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Jackie Zykan: Maitre Liquoriste + Perfumer + Herbalist

By Jackie Zykan

With over 20 years of experience in beverage alcohol, and a love affair with the natural world, I am delighted to share some of Kentucky’s finest distilled spirits alongside fresh, local, and seasonal botanicals.

As temperatures rise, you may find yourself leaning into classic cooling foods such as watermelon, cucumber, or mint. But there’s one lesser known abundantly growing right before your eyes. Foraging for this whimsical flower comes with a fair chance of also finding a good luck token. It’s not a weed. It’s clover. And it’s everywhere.

Featured Kentucky Distillery: Rabbit Hole Distillery

The ever-expanding “NuLu” neighborhood of Louisville houses a homeplace born from one of the bourbon industry’s most fearless entrepreneurial minds. Founder Kaveh Zamanian boldly followed his passion for whiskey in totality. What manifested has become not just an impressive Louisville destination, but an ever-evolving empire that has never lost its roots of creative freedom. While the brand flexes their innovation edges regularly, there is always something for everyone within the four readily available core expressions. The Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon boasts a high rye content and complexity due to the malting process of both the rye and barley content of the mash bill. This “Goldilocks” of the portfolio hits the spot for a bourbon drinker looking for the familiarity of a classic bourbon profile: sweet aromatics, citrus, and of course a touch of lingering spice. Versatile in any cocktail, this bourbon is right at home in this month’s subtly sweet and refreshing feature. 

Featured Kentucky Flora: Trifolium repens (White Clover)

This humble little bloom is so familiar to our lawns that naturally it becomes an overlooked element in the background of summer. Entirely edible and petite in nature, clover is a hot bed for pollinators as well as a work horse when it comes to the condition and structure of soil. Its therapeutic applications are vast, both internally and topically. Tea made from the blooms has a sweet vanilla and honey note, and the plant itself is naturally cooling making it just right for the season.

Kentucky Clover Tea 

1.5 oz Rabbit Hole Distillery Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon 3 oz Mint & White Clover Tea 1 oz Citrus Honey Syrup

Directions: Combine spirit, tea, and syrup in a shaker tin filled with ice. Shake and pour directly into a tall glass. Garnish with citrus peels, mint, and clover blossoms. 

Mocktail Variation: Simply omit the spirit.

Mint & White Clover Tea 

½ c white clover blossoms, stems removed, rinsed 3 sprigs fresh mint (~18 leaves, stems removed) 3 c hot water (not boiling)

Directions: Pour hot water over blossoms and mint in a heat safe vessel.

Allow to steep 3-5 minutes, then strain. Keep refrigerated.

Citrus Honey Syrup 

Peels of one lemon & one orange ½ c granulated sugar ¾ c hot water ¼ c clover honey

Directions: Cover peels in sugar, set in the refrigerator overnight. To prepare syrup next day, stir hot water and honey together, pour over prepared peels and sugar, stir to dissolve. Discard peels. Keep refrigerated.

Special notes about foraging these ingredients 

- Take only what you need, leave plenty for pollinators - Harvest only fresh white blooms, ideally in the morning - Never use ingredients without 100% certainty of identification - Don’t harvest plants which have been treated with chemicals/pesticides/herbicides


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