Indulge in the Art of Mixology and culinary delights at The Hope Farm in Fairhope

Lifestyle Editor
Posted 6/14/23

There is nothing better than a great cocktail and food, but sometimes you want more out of your night out. The Hope Farm in Fairhope can add a little education to your night out. When The Barn at The …

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Indulge in the Art of Mixology and culinary delights at The Hope Farm in Fairhope


There is nothing better than a great cocktail and food, but sometimes you want more out of your night out. The Hope Farm in Fairhope can add a little education to your night out.

When The Barn at The Hope Farm (THF) opened earlier this year, it gave Executive Chef Adam Stephens, General Manager and Wine Director Will Jones and other key staff a space to curate hands-on experiences, tastings and wine dinners.

The Art of Mixology

June's Art of Mixology class focused on Old Forester bourbon and whiskey and featured a lineup of cocktails that showcased the variety of Old Forester spirits. My husband Mike and I had the opportunity to attend and experience it firsthand.

Upon arrival, we were seated and served a welcome cocktail. The clarified bourbon milk punch called "Kentucky Clarity" was a light and refreshing way to start the evening.

On our table for two, we had a menu card to help us keep track of our drinks, along with two small glasses per place setting. One glass held Old Forester 1910 "Old Fine Whiskey" and the other had Old Forester 1920 "Prohibition Style."

Once all the students had arrived, Assistant General Manager Raleigh Swan welcomed everyone and introduced the first cocktail with insights into its creation and the flavors to expect. Then he invited everyone to line up and enjoy the opening snack, a well-curated charcuterie board. While everyone indulged in the snacks, Swan introduced the Old Forester 1910 and encouraged everyone to savor it.

Throughout the evening, Swan shared the history of Old Forester, how it started and the broader context of spirit-making in the U.S. His extensive knowledge made even someone like me, who doesn't usually drink whiskey or bourbon, feel well-informed.

The second cocktail of the evening, "New York Sour," became my personal favorite on the first sips. Swan enlightened us about the cocktail's origins dating back to the 1860s. It featured lemon juice, Old Forester smoked cinnamon bitters and a cabernet sauvignon floater. It was delicious and disappeared quickly.

Chef Stephens described the main dish of the evening, a dry-aged steak over a mole sauce with roasted peach chutney, which complemented the New York Sour.

Everyone in attendance had the opportunity to get hands-on and learn to make a "Smoked Old Fashion" behind the bar. Having never made — or smoked — a cocktail, I eagerly embraced the chance.

Step by step, I was guided through the process that included a lesson on how to properly stir the drink. After topping the glass with a wooden lid, adding a pinch of wood chips and applying a torch, the glass filled with smoke. The cocktail was perfection, if I do say so myself.

Following the Old Fashion demonstration, Swan introduced the Old Forester 1920 "Prohibition Style" and raffled off a small special bottle provided by the Old Forester rep. To conclude the two-hour event, guests could choose between having a pour of Old Forester "Birthday Bourbon," The Hope Farm Satsumacello or an espresso martini to enjoy with a small dessert tart. The entire evening was delightful and more enjoyable than just a typical dinner for two.

The attendees included couples and groups of gentlemen having a night out. They hailed from Gulf Shores to Fairhope. The couple sitting in front of us drove up from Gulf Shores and it was their third or fourth THF mixology class. They said that all the classes they had attended were fun and worthwhile, despite the drive.

At the end of class, all attendees received Old Forester old fashion glasses as gifts. Some guests left, while others stayed and moved to the main restaurant. We moved out to the Back 40 Garden Patio to finish our espresso martinis and enjoy the beautiful evening.

Even though I am not a bourbon or whiskey drinker typically, I enjoyed all the cocktails and even enjoyed experiencing the flavors of the straight spirits. If you are looking for a fun date night or evening with friends, I would suggest checking out The Hope Farm event Calendar.

Each month, The Hope Farm offers a variety of programming across the entire property that the whole family can enjoy. Check out some of the regular programs coming up as well as some events to keep an eye out for later in June.

Farm Stand

Each Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests are welcome to the Back 40 Garden Patio where they can purchase freshly baked bread, starter plants, homemade preserves, hot sauces and syrups.

Live Music

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday guests are welcome to enjoy weekly live entertainment from a variety of artists including Corey Rezner, Mike Estep Duo, Stephen Sylvester and more. Visit for the live music schedule.

Pinks & Pasta

Every Wednesday night, the food and wine teams collaborate to create a paired pasta dinner.

Sunday Supper Series

The Sunday Supper Series embodies The Hope Farm's original goal of creating a comfortable gathering place. The Hope Farm team creates an elevated version of nostalgic home-cooked meals. June's menu features an elevated Italian dinner with elevated favorites like fried mozzarella with Italian salsa verde and pesto rosso, handmade lasagna and tiramisu. Tickets are $75 per person (including tax and gratuity) and can be reserved at

Father's Day Bourbon Flights and Ribs – Friday, June 16 through Sunday, June 19 (during dinner service).

The Hope Farm will offer bourbon flights all weekend long during dinner service. Each flight is $35 and includes Weller Antique 107, Weller Special Reserve and Blanton's Single Barrel. Available while supplies last, guests can also order a half ($16) or full ($30) rack of ribs.

Beer Dinner with Fairhope Brewing – Tuesday, June 20, 6-9 p.m.

The Hope Farm will team up with Fairhope Brewing to host the first beer dinner of the year. Chef Adam Stephens has curated a five-course dinner paired with Fairhope Brewing beer pairings. Guests will also have an opportunity to sample an exclusive Chestnut Mushroom Porter collaboration beer featuring The Hope Farm's home-grown chestnut mushrooms.