Featured, Out & About

Dollymoon: Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

I bet you thought we were done talking about our Dollymoon, huh? Well guess again! We had enough fun to fill a million blog recaps!!! But don’t worry–we’ll just boil the rest down to two more posts.

bottles of Woodford Reserve bourbon

After bidding farewell to Gatlinburg and Dollywood, it was on to Louisville. Along the way, we passed through Bourbon/horse country, which meant we had to make at least one quick stop for a distillery tour.

Woodford Reserve building

We chose to stop in Versailles, Kentucky to check out Woodford Reserve because it was pretty easy to get to while still seeming pretty rural.

Woodford Reserve barrels and chocolate bourbon

Overall, Woodford is a pretty small operation, and we got to see most of it. They were fermenting a chocolate rye while we were there, which smelled amazing. I can’t wait to try some…in five or so years when it’s ready.

Woodford Reserve distillery tour

Past the fermentor tanks were the three stills, which are from Scotland.

Woodford Reserve limestone building and bourbon barrel tracks

We saw that after the spirits work their way through the stills, they are barreled and rolled along a track to the aging warehouse.

barrels of Woodford Reserve bourbon

I think the aging warehouse may have been our favorite part. Just upon walking into the warehouse, you’re overwhelmed by the sweet smell of the aging Bourbon. In a good way.

Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels

bottling bourbon at Woodford Reserve distillery

And after checking out the bottling process, we got to sample some Woodford and have a Bourbon Ball. Thanks Woodford!

free chocolate bourbon ball and shot of Woodford Reserve bourbon

Featured, Swig & Swill

Moonshine Cocktails

moonshine hillbilly arnold palmer cocktail

While we were in Gatlinburg on our Dollymoon, we stopped by the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler to check out the distillery operation and sample some shine. Lemon Drop was one of our favorite flavored moonshines that we tried. If you mix it with iced tea you get a hillbilly Arnold Palmer, which seems like it’s about the perfect simple summer cocktail. We like to add about two shots of the lemon moonshine to a mason jar filled with ice and then fill the rest with tea and a lemon slice. Adding some mint is pretty tasty, too.

moonshine tropicália cocktail

Now if you can’t get to Gatlinburg to pick up some of the flavored Old Smoky Moonshine, you may still be able to find their original moonshine in your area. This stuff is made with 80% corn and comes out at 100 proof. While it definitely has an interesting flavor too it, I was surprised how much the aroma reminded me of Cachaça. I thought I’d try to adapt a recipe and see what happened.

Tropicália Moonshine Punch

1 good chunk of pineapple
3 sprigs of mint
1/2 oz basil lime syrup*
2oz Original Old Smoky Moonshine
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash grapefruit bitters
bottle of Limonata or lemon-lime soda

Add all the ingredients except soda to a mixing glass and muddle, add ice and shake. Strain into an ice filled highball glass and top with soda. Garnish with a lime wheel.

This recipe is a modified version of Primo Avenue Punch from Bitters, and I was pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. The flavor of the moonshine holds up to everything, and it really makes for a nice summer cocktail.

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A Sunday Ritual, Featured

Sesame Pea-Shoot Salad

sesame pea shoot salad from Debbie Carlos

A few days ago, my husband and I got back from a week long holiday in Seattle and Vancouver. It was a belated birthday trip for myself, and using a bunch of miles we practically flew for free. (Travel tip! : If you sign up with a southwest airlines rapid rewards visa card, you will get an enormous amount of miles. Two round trip tickets cost us all of $20 just in fees, and we have enough miles left over for another round trip ticket. SCORE!)

Now that we had all this money saved from not having to pay for airfare, we felt like we could eat wherever and whatever we wanted. AND WE DID. French fare at Le Pichet, pizza at Delancey, Katsu Burger, a seafood dinner that included the best of the best alder wood cooked Copper River salmon, cherry pie a la mode at Twede’s (the diner in Twin Peaks!), chili crab, award winning dimsum, Top Pot donuts, sandwiches at Salumi (twice!) etc etc etc.

So now that we are back and feeling like whales, we are still eating as much as we want as long as it is a plant and falls in the category: salad. I’m usually a pretty healthy eater, so I was really eager to get back to eating lots of green things. A trip to one of my favorite shops, the Green Grocer Chicago, yielded an enormous bunch of pea shoots—one of my favorite greens. Pea shoots have a light grassy, pea flavor and can even be a little sweet. The bunch I got even had little flowers. So pretty! I brought it home, did some online searching, and came up with a recipe for Sesame Pea-Shoot Salad. It was delicious and just what I needed. Pair it with some pan seared fish for a well rounded, healthy, and satisfying dinner. Or top with sticky ribs and donuts for a weird/scary indulgent one.

sesame pea shoot salad by Debbie Carlos

You can get pea shoots at Chinese grocery stores, farmers markets, or finer grocery stores. I can see this totally working for other more conventional greens and lettuces as well.

Sesame Pea-Shoot Salad
adapted from Epicurious

1 large bunch (about 6 cups packed) pea shoots, washed and spun dry
½ cup fresh or frozen and thawed peas
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
½ tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce

1. Whisk together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar and soy sauce in the bottom of a large bowl.
2. Place pea shoots and the peas in bowl and toss until well coated.
3. Plate and enjoy!

Editor’s Note: this post is part of the series “A Sunday Ritual” by guest blogger Debbie Carlos.

Featured, Out & About

Dollymoon: Dollywood & Beyond

Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, TN

Are you ready for our next Dollymoon recap? You look ready! After a couple days in Nashville, it was time to change it up. We headed to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for beautiful mountains, touristy kitsch, and Dollywood! We were staying just outside of Gatlinburg at the Buckhorn Inn.

a Buckhorn Inn cabin in Gatlinburg, TN

We had our own little house with two bedrooms, a jacuzzi, and a deck that overlooked the wooded nature trails on the property.

Buckhorn Inn cabin living room in Gatlinburg, TN

Buckhorn Inn cabin bedrooms in Gatlinburg, TN

the Smoky Mountains cabin view at Gatlinburg's Buckhorn Inn

But we didn’t leave Nashville to soak up some nature, though. We left for Dollywood.

welcome to Dollywood!

funnel cake and owls at Dollywood

Dollywood might have started off as a Silver Dolly City, and it certainly still has the “Craftsman’s Valley” area, but now it has some pretty wild roller coasters including the new Wild Eagle.

Dollywood's Wild Eagle wing roller coaster

wooden roller coaster and pond fountain at Dollywood

Sadly, we missed seeing Dolly (she had visited the weekend before), but we did get to see inside her tour bus (pink and flowers and butterflies everywhere!) and go shopping in “Dolly’s Closet”. Needless to say, Sarah walked away with a pretty snazzy souvenir T-shirt…

Dolly Parton's tour bus and a hot pink souvenir tank top from Dollywood

After long Dollywood days, nothing beats relaxing in a cabin with some sparking wine.

champagne and cowgirl boots in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

Well, nothing beats that except breakfast at Buckhorn Inn. Eggs benedict and cheesy grits!

country benedict breakfast at Tennessee's Buckhorn Inn

And the beautiful views from the main Inn. Those are the great Smoky Mountains, folks.

The Smoky Mountains view from the Buckhorn Inn

porch and walking trail at the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

We took a relaxing walk through their nature trail. They even have a labyrinth! Not as thrilling as Dollywood, but still kinda cool.

stone labyrinth at the Tennessee's Buckhorn Inn

Smoky Mountain trees

On our last day we decided to explore Gatlinburg, which is the gateway to the Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s a crazy kitschy tourist town…with a kind of alpine theme.

sky lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you ever go, make sure you take the skylift. It’s a little scary if you don’t like heights, but the views are worth it.

sky line view of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Crockett Mountain

sunset on the Crockett Mountain in the Smokies

After some nature views, we walked over to the Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery right in downtown and enjoyed some bluegrass music.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler

Tennessee bluegrass band at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler

…and a moonshine tasting. Many of their flavored moonshines are only available in Gatlinburg, so it was pretty cool to be able to try grape, blackberry, lemon drop, pink lemonade, fruit punch, strawberry, and peach moonshine. If you ever come across a jar of their grape or blackberry flavored moonshine, buy one. At least one.

Ole Smoky Moonshine tasting

We were really sad to be leaving the awesome Buckhorn breakfasts, but we had to hit the road for Lousiville! Check back next week for our last recaps of our Dollymoon adventure.

apricot pancakes and bacon at Tennessee's Buckhorn Inn

Shopping Sherpa

Lil Cowpoke

country cowgirl fashion and accessories

{ 1. Carla Barth Painting }  { 2. Lanikai Concert Banjolele }  { 3. Sweet Grass Dress }  { 4. Gold-plated Horse Studs }  { Old West Wingtip Cowgirl Boot }