Warm Your Inner Soul With America’s Favorite Whiskey This Autumn

When the air has turned crisp, the days are short, and the evenings have gone cold, the time has arrived to lift one’s spirits in the true American way – Bourbon.

Summertime is meant for enjoying warm weather and delicious BBQs. When autumn rolls around, the weather may or may not be conducive to outdoor frivolities, but it’s certainly conducive for cozying up with a bit of Bourbon.

The Scots have malts, Russians are partial to vodka, and the English will never part with gin, but our prized whiskey was born right here in the U.S., in the hills of Kentucky.

Truly an American drink, Bourbon is more than just tasty alcohol, it’s an ode to the country’s’ history, and a celebration of the enduring American spirit. Bourbon got its start in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in the late 18th century, and rapidly became part of the American experience. Distillers, working legally or otherwise, began developing their own unique brands of the corn-based whiskey, typically named for the owner of the distillery. Hundreds of brands have come and gone across the past centuries, but a few icons still remain popular favorites today – Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.

Bourbon has faded in and out of mainstream popularity over the course of it’s lifespan, but without a doubt it’s making a fierce comeback today. The legendary “sipping whiskey” is trending in watering holes across America and beyond. Bourbon is responsible for raking in $72 billion annually in sales, which outpaces sales of every other liquor, according to Fortune magazine. Canada, Germany and the UK imported a whopping $1.56 billion in 2015.

Naturally, the taste of Bourbon is its main appeal, but there’s something to be said for the experience of drinking it. Images of bourbon cocktails in the hands of America’s favorite film stars and fictional characters are iconic and inspiring. Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby sipped on Mint Juleps and Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot was constantly seen with bottles of Bourbon. Dashing Don Draper, fierce adman of the hit show Mad Men was hardly ever seen not drinking an Old Fashion.

Bourbon is more than a drink or a sip, it’s a representation of the American spirit, and there’s no better time to indulge than in Autumn. Enjoying has never been simpler, with new distilleries popping up every year. Craft distilleries, encouraged by more liberal liquor laws, are strewn across the country, and often partner with bars and restaurants to produce new, signature cocktails.

The bars and restaurants at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and The Gemstone Collection properties are teaming up with their respective local distilleries this autumn, to offer some new twists on America’s favorite whiskey.

Small batch whiskies, top shelf Pappy Van Winkle brand, iconic Maker’s Mark, and everything in between are being used this delicious sipping season. The following are a few examples of the specially crafted cocktails you can expect to find when you visit a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels or The Gemstone Collection property. Enjoy!

The Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV

A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Marking the passing of golf great Arnold Palmer, Stonewall Resort’s bar staff created the “Ambling Arnold”.

Ambling Arnold

2 oz Iced Tea

1 ¾  oz Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon

¾ oz Simple Syrup

¾ oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice


Garnish with fresh sprig of mint and twist of citrus

Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Chicago, IL

A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Eaglewood Maple Manhattan

Classic Makers Mark Bourbon teams with locally produced Sugarbush Maple Syrup for this sophisticated cocktail.

1.5 oz Makers Mark Bourbon Whiskey

.5 oz Danielson’s Sugarbush Maple

A Splash of Dry Vermouth

Garnish with Cherries

Serve Over Ice

Chaminade Resort & Spa, Santa Cruz, CA

A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property

Mixologists at Chaminade Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant, Linwood’s Bar & Grill, utilize Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey in the “Black Pearl’ as it combines Bulleit’s bold spicy characters with the savory sweetness of blackberry puree. Those combined flavors make this the perfect savory spiced fall cocktail.

The Black Pearl

1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon

.5oz Blackberry Puree

½ lime juice

Top with ginger beer

Costa d’Este Resort, Vero Beach, FL

A Gemstone Collection property

Tropical flavors of coconut and fruit make Bourbon Sangria a year-round favorite at Florida’s Costa D’Este, Gloria & Emilio Estefan’s luxury oceanside resort.

Bourbon Sangria

3 Orange Slices

¼ Freshly Sliced Peach

¼ cup Blueberries

0.5 oz. Coconut Simple Syrup

1.5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon

2-3 oz. Pinot Grigio

Splash of Sprite

Coconut Simple Syrup

  1.       In a small saucepan over medium/­low heat, combine 1/2 cup of coconut water with 1 Tbsp. of coconut sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
  2.       Remove from heat and let cool. This will create more simple syrup than required for recipe.

Bourbon Sangria

  1.       Add 2 orange slices cut into quarters and the sliced peach to the bottom of an empty glass (save 3-4 slices of peach for garnish).
  2.       Add 0.5 oz. Coconut Simple Syrup to the same glass and muddle together.
  3.       Add Bulleit Bourbon.
  4.       Add Pinot Grigio.
  5.       Top with ice.
  6.       Shake and Strain.
  7.       Skewer 3 of the blueberries and the remaining orange slice together and place to the side.
  8.       Drop 3-4 slices of peach and remaining blueberries into the sangria.
  9.       Stir lightly.
  10.    Add a splash of sprite.
  11.    Add skewer to garnish with a straw.

12.    Enjoy

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