Treating my PGA Championship hangover with small-batch Kentucky bourbon
Let’s be honest: The PGA Championship is nobody’s favorite major. Before the FedEx Cup, it heralded the effective end of the PGA Tour season. And even now, it is just as likely to be won by a Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, or Y.E. Yang as it is a Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or Vijay Singh.
The 2014 PGA Championship was a real stunner, though. Rory McIlroy proved he doesn’t need a lead of a half-dozen strokes to nail down a major, and Louisville’s oft-maligned Valhalla proved itself once again to be one of the more dramatic venues in American golf.
In short, the PGA Championship produced one of the best highs of the 2014 season, and coming down off of it has left me with a serious hangover.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered the perfect hair of the dog: Kentucky bourbon. In particular, Baker’s and Booker’s, two of the small-batch bourbons produced by Jim Beam.
Baker’s ($42) is a 7-year-old, 107-proof bourbon with a sweet, warm finish. Booker’s ($55) is aged 6-8 years, and is 121-127 proof. It’s oaky and smoky, as you would expect in an unfiltered bourbon straight from the barrel.
Given the high proof of both of these Kentucky nectars, they are not for novices. At the same time, you don’t want to mask their flavors with heavy mixes. A splash of spring water or a slowly-melting ice cube, a light ginger ale, or some muddled mint and a bit of sour mix highlight their small-batch charms.
Sure, we still have the FedEx Cup “playoffs” and The Ryder Cup yet to come. But summer is running away like a mis-read, downhill putt. The glory of the 2014 PGA Championship may be just a memory, but every sip of Baker’s and Booker’s takes me back to Valhalla, if only for a little while.
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