Jeff Johnson (owner of Local) is launching a new Memphis-made bourbon whiskey.
Bars and restaurants across the city will be welcoming a new addition to shelves this season: AM PM, a bourbon whiskey infused with 100 percent fair-trade Arabica coffee beans, Madagascar vanilla, and a touch of pure cane sugar.
Local restaurateur Jeff Johnson (owner of Local and the soon-to-open Parish Grocery) has been developing the coffee-infused bourbon over the past two years and is releasing it across the city in the coming months, scheduling a series of events to introduce people to the product.
“We’re very excited about this,” Johnson says. “I’m going to be doing a lot of tastings.”
Johnson is betting that fans of bourbon and coffee alike will enjoy its robust flavor. AM PM is an easy sipping whiskey; the overall taste is “bourbon-forward,” and the coffee flavor is subtle and almost chocolaty. Though coffee is actually a fruit, Johnson and his team went out of their way to avoid creating a fruity whiskey. Instead, after multiple samplings, they opted for a flavor profile that’s warm and malt-like, rather than too sugary and sweet (as is the case with a lot of flavored bourbons). The result is a smooth, rich, flavorful bourbon that tastes delicious when mixed with coffee-based drinks or paired with a favorite dessert. AM PM also makes for an excellent addition to fall and winter cocktails, warm or cold, or chilled in a tumbler all on its own.
Beyond just its flavor, this coffee-infused bourbon has a lot of Southern personality. Johnson explained that the motto printed on the bottle (”Memphis, Tennessee: Ain’t No Place I’d Rather Be”) is “a nod to the Grateful Dead,” and that everything is distilled and bottled locally. “Even the label is printed in Memphis,” Johnson says.
Whether you’re looking for something to warm you up near the campfire, give you an extra jolt at brunch, or simply liven up your favorite seasonal drinks, AM PM is aiming to be a crowd-pleaser. So far, you can find it at Local and Hi Tone, with more bars and retailers to come. You can also follow @ampmbourbon on Instagram
for the latest.