Got Bourbon on the Brain? $1000 Rare Bourbon Event at Steak 954 | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Cocktails & Spirits

Got Bourbon on the Brain? $1000 Rare Bourbon Event at Steak 954

Bourbon, once a rough-and-tumble spirit, is enjoying a renaissance. Fueled by celebrities and chefs who Tweet pictures of their Pappy Van Winkle stash and their trips to Louisville to pick out a personal barrel to tap, bourbon has quickly become the "it" spirit, with collectors paying dearly for rare experimental and aged bottles.

If you are a serious bourbon aficionado, you might consider breaking the bank for the Bourbon on the Brain tasting event at Steak 954 on May 23 at 7 p.m. The tasting is only open to 25 enthusiasts who will have the opportunity to try at least 17 of the rarest bourbons ever bottled. The price for this evening?

A mind-boggling $1,000, of which 100% of funds raised will support the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Neurology Department to help researchers find a cure for memory disorders. The tickets are also tax-deductible and available at

Wes Henderson, master distiller for Angel's Envy, will be on hand to talk guests through the histories and pedigrees of these rare bourbons, which will be paired with a special menu created for the event by Steak 954's chef Jason Smith and pastry chef Sarah Magoon. The restaurant, by the way, has donated all the food for the event.

Henderson is also bringing a special blend (or two) of Angel's Envy, created especially for the event. This is also an opportunity to try nearly all of the Van Winkle bourbons, a favorite of Anthony Bourdain, Sean Brock, and Mario Batali.

The bourbon list (including a special blend Angel's Envy created solely for "Bourbon on the Brain" is as follows:

1. Jefferson's Ocean (only 250 bottles produced; last bottle sold at auction for $1,000)

2. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Year

3. Willet Family Estate 21 Year Cask Strength - (Old Heaven Hill Distillery)

4. Buffalo Trace Experimental 21st Year (only one barrel made)

5. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Year

6. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon '06, '09, '10, '11, '12

7. Blanton's Special Reserve (Only sold overseas)

8. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 15 Year

9. Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year

10. E.H. Taylor Hand Selected Barrel

11. Maker's Mark 84 Proof (Mistake Bottle)

12. Jim Beam Masterpiece Limited Edition

13. Jefferson's 21 Year-Old Special Release

14. Parker's Heritage Limited Edition

15. Hirsch 20 Year-Old

16. Hillrock Estates (only sold in two states)

17. Bulliet 10 Year-Old

The special Steak 954 menu is:

First course

Truffle lobster mac and cheese croquettes with broccoli rabe puree

Deviled eggs with white sturgeon caviar

Second course

Serrano wrapped honeydew with opal basil

Grilled Van Winkle marinated peaches with seared foie gras and dark chocolate

Duck confit on watermelon with watercress sprouts

Third Course

Smoked salmon with dill crème fraiche on rye

Bourbon barbequed rock shrimp on grit cakes

Smoked New England oysters with Florida corn puree and crispy shallots

Fourth Course

Grilled sea scallops with bourbon and bacon marmalade

Charred dry aged steak with horseradish cream and house made tater tot

Broiled Colorado Lamb lollipop with mint and pomegranate glaze


Double caramelized chocolate panna cotta

Bourbon sabayon with pecan streusel and local black raspberries

Spiced cake doughnut with bacon glaze and banana marmalade

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss

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