Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Whiskey in Winter and Opening Day Races at Santa Anita Park

What did you do the day after Christmas? I went to a whiskey tasting and watched horse races at Santa Anita Park! Santa Anita Park held a Whiskey in Winter event in their beautiful chandelier room, coinciding with their opening day races.

Attendees tried half a dozen whiskeys and cocktails around the room and voted for their favorite. The favorite winner will get the cocktail featured at the bar here. I was in a dilemma because my favorite whiskey and my favorite cocktail of the day was different, but since they're featuring the cocktail, I voted for that one.

The whiskey we tasted that day included: Breakers Bourbon, Calumet, Koval, Lexington, Whippersnappers and Whistle Pig.

The winner might surprise you! You may not have even heard of it, since it's a newcomer from Buellton. Yep, that's near Santa Barbara. Ascendant Spirits is Santa Barbara's first distillery and their Breakers Bourbon is worth a taste!

The cocktail was called "Sure Bet", created by Jeremy Lake (Crossroads).

Here's the recipe:
2oz Breaker Bourbon
1/4oz B&B
1/4oz Mandarin Napoleon
Dash Miracle Mile chocolate/chili bitters
Dash 5 by 5 aromatic bitters
Stirred Served on ice in a double old fashioned glass
CA Valencia Orange twist garnish

From the list above, can you tell which whiskey was my favorite neat? Maybe I'm biased because of the name, but I love Whistle Pig's complexity!
Lexington Bourbon and their Spicy Julep
lamb chops and crab cakes were passed around to soak up the whiskey
 Let's go back to Ascendant Spirits for a second. They also make the first caviar lime vodka. Caviar lime? What's that? I hadn't heard of it before either, but they pulled one out (the lime, not the vodka) and opened it up. The flesh of this lime really does look like caviar!

Adequately boozed up, we headed outside for the horse races. Chandelier Room has two levels and you can step out on both and watch the races. The first floor also has a room to place your bets and watch it on the screen.

I could also see where the decked out families were sitting and dining while studying their programs. Last time I was in Santa Anita Park, I was standing in the middle. So that's how the affluent do horse races!

Not drunk enough to risk too much money, I bet a couple bucks on 2-3 races. Came so close, but I lost them all!
But it was definitely more fun watching the race when you have something riding on one of the horses, even if it's only $2. 



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