Bourbon Chat with a Kentucky Rising Star Mixologist

Susie Hoyt is a beverage director at The Silver Dollar, a legendary bar in Louisville, that’s a popular stop for the Whiskey-loving visitors to Kentucky. She’s also a great mixologist that’s proved herself many times, including being named a Rising Stars Mixologist by

We chatted with Susie about Bourbon and her favourite coktails – she even shared a recipe for one, so read on!

Source: The Silver Dollar / Photo by Fred Minnick

Susie, how do you pick the right Bourbon?

"It really depends if you're looking to mix Bourbon in a cocktail or sip on it neat or on the rocks. If you want to drink it neat, you're looking for something that isn't too high in alcohol, most likely in the 110 or lower range. The exception to this rule is if you're planning to add some water to it to open it up.

When choosing the best Bourbon for cocktails you need the higher proof for backbone so your spirit stands up in the cocktail in terms of dilution, and for this you're generally looking for 100 proof or higher."

How do you convince someone who has never had Bourbon (such as a stubborn Scotch drinker), to give it a try?

There are a lot of Bourbons with a drier or almost savory flavor that would be great for a Scotch drinker to try. Elijah Craig 12 year or the Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 year are great examples of these. It's important to note that a lot of the dryness comes from the time spent in the barrel as well.

Do you ever pair Bourbon with food? Can you reveal your favourite combinations?

In general, we recommend Bourbon as either an aperitif or digestif, but we want our guests to enjoy Bourbon any way that they want to. One thing to note is that high proof spirits do not pair well with spicy foods, and tend to cause the spicy flavors to expand in your mouth.

Certain cocktails can go very nicely with food. The best style to go with is light and refreshing so you allow the dish to be the focus and the cocktail to complement.

What’s your favourite Bourbon cocktail?

It's so hard to choose a favorite, but I really love The Gold Rush, because it's so simple and so good, which is the style of cocktails that we like to focus on at The Silver Dollar.

The Gold Rush cocktail recipe

Source: The Silver Dollar / Photo by Andrew HyslopIt’s a modern classic from T.J. Segal of Milk and Honey. You will need: 2 oz (60 ml) Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond, .75 oz (22 ml) Honey syrup, 3 lemon eighths.

Muddle lemons in tin; add honey syrup and Bourbon. Shake and pour in an old fashioned glass over 3 KD ice cubes. So good!

Bourbon Review named The Silver Dollar one of the 55 Best Bourbon Bars in America for its selection of hand-crafted cocktails and “nearly 100 Bourbons, as well as traditional Southern cuisine and classic country music”. It’s also listed among Thrillist’s 22 Best Whiskey Bars in America.

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