First female bartender inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fa - WDRB 41 Louisville News

First female bartender inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The first female bartender has been inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

Bourbon experts who have seen Joy Perrine in action at Equus Restaurant and Jack’s Lounge over the last 30 years say she is one of the most influential bartenders of our time.

“I always tell Joy if she lived in New York, she would be heralded as one of the world's greatest bartenders,” Bourbon author Fred Minnick said.  

Perrine has been mixing cocktails for more than 50 years. She grew up on the Jersey Shore and experimented with rum in the Virgin Islands before moving to Louisville in 1978 where she fell in love with bourbon.

“I basically come from bootleggers and rum runners,” Perrine said. “If you’ve seen Boardwalk Empire, my family knew him. The real deal.”

Her guests at Jack’s Lounge are some of the biggest names in bourbon, including Jim Beam’s great grandson and Master Distiller, Fred Noe.

“Joy's bar, I wouldn’t say it’s like Cheers, but when you go in, you feel welcome,” Noe said. “I just hope we never have products she doesn’t like, because I guarantee she will call me straight up and tell me about it. When we started infusing bourbons with flavors, I don’t think she was a huge fan at first.”

Perrine is a pioneer in the industry because she presented bourbon in the form of cocktail to people who never liked it straight. 

“For a very long time, she was the only person in Kentucky who could make a proper Mint Julep,” Minnick said.

The Bourbon Hall of Fame is usually for distillers, but serving mixed drinks and the perfect Mint Julep is how Joy earned a spot as the first female bartender.

You can catch Joy at Jack's Lounge on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

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