bill Monroe (Blue Moon of Kentucky covered by Paul McCartney)
- Billy Goat Strut Revue
- Bonnie Prince Billy
- Chris Stapleton
- Jack Harlow
- Joan Shelley
- The Josephines
- Matt Duncan
- Montgomery Gentry
- My Morning Jacket
- Nappy Roots
- Nerves Junior
- Samuel Lockridge
- Sturgill Simpson
- VHS or Beta
- Wax Fang