It could be the festive Christmas lights or Santa’s snow-chilled cheeks, but at GrogDogBlog that warm, red glow means Maker’s Mark bourbon! The GrogDogs recently attended a wonderful evening of Maker’s Mark cocktails and fellowship with local Maker’s Mark Ambassadors at the County Cork Wine Pub in Eldersburg, Md. World Whiskey Specialist Ryan Lyles (yes, that’s a real job, and I am envious of it) provided a wee taste of Maker’s 46 in a souvenir wax-dipped glass as well as some education about Maker’s 46 and what makes it so special. (Hint: It’s in the barrel. See that nicely charred stave in the photo? It smells amazing!)

GrogDogs at Maker's Mark Ambassadors Event - County Cork Wine Pub, Eldersburg, Md.

Maker’s 46 ages in charred French oak barrels for intensified vanilla and caramel flavors.

While true GrogDogs enjoy just about any spirit that makes a good cocktail, I’ve been a Maker’s Mark Ambassador for many years, and it’s my go-to bourbon for mixing, cooking, or just plain drinking. (Maker’s 46, the longer-aged version, I save for special occasions.)

The County Cork Wine Pub offered a light buffet featuring – what else? – Meatballs in (MM!) Bourbon Sauce and other delicious noshes to accompany the featured Maker’s cocktails: Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Mint Julep, Side Car, Maker’s Mule, Kentucky Coffee, Maker’s (non-egg) Nog, and Maker’s Hot Cider. Here’s one recipe as provided by the excellent County Cork bartender:

Side Car – 1 oz Maker’s Mark, 1/2 oz triple sec, 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Check back for more recipes soon, and in the meantime, enjoy that warm, red glow throughout the holiday season!