We’re spending our money on bourbon and horses—the rest we’re just wasting. In the leadup to Kentucky Derby Day on May 4, Karla Alindahao of Forbes.com bets on 16 bourbons and three ryes chosen by Robert Cate, F&B manager at Hotel Covington in the Bluegrass State.
Cate calls Frankfort, Kentucky–based Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Colonel E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood his No. 1 bourbon, ever: “Bottled in bond like all E.H. Taylor products, this is like subtle fireworks on tongue and caramel gold on the finish.”
A cherry cola rye and some 103-proof human catnip
He’s also taken a fancy to Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey by Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, which won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2015. “This is a hidden gem,” Cate maintains, comparing it to a “spiced cherry cola. Something to really cool you down on a hot day.”
Or how’s about a Fighting Cock? “This is human catnip if I’ve ever tasted it,” Cate says of the 103-proof bourbon, also from Heaven Hill. “Proofy to start, smooth as butter on the finish, and packed with flavor.” As they say in Kentucky, keep your friends close and your bourbon closer.