Bar Talk: Basil Hayden for Moody Spring Weather |

Bar Talk: Basil Hayden for Moody Spring Weather

Rose Laudicina
Bar Talk
Courtesy Basil Hayden

Spring in Colorado is a fickle season. One minute it’s 65 and sunny and you can feel those long summer days are finally just around the corner, the next it’s below freezing and dumping snow.

You never know what to expect out of spring, so I find it’s best to have a liquor that can go either way the season swings with you.

One that I’m adding to my liquor cabinet’s spring arsenal is Basil Hayden.

Distilled and bottled in Kentucky as part of Jim Beam’s small-batch collection, this bourbon hits the mark for a few reasons.

Compared with other bourbons in Beam’s small-batch collection, such as Knob Creek which ranges from 90-120 proof, Basil Hayden is a low proof bourbon, clocking in at 80 proof.

A low proof bourbon can sometimes mean a lack of fullness and flavor. In the case of Basil Hayden, the flavor is there from the first sip – vanilla and oak are the predominate flavor notes with the mouthwatering spice coming in secondary – but the finish is light and smooth and the taste does not linger.

With Basil Hayden you get the bourbon whiskey flavor without the bite.

Some might say this is a nice, balanced bourbon fit for those looking for an easy entry into this particular spirit category and don’t want to be overwhelmed by a stronger or sweeter version.

However, because of its taste profile, I think Basil Hayden can please just about anyone and is a perfect bourbon for mixing.

As an added bonus for this bourbon, the bottle design is sleek and timeless. So while, like a book, we should never judge a bottle by its cover, this one gets extra points for looking attractive while on display.

In keeping true to the temperamental spring weather, here are two cocktail recipes for you to choose from depending on which version of spring you encounter in Colorado, both easy to make and featuring Basil Hayden.

The Golden Hour cocktail
Courtesy Basil Hayden

Golden Hour

After time spent outdoors enjoying a warm spring day, this cocktail plus a patio in the sun is a recipe for après success.

Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail)

1 part Basil Hayden’s® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

3/4 part Lillet Blanc

3/4 part Aperol Aperitif

Grapefruit peel


1. Combine ingredients over ice in a mixing glass.

2. Stir thoroughly.

3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass over a large ice cube.

4. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

A Basil Hayden Hot Toddy
Courtesy Basil Hayden

Bourbon Hot Toddy

For the days when spring feels more like the dead of winter and you’re unsure if warmer days are truly ahead, this cocktail will do the trick to elevate your spirit

Ingredients (makes 1 drink)

2 parts Basil Hayden Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

1 part honey

2 lemon wedges

2-3 slices of ginger, peeled

4-5 dashes Angostura bitters

4 parts hot water

Cinnamon stick or grated cinnamon


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the ginger and water and heat until almost boiling.

2. Pour the water into a large mug, straining out the ginger.

3. Add the honey, stirring until it is well dissolved.

4. Squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges.

5. Add the Basil Hayden and bitters, giving it another stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Feel free to add more honey if you like it a little sweeter!

6. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or grated cinnamon.

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