Co-hosted by The Cavalier Hotel and Tarnished Truth Distillery, the first-ever Virginia Bourbon Invitational on Nov. 3 at The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach featured over 50 bourbons from 22 distilleries and paid tribute to Virginia’s rich history of bourbon distillation. Guests were offered unlimited tastings from a commemorative souvenir glass of Virginia’s favorite and new-to-market bourbons along with culinary offerings from six restaurants and live entertainment.
Participating distilleries included Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, Reservoir Distillery, Belmont Farm Distillery, Copper Fox Distillery, Catoctin Creek, Silverback Distillery, A. Smith Bowman Distillery, Belle Isle Moonshine, Dome and Spear Distillery, Copper and Oak Craft Spirits, Ironclad Distillery Co., Filibuster Distillery, Heaven Hill Distillery, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Jos. A. Magnus Distillery, Smooth Ambler Spirits, Elijah Craig, Larceny, Henry McKenna, Seven Stills, Knob Creek and Maker’s Mark.
Tapas-style plates inspired by spirit pairings were served by Becca, Hunt Room, The Cavalier Beach Club, Saltine, Varia and Grain. Saltine prepared a smoked whitefish pate with housemade sour mash crackers while Varia introduced a grilled eggplant and cauliflower caponata crostini in smoked tomato sauce. A Kentucky Mule glazed duck confit with cheddar grits was brought out from the Hunt Room, and applewood smoked pork sliders in Old Cavalier barbecue sauce were provided by Becca.
After sampling bourbons, attendees voted for the People’s Choice award while a panel of judges selected the Best in Show for the best overall bourbon and Best Virginia Bourbon award for Virginia’s best in distilled spirits. Smooth Ambler Contradiction was named winner of the People’s Choice award; Jos. A Magnus was named winner for the Best in Show award; and Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey from KO Distilling received the Best Virginia Bourbon award.