The Summer Dinner Series kicked off at 82 Queen last Friday, June 28 with a whole lot of bourbon and four courses of Chef Steven Lusby’s finest.

First up was a Ghost Julep, essentially a Bourbon mojito made with a clear Jim Beam’s Jacob’s Ghost Bourbon, which I drank while chatting up marketing director Jonathan Kish and his father Steven Kish, who owns 82 Queen and Lowcountry Bistro.

Before the food could arrive, we were handed another cocktail. Then came a Basil Hayden’s Old Fashioned with a plate of crispy manchego cheese, pimento puree, garden greens, and country ham.

Spirits were high as the second course of duck confit made its way to the table, along with a strong Knob Creek 9 Manhattan. The duck rested atop a bed of toasted rice and was lacquered with bourbon. A tiny pile of collards made it all come together.

At this point my cheeks were getting rosy.

Next up was a Knob Creek Rye Tumbler with simple syrup infused with rosemary and orange and a splash of soda. This was my favorite drink of the evening. It was surprisingly light and had a summery vibe that played nice with the maple-braised pork osso bucco. Boiled peanut grits and rainbow chard lit up my Ohioan tastebuds. I really dug that grits and peanut combo.

For dessert, we indulged in a chocolate sweet potato pie with vanilla bean marshmallow paired with Jim Beam’s version of Honey Bourbon. It’s bourbon for people who don’t like bourbon, sweet and friendly. I didn’t get to take a photo of the dessert because I forgot I had a camera with me. I’m sure the bourbon is to blame.

Our last treat of the night was a glass of Jim Beam’s unreleased maple-infused bourbon. A perfect balance of sweet and  traditional bourbon undertones.

To finish off the evening, we headed downstairs with Steven Kish for some more drinks (!). I ordered a Marker’s Mark and soda, and stumbled off into the night, happy, full, and ready for the next installment in 82 Queen’s Summer Series Dinner the Carolina Brewery Dinner on July 11.

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