Varanse restaurant in Clifton. | Photo courtesy of Varanese

In the bourbon industry, which is overflowing with colorful personalities, Bernie Lubbers is one among them who’s both naturally and professionally entertaining. Trust me, you don’t want to miss his gig as guest host of the “100+ Proof Bourbon Dinner” at Varanese on Thursday, July 28.

Known as the Whiskey Professor and the brand ambassador for Heaven Hill, his presentation is not only funny, it’s super educational. If school teachers could make all learning as fun as he does, dropout rates would plummet. (To their defense, Bernie gets to talk about booze while they have to teach biology.)

So here’s what’ll happen: The evening begins with a 6:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7.

Throughout the meal Lubbers will talk about whiskeys, how they taste, the industry’s personalities and lots of history—fact and fiction—while guests taste cocktails and a flight of four spirits. Its interactive and it’s fun.

Here’s the evening’s menu:

  • Reception Cocktail, “Peach Julep”
  • Flight: Evan Williams, Bottled-in-Bond (100 proof); Old Fitzgerald, Bottled-in-Bond (100 proof); Pikesville Rye, 110 proof and Sacred Bond Brandy Bottled-in-Bond (100 proof).
  • First Course: Crispy Fried Quail Legs Served over a Peach Waffle with Cayenne Sorghum Glaze and Popcorn Shoots
  • Second Course: Kentucky Limestone Bibb Lettuce Salad With Ancho Buttermilk Dressing, Fried Green Heirloom Tomatoes, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Manchego Cheese
  • Third Course: Entrée Cocktail “Watermelon Fizz”; Bourbon Barrel Smoked St. Louis Style Ribs With a Henry McKenna Carolina BBQ Sauce Served over Bleu Cheese Smashed Red Skin Potatoes and Slow-Braised Collard Greens
  • Fourth Course: Dessert Cocktail “Brandy Alexander”; Southern Fried Apple Pie with Shaved Sharp Cheddar Cheese Served with Country Style Vanilla Ice Cream

If you want to know more about Lubbers, check out his book, “Bourbon Whiskey: Our Native Spirit.”

Cost of for the evening is $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 502-899-9904, emailing, or logging on to