Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Art of Bourbon

Last night I went to an art show at the "Garage Mahal" -- Art and Invention Gallery -- here in East Nashville. Passing through the front door, I spoke to a woman I recognized from an art event earlier in the day. 

"Be sure to try the Bourbon Balls," she said in parting words. 

Indeed, they were making quite an impression. 

"They're a religious experience," said another woman pontificating over the food table in the workshop area of the gallery. "You eat them and then say, 'Oh, God.'"

Turns out though the Bourbon Balls at Art & Invention actually contained no bourbon. Gallery owner Meg MacFadyen said her friend who had made them realized mid-process that she didn't have any bourbon in the liquor cabinet, so she made them with brandy instead. 

"But if you can't improvise," Meg said, "well, then what else is there." 

It was an apropos statement, I thought, in a place dedicated to improvising with everyday objects to make life more interesting...more poignant...more beautiful. 

Like these amulets, for example, handwrought in silver that I found hanging from little handwritten cards by Kathleen Bearden. 

Star gaze...

Moon bathe...

All the Bourbon Ball talk of the evening was timely (for me anyway) given that I'll be writing a story for work next week about classic Southern candies for the holidays. Today, I made a version of Bourbon Balls from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt and Ted Lee (recipe here). I most liked the addition of cayenne with the sweet sorghum syrup. A touch of heat makes sense in a Southern dessert even if it does have its big moment during the cooler months of the year. 

And I should say, too, that I didn't have any bourbon in my liquor cabinet either...My version? Jack Daniel's Whiskey Balls. 

Listening to: Todd Snider, East Nashville musician who also happened to be checking out the art last night with his artist wife Melita Osheowitz (whose work you can see hanging behind Todd in this video). 

Todd Snider's The Ballad of the Kingsmen

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