Maker's Mark and Keeneland are two of Kentucky's most iconic traditions. I bet you've noticed that there's always plenty of Maker's Mark at the track, but did you know that these two brands have been paired up since the very beginning? In fact, the very first barrel of Maker's Mark was purchased by Keeneland in the mid-1950s. When Maker's launched their Private Select Barrel Program a few years ago, Keeneland was, once again, their first customer!
Of course, there are always plenty of opportunities to celebrate Maker's Mark at the track. The 2015 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland featured everything from signature Maker's Mark lounge areas to Maker's branded cocktails.
And, then there are the bottles. Since 1997, Maker's Mark has collaborated with Keeneland to produce special collectors' bottles which benefit local charities. These are accompanied by signings at Keeneland, which are quite an event for bourbon lovers. This year's signing will be next Friday, April 13th, to coincide with the Maker's 46 Mile, a popular (G1) horse race. Perhaps the most iconic bottle in the collection is the Empty Bottle, the 2000 edition which was not filled because whisky supply was low at Maker's distillery due to a fire. Even with no bourbon inside, the bottle raised over $200,000 for the Tubby Smith Foundation!
There's even a signature Maker's Mark cocktail at Keeneland, The Keeneland Breeze. It's so citrusy and refreshing: it's 1.5 parts Maker's Mark to 1/2 part Triple Sec, topped with a splash of ginger ale and an orange round garnish.
I ran across these Keeneland Breeze kitchen items at The Keeneland Shop recently. What a fun way to celebrate the racetrack and its signature spirit!
Cheers and happy racing, y'all!