Culinary Creations from Lee Initiative Chefs

Celebrate Derby and all things Spring with innovative recipes crafted by Lee Initiative chefs!

Distilled: Exclusive Recipes from Lee Initiative chefs and mixologists:

Pappy's Barrel-Aged Chocolate Cake, Pappy's Old Timer Highball, Pappy's Hot House Flower Gin, & Pappy's Barrel-Aged Espresso Martini

Giving chefs their choice of our Pappy & Company barrel-aged gourmet goodies and letting them craft innovative and unique recipes using them has always been a pipe dream of ours! So when we partnered with a chef we have long admired, both for his culinary achievements and his devotion to his philanthropic endeavors (not to mention just an overall great guy we are honored to call a friend), Edward Lee and chefs and mixologists from the Women Culinary and Spirits Program of his foundation, The Lee Initiative, we were thrilled! Seven chefs created a collection of exciting and creative craft cocktails, unique desserts and more using our Pappy & Company for an experience beyond our wildest imaginations!

As amateur chefs but expert level enjoyers ourselves, we set out to create our signature line of Pappy & Company barrel-aged and bourbon inspired products to be accessible to every level of home to professional chef and versatile enough to be used for everything from breakfast to Pappy Hour. We have found countless ways to use and enjoy them, but it was truly a special treat to see the creativity abound from these chefs!

Enjoy the way Tonya Mays-Cronin used our Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee and our  Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle  for a richly decadent chocolate cake with a brittle topping.  SC Baker whipped up an Old Timer Highball cocktail infused with the flavor from our Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup. Jaz'min Weaver gave us a Hot House Flower Gin cocktail with a kick from our Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce, and Taylor Davis  created the Barrel-Aged Espresso Martini of our dreams using our Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee , Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup and a surprise Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle topper. 

Bravo to these chefs and thank you for your inspired, fun and delicious creations you created specially for us! Check out our bundles featuring these Pappy & Company favorites and more and see what you can come up with!

Barrel-Aged Chocolate Cake

Tonya Mays-Cronin

featuring:Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle & Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee 

Old Timer Highball
SC Baker
Featuring:Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup

Suggested Glassware: Pappy & Company Tall Tumbler Glasses

Hot House Flower

Jaz'min Weaver
Featuring:Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce

Suggested Glassware:

Barrel-Aged Espresso Martini
Taylor Davis

Featuring:Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee, Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee, & Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle 

Suggested Glassware: Signature Keys Nick & Nora

We love seeing how these incredibly creative chefs and mixologists have brought our Pappy & Company products to life!
Louise Van Winkle Breen, Co-Founder

Barrel-Aged Chocolate Cake
by Tonya Mays-Cronin


  • For Cake Layers:
  • 336 grams All Purpose Flour
    605 grams Granulated Sugar
    1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
    1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder 
  • 1.5 teaspoons Salt
    363 grams Buttermilk
    165 grams Canola Oil
    3 Whole eggs at room temp, slightly beaten
    1.5 Teaspoons of vanilla extract
    144 grams of cocoa powder
    12 ounces of freshly brewed Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee

    For Chocolate Buttercream:
  • 230 grams unsalted butter, room temp
    450 grams of powdered sugar
    45 grams of cocoa powder
    4 tablespoons of heavy cream
    2 pinches of salt
    2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • optional topping: Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle

    Recipe Note: Yields 3 - 9 inch cake rounds for a 3 layer cake. 


For Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 330 degrees. 
  2. Spray cake pans with cooking spray and place parchment rounds in the bottom of each cake pan. Set aside.
  3. Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift into a bowl and set aside.
  4. In another bowl mix together buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla.  
  5.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until no clumps exist.  
  6.  Mix your coffee and cocoa together until combined. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
  7. Add your coffee mixture to your batter. 
  8. Divide into your prepared cake pans evenly.  About 650 grams of cake batter per pan. 
  9. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until done. (If you stick a knife in the middle it will come out clean when your cake is done. There may be crumbs but that’s okay as long as it is not wet with batter).

For Buttercream:

  1. With a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. 
  2.  Add powdered sugar, cocoa salt, cream and vanilla.  
  3. Beat on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed until lightened and whipped.  For personal preference, you can add more powder sugar for a thicker consistency or a tablespoon of heavy cream for thinner.  
  4. Ice and assemble. Chop Brittle and sprinkle over top layer. 

Chef Bio:

Tonya is a graduate of Lexington’s Sullivan University and the chef and owner of Kismet in Lexington alongside her husband. Kismet is partnered with the Burl in the Distillery District and serves a street food-esque menu with an Asian Fusion. Tonya and her husband have two daughters who are their biggest food critics.  Her love for both food and her family go hand in hand because some of her best memories being young are with her grandmother in the kitchen.

Old Timer Highball Cocktail 

by SC Baker


1.5oz Maker’s Mark Cask Strength 

.5oz Walnut Liqueur 

.5oz  Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup
1oz Lemon Juice

3 dashes Peach Bitters

Optional garnish: lemon wheel 


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Strain into Pappy & Company Tall Tumbler glasses and garnish with a lemon wheel. 

Chef Bio:

SC Baker has been an active member of the food and beverage hospitality community in Kentucky since 2016. She currently tends bar at Expo in Louisville, is a Spirits Mentee graduate of The LEE Initiative, and is the Vice President of the Kentucky Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. She has a passion for expanding her knowledge of the craft through spirits education, cocktail competitions, community engagement and mentorship, and she holds several spirits certifications, including: WSET in Sake, with Distinction, Executive Bourbon Steward, Stave & Thief Society/Moonshine University, Diploma in Single Malt Whisky, Edinburgh Whisky Academy, Certification in Canadian Whisky, Lush Life Productions in partnership with Hiram Walker, and Award ‘T’ Professionalization in Tequila Culture, El Consejo Regulador del Tequila. 

Hot House Flower Gin

by Jaz'min Weaver


  1. Add ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Pour into Pappy & Company Old Fashioned Glasses

Chef Bio:

Jaz'min Weaver is a metro Detroit Mixtress that runs the bar program at Frame, a dual concept restaurant that does both monthly chef residencies and 5 course tasting menus with beverage pairings. She's been bartending for a decade, with half that time spent at Frame. She fell into bartending after receiving her English Degree at the University of Michigan, when she interviewed the head chef and beverage director of a local prix fixe restaurant and got invited to join the team due to her positive attitude and professionalism. She was a 2022 spirits mentee for The LEE Initiative and later this month will be transitioning into the role of National Brand Ambassador for Bardstown Bourbon Company. 

Barrel-Aged Espresso Martini

by Taylor Davis


3 oz Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup

1 oz  Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee

1 1/2 oz Old Foresters 100
Two dashes Orange bitters 
1 piece of Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Aged Coffee Brittle 


    1. Add all ingredients, except brittle, to shaker.
    2. Pour over ice into Nick & Nora Cocktail Glasses
    3. Garnish with 1 piece of brittle.

    Chef Bio:

    Taylor has been in the culinary space officially since 2016. She started in the industry by participating in FCCLA cooking events and attending Early College and Career Center in Elizabethtown, KY. Taylor attended college at Sullivan University and worked at Bellarmine  University, Cheesecake Factory, Butchertown Grocery, Proof on Main. She currently works as a Lead Line-cook at Barn 8.