By Jake Emen
Bluegrass Sundown is a coffee and vanilla infused bourbon liqueur designed especially to produce a velvety, rich dessert beverage — the Kentucky bourbon coffee. Think of it as the bourbon counterpart to the Irish coffee we all know so well.
If you’re a fan of Irish coffees, hot toddies and everything else in that category — and really, who’s not? — you’ll immediately take to Bluegrass Sundown. While those beverages might be ideal for a cold winter or autumn evening, nobody said you couldn’t enjoy a few in the summer as well, so I was quite excited to break into this bottle and see what it had to offer.
With Bluegrass Sundown, the coffee is already infused with bourbon, so all you need is boiling water and a touch of heavy cream to complete the beverage. If you follow the instructions properly (provided step-by-step on the bottle’s label — see right) and pour yourself up a cup, you might do a double take to see whether or not somebody placed a pint of Guinness in front of you without your realizing it. That’s due to the heavy cream sitting on top of the Bluegrass Sundown and water, mimicking the foamy white head of a Guinness.
What really stands out with Bluegrass Sundown is the texture. It’s silky smooth over the tongue, and it certainly warms you up as you enjoy a cup, making it a fine choice as a chilly evening companion, as might be predicted. It’s also very aromatic, although the sweetness combined with the bourbon and coffee almost gives it a brandy-esque smell straight from the bottle, if you didn’t know what you were investigating.
As you pour the liquor into your cup, it’s actually quite similar in appearance to Kahlua, which is a coffee and rum infusion. However it’s more similar in texture and taste to Baileys, which is of course whiskey and cream.
It’s no secret that both Baileys and Kahlua are great to utilize in many different fashions, including straight up or with ice, and as a part of various cocktails. As such, it’s certainly worth giving Bluegrass Sundown a try on the rocks as well, as I did.
On the rocks, Bluegrass Sundown is a little bit thick and syrupy — it’s definitely beneficial to have that boiling water thin it out when you make a hot coffee. I could still see it being used in similar fashion to Kahlua though, either mixed with milk and drank on the rocks, or used in Black and White Russians and the like.
Bluegrass Sundown is produced by Lyons Spirits, a division of Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co., based out of Lexington, Kentucky. It has a 20% alcohol content by volume, and designed to make 12 by-the-instructions Bluegrass Sundown Kentucky bourbon coffees from the 750 ml bottle.
The recommended retail price for Bluegrass Sundown is $32.33. As it the liqueur is not in widespread distribution yet, you may have to make a trip to Lexington to pick up a bottle. Or you could badger your neighborhood barkeep or premium liquor store into carrying it, whichever strikes you as easier.