Arielle and Archer Holley and Elayne at the Chattanooga Choo Choo


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Food & Drink:  Chef Cory Bahr's Ol' Smokey

Food & Drink: Chef Cory Bahr's Ol' Smokey

Chef Cory Bahr Owner of Restaurant Cotton and Nonnas in Monroe, Louisiana

Cocktails with Chef Cory Bahr - The Art of the Ol' Smokey

Who doesn't love a great bourbon cocktail?  I can't think of many a true Southern Lady or Gent who can truthfully answer "no" to that question.  I know that I personally, am a die hard fan of this Old Fashioned variation in particular.  

The Ol' Smokey was created by Chef Cory Bahr, owner of Restaurant Cotton and Nonna in Monroe, Louisiana, as a tribute to his grandfather and childhood memories of the good times they shared at the family's hunting camp.  Chef Bahr reminisces about evenings spent there, the smell of smoke from the wood fire and the smell of whiskey as he would keep the glasses full. He lovingly refers to it as "my childhood in a glass".

The recipe was featured in Southern Living's Bourbon and Bacon cookbook, by Morgan Murphy, along with Chef Bahr's recipe for Bacon, Onion and Bourbon Marmalade.  This is a fantastic cookbook that celebrates all things decadent about two of the South's favorite flavors.  A link to the cookbook is below.  Check it out, you will not be disappointed!

Bacon and bourbon, those are two of the most popular things in cooking today,” said Bahr. “That is a lot of our focus at Cotton. We have 80 plus different labels of bourbon. And bacon is a great ingredient and a great flavoring tool in the kitchen.
— Chef Cory Bahr


1 large ice cube

1 orange peel strip

3 tbsp bourbon

1 tbsp simple syrup

1 tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice

2 dashes of bitters

1 dash of orange bitters

1 or 2 gourmet maraschino cherries

Extras: kitchen torch or lighter, handheld smoker, cherry wood chips, glass cloche or 1-qt. wide-mouth Mason jar

Makes: 1 serving

The Old Smokey After you Remove the Smoker Chef Cory Bahr Restaurant Cotton

Place large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Hold orange peel with tongs; heat peel with kitchen torch or lighter until warm and fragrant. Place peel in glass. Combine bourbon and next 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Stir 6 times, and pour over ice cube. Add cherries. Place cocktail on a flat tray or plate, and cover with glass cloche. Smoke until you can no longer see the cocktail under the cover. Let stand 30 seconds. Place in front of recipient, and remove cover.

Simple Syrup

Boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Makes: 1 cup.

Watch the master at work in the video below:

And to further expound upon the greatness of Cory Bahr, besides being an award-winning chef, restaurateur, Southern culinary ambassador and philanthropist, he is truly just a down-to- earth, all-around great guy.  I just shot him a quick message and asked if I could write this post, to which he immediately replied "Absolutely!!!".

Much can be said about the South, but the phrase Southern Hospitality is alive and well at Cotton.  Chef Cory Bahr fully embodies the definition of "hospitality".  According to Webster's dictionary, it is defined as "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers".  And that, my friends is the ethos that Cory lives by.  

I hope you enjoy making your own Ol' Smokeys, and the next time you are in Monroe, be sure to stop in at Restaurant Cotton and have an original!

Until next time...Godspeed!

Southern Traditions:  The Art of the Thank You Note

Southern Traditions: The Art of the Thank You Note

Celebrate:  The Southern Vintage Dining Table

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