Winter comes to Woodford Reserve
“They” say do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life. I don't know if that's entirely true, but it felt true enough recently as I made my way down a country road gilded in snow, headed toward Woodford Reserve. My “work” ahead was to spend the day with people passionate about what they do. A group of bartenders was distillery-bound as well, there to see firsthand how bourbon is made. They'd won the trip as part of Woodford's Manhattan Experience competition, and would get to watch master distiller Chris Morris demonstrate barrel charring as we huddled slightly too close to the barrel, the better to warm our chilly fingers and noses. They'd step from the wintry air into a warehouse heavy with angel's share (heaven must smell like a heated cycled rickhouse in winter, I thought as we made our way among the barrels). They'd go through a tasting of Woodford products – some so new they won't be on the market till February.
For this group of passionate cocktail creators, this was a prize. For me it was a day's work – I was working on a story about Manhattans. And as much as I enjoyed the tasting, as always when I get to try Kentucky's spirit, the best part is surrounding myself with people who also love what they do. Chris Morris is always as enthusiastic about describing his work as he was the first time I saw him do it.
That's what I love about my work with Kentucky Monthly, too – the chance to meet people across the state who love their work. Some run restaurants or stores, some grow things that end up on my plate or in my glass, but they all share a passion for their “job.”
I worked on a completely different kind of story recently, one about research that says Kentucky is among the least happy states in the country. As is human nature, I wanted to counter that, to say I'm happy. As I thought about why that is, I realized that I could trace it to the chance I have nearly every day to be around Kentuckians who live with passion and purpose, a zeal for their work. And as long as it's my job to share their stories, I'm going to be an exception to that research. I'm one happy Kentuckian.