LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The woman responsible for creating bourbon cocktails has not only made it her life's work, but has made it into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the industry.

Joy Perrine has been a fixture at Equus and Jack's Lounge in St. Matthews almost as long as it has been open. 

"I've waited on some of my customers for 30 years. I've waited on them, I've waited on their children, I've waited on their grandchildren," Perrine said.

The New Jersey native was working at a bar in the Virgin Islands, following its Louisville owners back to bourbon country in 1978. "I've been a bartender for 50 plus years. When I first started, there were very few women."

She's been serving up rum and bourbon cocktails since before they were trendy.

"They have flavor profiles that no other alcoholic beverages have," Perrine said. "My palette is a little different from most people. Once I've got a flavor profile in my mouth, that's when I start thinking how I want to incorporate it into a cocktail."

Perrine has created hundreds of bourbon cocktail recipes. The most famous is the Bourbon Ball. "I like to call it my $10,000 cocktail because in the 16 years that we've had the Jack's Lounge side, I know we've sold over $10,000 of this one cocktail."

Perrine's recipes are now featured in the Kentucky bourbon cocktail book. "That was the first cocktail book to use bourbon as a base."

It was such a hit, she recently came out with Volume 2. Still, nothing could have prepared her for the call that came after.

"He goes, 'I'm happy to tell you, you've been inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame this year. Congratulations!' I didn't know what to say. I just said 'are you sure?' He said, 'yes' and then I said, 'oh, wow.' I said 'I'm just glad I'm in it before I'm dead,'" Perrine said.

Perrine and her one-of-a-kind personality is very much alive. She said sitting at home reading doesn't spell retirement. Instead, customers can still catch the connoisseur in her own section of the lounge, serving up her signature cocktails a few nights a week.

The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame was created in 2001.

Perrine's books can be purchased on Amazon and Taste of Kentucky stores.

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