Rocks glasses were swirling bright and early this morning at the grand opening of the Atlanta airport’s latest bar, Atlanta Stillhouse. The newest addition to Concourse T is a collaboration between Jim Beam and food service company Delaware North, featuring a Southern-style pub menu and 31 American whiskeys.
Several airport executives were on hand to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony (ubiquitous oversized scissors in tow). But the man of the hour was seventh-generation master distiller and ambassador of Jim Beam, Fred Noe (he is Jim Beam’s great-grandson).
Noe was all smiles, and had reportedly just enjoyed a bourbon Bloody Mary (made with Jim Beam Devil’s Cut; it’s available on the cocktail menu).
“I’m going to have some long layovers,” Noe joked, “now that I have a watering hole.”
Atlanta Stillhouse does emphasize the Jim Beam brand (offerings range from entry-level flavored varieties like Kentucky Fire, to the top-shelf single barrel for connoisseurs), which includes Basil Hayden and Knob Creek. But about half of the whiskey menu gives a nod to other premium whiskeys such as Bulleit, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, and Elijah Craig.
“This is a great partnership, it gives us a chance to showcase our brands,” Noe says.
Master mixologist of Jim Beam, Philip Raimondo, was also in attendance, discussing his thought process behind the cocktail menu. It features classic-ish recipes that craft cocktail regulars will recognize, served in a fashion that can withstand the high speed and low patience of travelers on the move. Take The BBG, for example—with its bourbon, bitters, and ginger ale, it’s essentially a Horse’s Neck. But the average Joe doesn’t know that, Raimondo says, so he’s calling it a BBG.
Stillhouse staff have been trained on bourbon tastings, Noe and Raimondo say, so drinkers interested in flavor notes and distilling styles should have plenty to discuss. In addition to single pours and cocktails, visitors can order themed whiskey flights, such as Bottled in Bond (a reference to 19th-century era whiskey quality standards), and the Bourbon Trail.