Bourbon for Breakfast

Outside W.E.T. (and the recently fallen w.e.t. snow)

Video Recipe: Tangled up in Bloom

“Do you want to drink this?”

It’s 9:45am on a Thursday morning, I have a dentist appointment in 15 minutes, and Caroline Johnson (the Bar Manager at West End Tavern) is offering me a bourbon drink she calls “Tangled up in Bloom”.  Mmmmmm…bourbon for breakfast. The new Wheaties.

And yes–although a bit cute with the name–the drink is just as timeless and delicious as the Dylan song.

You want to drink what the bar manager drinks, right? And learn how to make a signature W.E.T. cocktail? Read on.

Where are you from originally? I moved out here from Knoxville, Tennessee, but grew up in Memphis, which I’m really proud of, because I think there’s a lot of heart and soul in Memphis–a lot of good food, good music, good people…just a big culture.

Signature W.E.T. drink style? Bourbon drinks. We definitely have a strong emphasis on being a whiskey bar — bourbon in particular.

How many whiskies do you have? At any time, we have over 100, which includes all types of whiskies–Tennessee, Canadian, Irish, Scotch, Bourbon, etc.

Shelves of Whiskey


Who comes up with the creative drinks you serve here? We all do. The staff takes turns coming up with drinks; it’s very hands-on here, we all take ownership and passion in creating the bar program here.

One of your personal favorite cocktails here? It’s called the Ron Burgundy. We had a contest, and one of our ex-bartenders came up with it. It’s a twist off of a classic Manhattan, kind of based off the movie (Anchorman) and the quote where Veronica Corningstone orders a Manhattan and says “kick the vermouth to the side with a pair of steel-toed boots.” So the drink doesn’t have any vermouth in it, and instead, uses Leopold’s Tart Cherry Liqueur, Angostura bitters, and West End’s own hand-selected Single-Barrel Elmer T. Lee bourbon (one of my favorites).

Best hangover cure? Ice Cream! Definitely.

What about hair of the dog? If there’s football on, sure why not?!

Best way to get a bartender’s attention on a super busy night? Definitely not the dollar-flashing-hand-wave. The best way is making eye contact; the bartender is trained to always be looking out for someone’s eye contact.

Worst customer you’ve had? The worst was not even really a customer at all. It was this woman who came in off the street, who had obviously been over-served (read: completely wasted) or maybe on some kind of pills or something, and she came at me with her fists! She was upset she wasn’t getting served, she was speaking really inappropriately, and she swung at me. But she was totally off her rocker, so I didn’t take it too personally.