maandag 1 mei 2023

Bourbon, Rye and Tacos in Bruges

Was I interested in joining the boss of Brown-Forman Belgium (the company that owns brands like Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel’s) for some drinks and bites in Bruges? You bet I was

This weekend I jumped on the train to the other side of the country to visit Bar Ran (cocktailbar) and MAS (restaurant), both owned by Ran Van Ongevalle, member of the well-known ex-Pharmacy family from Knokke. 

For this special event, Bruno, the chef of Bistro Bruut took over the MAS-kitchen for a delicious range of tacos. Ran and his wife Janah, both behind the bar, mixed up delicious drinks based on Woodford Reserve whiskey. 

But first things first. Together with my blogger-buddy Mickael - The Campfire Dram - we met up with the Brown-Forman team at Bar Ran for a quick aperitif. We decided to order several Woodford-based cocktails from the menu, so we could share sips and taste all of them. 

  • Vieux Carré (Woodford Rye, Remy Martin Cognac, Martini Rubino, Benedictine, bitters)
  • Heartbreaker (Woodford Rye, Martini Rubino, Lemon, Cherry Soda)
  • Blinker (Woodford Rye, Grapefruit juice, pomegranate)
  • St. Lawrence (Woodford Bourbon, Maple Syrup, Lemon)
I wonder if the Heartbreaker is linked to Ran’s sister Hannah, who is also known as “Hannah Heartbreaker” in the world of bartending…

After a few great sips, we walked over to MAS. Have you ever seen those long queues outside bars and restaurants in Hollywood movies? Last night this was actually happening at MAS. When the doors opened at 6 pm, people entered the restaurant like a Tsunami-wave. In just a few seconds all seats were taken. Never seen this before in Belgium. 

For this special event, there were three Woodford cocktails on the menu, to accompany the tacos. 
  • Woodford Bourbon, Eucalyptus, Lillet, frozen.
  • Woodford Rye, Roasted Coconut, Cold Brew Milky Oolong, draft.
  • Woodford Bourbon, Jalapeño, Pickle Juice, Ginger-Ale.
But they also had a special range of picklebacks, which we (of course!) also tasted. In case you never had a pickleback, it’s a shot of whiskey together with a shot of brine. In this case, the brines were Jalapeño, red cabbage, lemongrass and chilli or magnolia. Very interesting combinations. 

After this great experience, we returned to Bar Ran, where I discovered one more Woodford drink on the menu… and it was one of my all-time favourites.
  • Sazerac (Remy Martin VSOP Cognac, Woodford Rye, Sugar, Bitters, Absinthe)
Big thank you to Brown-Forman Belgium, to Vincent for the invitation and to Mickael for the great company. This “tacover” was a one-time thing, but I’m sure Ran and his team will offer much more of these special nights. Keep an eye on their socials. 

Disclaimer: All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.

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