Michelin Guide US To Partner With Basil Hayden Whiskey For Exclusive Events

Foodies and spirits fans are famously passionate. When the two realms collide, it's nothing short of a party, so Bourbon-loving gourmands, get excited; whiskey maker Basil Hayden has just been named the official American whiskey of the U.S. Michelin Guide. Michelin is putting Basil Hayden in the spotlight as the emblematic American whiskey, refined enough for seasoned fans yet approachable enough for newcomers — much the same role that Michelin Guide serves for intrepid diners. In proper celebratory fashion, the team is kicking off its new partnership in style.

Starting in June, a Basil Hayden and Michelin Guide pop-up "tasting garden" will embark on a rockstar-level tour across the country, popping up in various food festivals in major cities around the United States. According to a press release, the tasting garden will resemble a high-end cocktail bar serving Basil Hayden craft cocktails and hors d'oeuvres inspired by Michelin restaurants. 

The pop-up will start its tour at Chicago's Taste of Randolph festival from June 16-18, then roll into the Cherry Creeks Arts Festival in Denver from July 1-3. From there, the tour will make its way to Kentucky's Bourbon & Beyond festival from September 14-17, followed by the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival from September 21-24. The tour will stretch into the fall months with the New York City Wine & Food Festival from October 12-15 and the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival from November 11. The food and spirits may seem like the stars of the show, but this new partnership was created with a different goal in mind: accessibility.

Cheers to accessibility

As Cara Cornelius of MICHELIN America explains via the press release, "Consumers seek out MICHELIN and Basil Hayden for similar reasons: They want an elevated experience. We know, however, people sometimes assume these experiences are out of reach, kept behind an expensive bill or impossible reservations." 

This new partnership is designed to show shy sommeliers (and, perhaps, jaded longtime fine dining and top-shelf liquor fans) that good food is for everybody. Michelin Guide has also championed accessibility with its Bib Gourmand category, which showcases knockout restaurants with lower price points and a special focus on local favorites. 

Indeed, "accessibility" is written into Basil Hayden's recipe, which is subtler than comparable American whiskeys and features notes of charred oak, vanilla, and caramel. It totes a 40% ABV, slightly lower than other bourbons, for an appealing taste and a smoothness to make it go down easy. Plus, a 750ml bottle runs in the ballpark of $42. For comparison, other small-batch American whiskeys run a much higher price point from around $69.99 to $131.99.

Still, Michelin Guide recognizes Basil Hayden for a reason. VinePair gives the whiskey a 91% rating, and it won Double Gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Looking forward, Basil Hayden will have the opportunity to return the praise and celebrate another spirit maker at Michelin Guide's 2023 ceremonies, where the distillery will be presenting the Michelin Exceptional Cocktail Award to this year's winner.