A Peek at the Story of Pinhook Bourbon

Have you ever wondered what you get when you mix a wine sommelier, designer and…pinhook?  Pinhook straight Kentucky bourbon is what you get.

For founders Sean Josephs, Jay Peterson and Charles Fulford, of Pinhook Bourbon, combining spirits and horses was obvious. The three knew they wanted to use their diverse expertise. The consideration of creating a company that aged bourbon was a frankly-not-so-far-off and highly promising twinkle in the friend’s eye.

If horse racing and bourbon drinking are in your blood, then you can stop reading and find yourself some Pinhook bourbon. Otherwise, here is a little bit of background. “To pinhook,” is the professional term used to describe the act (and business) of buying young, high potential race horses, and then reselling the horses when they are ready to be raced. If you’re good, the horses could make it to the Kentucky Derby. Sean and his team connected the dots and saw that the bourbon business isn’t all that different. Much like a successful pinhook, bourbon experts buy young barrels of distilled bourbon and rye whiskey and mature it them themselves.

As each small batch of Pinhook is released it’s named for an up-and-coming thoroughbred horse raised at Bourbon Lane Stables in Kentucky. The flavor profile of every batch is vastly different and exceptionally curated, just as every young horse is. As you collect the bourbon, you can watch its namesake progress through its career.

The brand is redefining experiential relationship building for their consumers, and I wanted in on the action. I was graciously guided through a tasting of Bourbon n’ Rye by Sean. He explained that bourbon whiskey has to be distilled with a majority corn and rye whiskey a majority rye grain. When you’re tasting, recall the difference between cornbread and rye bread; the flavor profiles are vastly different, so why shouldn’t the spirits be? Sean suggested using a straw to drop small dots of water into the whiskey. This will lessen the proof to bring out the most complicated flavors.

I enjoyed using my new skills as I worked through my glass of bourbon and Alex Jump’s cocktail. What did I taste? Well, I’d recommend you pick up some Pinhook bourbon to find out. Oh, and pro tip:  Don’t wait till your horse makes it to the Derby before you crack open your bottle. This is too good to miss out.



1.5 oz Pinhook Bourbon or Rye Whiskey

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

0.5 oz Vanilla Syrup

1 barspoon Orange Marmalade

1 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters


Shake all ingredients well with ice. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass & garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel


Vanilla Syrup:

1000 g simple syrup

4 g vanilla extract


Combine syrup ingredients in a container and store in a refrigerator.


“I named the cocktail after an American champion thoroughbred racehorse that won the U.S. Triple Crown in 1941. Whirlaway was widely known as “Mr. Longtail” because his tail was especially long and thick and it would blow far out behind him during races, flowing dramatically in the wind.” -Alex Jump, Death & Co. Bar Manager