A look at last year's Bourbon Mixer | Courtesy of Bourbon Mixer

A look at last year’s Bourbon Mixer | Courtesy of Bourbon Mixer

For anyone new to bourbon, it can seem like a daunting task trying to figure out your own preferences and where they align in the broad spectrum of the spirit. Many of us start by mixing it with Coke or ginger ale to get used to the flavor, but as we learn about and taste more and more bourbons, it turns into “on the rocks” and, eventually, just “neat.”

There’s a lot of time and practice between “and Coke” and “neat,” but one way to close that gap is to attend an event like the Bourbon Mixer, where numerous distilleries offer samples of their bourbons — all under one roof.

I consider myself somewhat versed in the ways of whiskey, but even I discover delectable bourbons at these events that I can’t believe I never had before. Case in point: Baker’s (made by Jim Beam), which I tried for the first time at this summer’s Whisky Live. Now it’s one of my favorites.

But back to the Bourbon Mixer, which is a partnership between social groups Whisky Chicks and Bourbon Brotherhood that will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Gillespie downtown. The third annual event will raise funds for Coalition for the Homeless‘ “Rx: Housing Veterans,” a program aimed at assisting Louisville’s homeless veterans.

Maker's Mark and Comfy Cow — a match made in heaven | Courtesy of Bourbon Mixer

Maker’s Mark and Comfy Cow — a match made in heaven | Courtesy of Bourbon Mixer

In addition to tastings from more than a dozen Kentucky distilleries — Angel’s Envy, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, Heaven Hill, Four Roses, Maker’s Mark and Buffalo Trace, to name a few — there will be Southern-inspired food by Jarfi’s, a silent auction featuring rare bottles of bourbon and bourbon experiences, and live music by Tanita Gaines.

We even hear that the folks from Maker’s Mark have become buddies with Comfy Cow, so expect some bourbon floats using salted caramel ice cream.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Gillespie, 421 W. Market St. Tickets are $125, and all proceeds — which organizers assure us are ample because they work hard to keep overhead costs down — go to help homeless veterans.