​I Had My First Drink at 36 After I Left the Mormon Church — Personal History

I had my first baby at age 21 and my first drink of alcohol at 36 — and no, that's not a typo. I was born and raised a Mormon and, as part of adherence to my faith, I abstained from alcohol. Entirely. I never touched so much as a drop until several months after I left Mormonism at 36 with my husband and our two sons.

Mormonism is a high-intensity religion (like, even more than SoulCycle), demanding equal parts obedience and belief. Obedience was never the hard part for us, but belief? Over time, that part became impossible.

Leaving the church came with a lot of changes for us and a period of reevaluating rules by which we lived, including rules about drinking.


5 Bourbons You Can Only Buy in Kentucky — Bite-Sized Guide: Louisville

As a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, I often take for granted the vast selection of bourbons available at any time. I live in a bourbon wonderland where even a dive bar may stock 50 different bottles! We're not the biggest market (by a long shot) for many products, but we're treated to limited releases, special bottles reserved by distilleries for their gift shops, and one-of-a-kind barrel selections you can only find at specific shops and bars.

As the rest of the country has caught onto our bourbon obsession, our stock has been shared more widely, leaving less for us. (We're still smarting about overnight queues for Pappy or when Old Forester's Birthday Bourbon hits each fall.) Still, there are at least a handful of only-in-Kentucky bottles.

If you're looking for the perfect souvenir to bring home from Louisville, here are my top five picks, in order from least expensive to blow-your-budget.


Recipe: Sparkling Fruit Jello Mold — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you are skeptical about the magic of gelatin desserts, then this is the best recipe to start with. This stunning, sparkling jewel of a jello mold is simply flavorful sparkling wine set with gelatin and studded with fresh fruit. It will make every guest at your brunch table ooh and ahh in delight. The best part? It tastes incredible — light and fruity, with a tart, balanced sweetness that will surprise even the most ardent jello-salad skeptics.

How do I know? Because this is the dessert that turned me into a jello-mold fanatic in one slice.


Recipe: Berry-Ginger Gin Cocktail — Spring Cocktails

Move over, mint julep — our money is on this refreshing sipper for the win. At the very least, we're predicting a dead heat for the old favorite and this Derby Day maiden.

Before any traditionalists get up in arms about this untried underdog, rest assured: This cocktail is Kentucky-born. It comes to us from Proof Bar at the 21C Hotel in Louisville and it's just the thing for watching the races or just celebrating the fact that spring is finally here.


Recipe: The Ultimate Dessert Manhattan — Unique Cocktail Recipes

(Image credit: Christine Han)

This riff on a Manhattan isn't your run-of-the-mill cocktail. No, it's a special cocktail — one that should be made with care and sipped with some sense of occasion — and not just because of its ingredients, which (we'll say in advance) may require a trip to the liquor store. This is a cocktail with a racy (or quite literally racing) past. You see, this cocktail was named after a Kentucky bookie and a bootlegger by the name of Jack Fry.


How To Make Kentucky Bourbon and Walnut Pie — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

This bourbon-spiked, chocolate and walnut pie (aka we-can't-call-it-Derby-pie pie) may well be the most controversial pie in the history of Kentucky. And controversy — and a lawsuit or two— has made this pie a part of Kentucky history. So eating a piece of this pie, you might say, is like eating a piece of history.

But we'd argue that this pie isn't just famous because of some back and forth over a name. This pie is famous because it's a downright delicious dessert that's easy to whip up and pretty as you please to look at — especially with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream on top. Try it and let us know if you agree.


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