COCKTAIL + APPETIZER FLAVOR PAIRING CLASS

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This post is in collaboration with Jeptha Creed and Butchertown Grocery. All of these opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting brands and businesses that support Sam and Nate Blog!

Nathan and I received an invite to attend a preview night of a Cocktail and Appetizer Flavor Pairing Class hosted at Jeptha Creed, a beautiful distillery in Shelbyville, KY about 20 minutes outside of Louisville. Jeptha is owned and operated by a mother-daughter duo, who are committed to honoring their family heritage by following a ground to glass concept in which they strive to produce all the ingredients they use in their spirits. This event was also in collaboration with Butchertown Grocery, an award winning restaurant located in the heart of one of Louisville’s best neighborhoods where they serve refined food in a former family market. So needless to say, Nathan and I were quite excited to attend.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a welcome cocktail called Blueberry Lavender Lemonade. It was made using Jeptha Creed’s blueberry vodka. We enjoyed these refreshing drinks in their beautiful open bar area as we waited for all the guests to arrive. We also had the opportunity to sample a new brandy, made from the Paw Paw fruit, that Jeptha is in the process of creating. If you are like me, you’ve probably never heard of a Pawpaw fruit. Well let me indulge you…..Pawpaw trees are actually the largest edible fruit trees native to North America, and are found from the Great Lakes down to portions of the Florida panhandle. These trees produce a greenish-black fruit that is said to be a cross between a mango and a banana…..and apparently have a flavor that lends itself well to making liquor which we had the opportunity to taste firsthand! We taste tested 3 different samples of varying strengths of the Pawpaw Brandy, and then voted on our favorite. Fun fact: the one I originally voted for ended up winning!

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After everyone arrived, we were led into the beautiful clubhouse which features a stately fireplace and iconic timber framing. This space really lended towards the cozy, romantic atmosphere of the event. They had high-top tables each set up with 4 stations to accommodate each pair of guests. We quickly chose a table with a group of fellow influencers from Louisville that we had never met before (because why not mix cocktails while making new friends, rights?!) and we were ready to get started!

Jeptha Creed Beverage Director Mackenzi Peohlein led the cocktail mixing portion of our class and gave us step-by-step instructions as we began. We started with the Savory Persian Love Cocktail, and since it was going to include an egg-white topper, I let Nathan take charge of this one. The Persian Love has featured flavors of Rose, Cardamom and Lemon with secondary flavors of Almond and Nutmeg. I’m not gonna lie, Nathan knocked this one out of the park! Maybe it’s due to the fact that he was a former bartender, or maybe just a really great listener, but regardless, this cocktail was delicious!

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As we were crafting the Persian Love, appetizers with coordinating flavor profiles were being introduced via the lovely staff at Jeptha Creed. These appetizers included Chesapeake Bay Oysters, Barrel Smoked Pork Belly, Preachers Ham Cornmeal Bloody Butcher Biscuits, and handmade Gnocchi with mushrooms. To say that the food was incredible, would be a complete understatement. Nathan and I also enjoyed that they specifically created these decadent dishes that perfectly complimented the cocktail we were preparing.

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After crafting our first cocktail, Butchertown Grocery Chef and Owner Bobby Benjamin gave us a live demo of how he creates his handmade gnocchi. As a couple that loves to cook together, Nathan and I really enjoyed this aspect of the event. It was not only informative, but explained in a way that could easily be replicated at home. So next time you see a Gnocchi dish pop up on my IG feed, you’ll know where the inspiration came from!

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The second cocktail we created was the Pomegranate Passion, and since it was the easier of the two, I gave this one a go. This cocktail had a sweet flavor profile with featured flavors of Pomegranate and Smoked Pears, and Secondary Flavors of Lemon, Vanilla and Caramel. Now, I’m no mix master by any means and I definitely have never “muddled” anything in my life, but I think I did a pretty good job with putting this together! If nothing else, I was at least entertaining to watch while making my best attempt at this creation. The dishes that were paired with the Pomegranate Passion included a Roasted Beet and Poached Pear salad with pistachio and blue cheese, and well as warm Beignets served with a Jeptha Creed bourbon and bacon anglaise. You guys…..these Beignets!!! Oh My!!! My mouth is literally watering just thinking about them! So darn good!

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Overall, we had such a great experience. Neither Nathan, nor I, have ever taken a cooking or cocktail class before so we didn’t really know what to expect….but it’s safe to say, it exceeded any expectations! We love this unique date-night idea as a way to enjoy a fun evening with your partner (or even by yourself…trust me, you’ll make plenty of friends there!), in an un-conventional and playful way. The public event is this Thursday, February 14 from 6 - 8 pm. Tickets are $40/individual and $70/couple and can be purchased HERE.

If you attend, please mention Sam and Nate Blog and we would love to hear about your experience. What is your favorite “un-conventional” date you have been on? We would love to know in the comments below! Happy week of LOVE and thank you so much for reading!

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VANILLA BUTTER MELT AWAY COOKIES

I recently made these Vanilla Butter Melt Away Cookies for a Galentines event I attended, and they were a huge hit!  They have a perfectly crunchy outside and soft, melt in your mouth center.  Plus the homemade icing gives a nice little extra touch of sweetness!  I made the icing in varying shades of pink, which I thought would be cute for our get together and also added some festive sprinkles... because who doesn’t love cute heart shaped sprinkles?!? These cookies are perfect to bring to your own Galentines or Valentine’s Day party but would also be great for a wedding shower, baby shower, or honestly .... anytime!! Whatever the occasion, these cookies are sure to be a hit!! Enjoy! 

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 2 Cups Margarine

  • 1/2 Cup sugar

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 4 Cups flour

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

FOR THE ICING:

  • 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar

  • 2 Tbls. butter

  • 2 Tbls. heavy cream

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Red food coloring

WHAT TO DO

DOUGH:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat

  2. Cream margarine, sugar, and salt together

  3. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, stir

  4. Slowly blend in flour

  5. Roll dough into marble size balls and place on baking sheet

  6. Make thumbprint in dough where the icing will go

  7. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes

ICING:

  1. Mix all ingredients together with a fork until smooth and free of clumps

  2. Add food coloring until you reach desired color

  3. Once cookie have cooled completely, fill each thumbprint with icing

  4. Top with sprinkles (not necessary, but more festive!!)

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PHOTOGRAPHY| Jenny Hansen Lane