An upcoming whiskey dinner at Austin’s largest hotel might be the ultimate pairing of booze and food. The Fairmont Austin has teamed up with Garrison Brothers Distillery, in the Hill Country, for a six-course feast at the hotel’s fittingly named Garrison Grill.
The dinner marks the start of a boozy partnership between the Fairmont and Garrison Brothers — which created Texas’ first bourbon in 2010 and recently produced a custom bourbon blend for the hotel. It’s now pouring at four of the five bars and restaurants within the Fairmont’s 37-story downtown building.
Fairmont Austin’s beverage manager, Andrew Grenz, didn’t expect he’d ever have a hand in making whiskey when he made a simple R&D inquiry last fall to Garrison, but the question blossomed into a full-blown friendship. He was later able "to tour the grounds, learn how the bourbon is made, taste through select barrels to create a custom blend for the hotel, and take part in the bottling process," according to a news release.
Garrison remains one of the state’s very best whiskey distilleries not just because it makes excellent bourbon. The Hye-located producer does it by controlling every step of the process, from cooking the initial mash to bottling the aged spirit. The key to good Garrison bourbon? The one thing the distillery doesn’t control: the scorching Texas climate. Forcing the barrels to swell and shrink, the heat has major impact on the bourbon’s final flavor.
You’ll learn all about the craft and more at the dinner on May 30, which will feature a Meet the Maker happy hour beforehand where anyone can chat with distillery owner Dan Garrison, as well as Fairmont chef Jason Purcell.
The 6 p.m. dinner will have Garrison bourbon both neat and in cocktails — including one, called Farrah’s Watching, that Grenz created as a spring offering at the hotel. Named "after some memorable decor at the distillery," Farrah’s Watching contains Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon, Lustau "Los Arcos" Amontillado Sherry, corn syrup, lemon juice, and Bitterman’s Orchard Street celery shrub. It’ll be part of the third course.
Tickets aren’t cheap — $150 — but they’ll likely be worth every penny if you’re a bourbon lover curious about how Texas distillers have forged their own versions of the American spirit. Purchase them at the dinner’s Eventbrite page.
Fairmont Austin is located at 101 Red River St. For more information, visit fairmont.com/austin.
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