I'm not usually a fan of brown liquor. But add some cream and vanilla and a hint of caramel and I'm in.
Blame it on Tina Conte McPherson, of Primo and Mary's Salsa, for getting me hooked on Black Button Distilling's Bespoke Bourbon Cream.
Black Button is a craft distillery (with tasting room) located a stone's throw from Rochester's Public Market and Rohrbach Brewing Company. Its products include gin, vodka, whiskey, bourbon and moonshine (corn whiskey), made in small batches from local grain. It even makes a limited-edition lilac gin, in honor of Rochester's famous lilacs and Lilac Festival.
Black Button sets up shop each month at the Winter Farmers Market at Baltimore Woods Nature Center, in Marcellus. In January, the Black Button display was next door to Primo and Mary's Salsa stand. "Try the bourbon cream... it's so good,'' Tina said, gesturing to her neighbor.
He poured a small sample. It's creamy and sweet (not overly) and rich -- an easy stand-in for Bailey's Irish Cream in coffee and delicious on its own. I had budgeted $20 for market purchases and had to think about spending $33 on a bottle of booze.
"You're worth it,'' I told myself. "Besides,'' I rationalized, "It's local. Or almost local.''
The first time I served the bourbon cream, I poured it in small sipping glasses, like those you'd use for sherry or port, and served it room temperature. Since then, I've been adding ice to the glass, pouring the bourbon cream over the ice and giving it a swirl. It's excellent that way -- an indulgent, adults-only mini milkshake for dessert.
I haven't tried it in coffee yet, but that's just a matter of time. It also would make an excellent "adult" iced coffee or coffee smoothie. For March birthdays and St. Patrick's Day, I've made chocolate cupcakes and frosted them with Bailey's-infused buttercream icing -- there's no reason the bourbon cream liqueur can't stand in for the famous Irish whiskey cream liqueur.
I'm looking forward to a Rochester road trip and visit to Black Button Distilling some day soon. In addition to the Winter Farmers Market at Baltimore Woods, you can find Black Button products at stores like Vinomania and Harbor View Wines and Liquors in Syracuse and Liquor City in DeWitt, according to the distillery website.