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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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ORAL HISTORY

Joy Perrine


A native of New Jersey, Joy Perrine is from a long line of bootleggers. Alcohol is in her blood. In 1965 she moved to the Virgin Islands, where she got a job behind a bar and started experimenting. It was there that Joy learned about a local tradition of making guava berry rum infusions, a technique she brought with her when she moved to Kentucky in 1978. Once in Bourbon Country, Joy started making bourbon infusions, as well as a variety of innovative cocktails. Eventually, Joy found herself mixing drinks at Louisville’s Equus Restaurant. In 2000 Equus’s chef and owner, Dean Corbett, opened Jack’s Lounge next door and gave Joy free reign. Joy gets ideas for new drinks from cookbooks, unusual ingredients, and her own specific memory of a place or a time. Whatever her inspiration, Joy’s passion for her work can be tasted in every sip. But after more than three decades tending bar at Equus, Joy decided to retire. She may hang up her apron, but she’ll never stop making cocktails.

Date of interview:
2008-01-15 00:00

Interviewer:
Amy Evans

Photographer:
Amy Evans

Download Transcript

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