Bourbon has a long and rich history that dates back to 1775.
It was invented in Kentucky, but it is currently manufactured throughout the whole United States. Bourbon gets its particular flavor by maturing the spirit in an oak barrel that has been charred on the inside. This whiskey has a rich amber color and a distinctively robust and aromatic flavor.
The United States government has strict guidelines for what can be labeled as bourbon. It must be manufactured from a grain blend that contains at least 51% maize, has been matured for at least two years, and therefore has no additions other than water. It can only be created in the United States, so if you see “bourbon” on a bottle from somewhere else, it’s not really bourbon—it certainly tastes like it!
Wheated bourbons (which employ wheat instead of rye as one of their key ingredients) and flavored bourbons are among the many varieties of bourbon available today (with flavors such as honey or vanilla added). Each type has its own distinctive qualities and flavors to offer drinkers; nevertheless, due to its high corn content, they all share similar characteristics such as sweetness, smoothness, and warmth when sipped plain or with ice cubes (but avoid mixing them into cocktails because this will ruin their flavor profile).
Bourbon has a wide variety of flavors and can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Bourbon can be sipped straight up, chilled, or mixed into a variety of cocktails. It’s fantastic in classic cocktails like mint juleps and Kentucky mules, as well as more current concoctions like Manhattans and old fashioned versions. The wide variety of flavors available in bourbons—smoky, fruity, floral—means that there’s something for everyone.
It’s rich, caramelized flavor is unmistakable. It’s a mark of distinction that only years of patience and aging can also provide. In fact, it’s the law: bourbon must be kept for at least two years in charred oak barrels before being branded “bourbon.” The laws also demand that at least 51 percent of the grain blend used to manufacture bourbon must be maize, which gives it its particular sweetness and smoothness. Bourbon is often created by hand in small amounts following procedures passed down through generations of distillers.
Bourbon is a versatile spirit that can be used in cocktails, mixed drinks, and even straight up.
Bourbon is a versatile spirit that works well in cocktails, mixed drinks, and even on its own. It’s also been around since 1789, albeit it was formerly known as “bourbon whiskey” before the Bourbon County Commission changed it in 1964. Bourbon is created from a grain blend that must contain at least 51% corn and is matured in charred white oak barrels. Bourbon’s distinctive appearance comes from the aging process; it starts off clear, then gradually turns amber, then reddish-brown.
Bourbon is most commonly associated with Kentucky, where the bulk of bourbon is now produced (despite the majority of bourbon drinkers live in California), however it can be produced anywhere in the United States. Look for the “straight” classification on the label to see if your favorite brand of bourbon is worth buying again. This signifies it has been aged for at least two years and contains no additives like caramel color or other sweets.
Bourbon is becoming more and more popular, and is now enjoyed by all types of drinkers.
Many consumers who weren’t previously big whiskey drinkers have switched to bourbon in recent years. Bourbon is typically consumed neat or with a cube or two of ice. In other words, bourbon is often consumed in its natural state, with little to no change. Bourbon is known as “America’s Native Spirit” since it can only be produced in the United States. It’s no surprise that this tasty beverage has become so popular so quickly—it dates back to the 1700s and 1800s, when Kentucky was still a frontier state.
The American Revolutionary War had just ended, and people were making their way west to Kentucky. They discovered a lot of maize and very little wheat when they arrived in Kentucky. They adapted by learning how to distill corn into spirits, which led them down the road to bourbon whiskey production. They honed their technique throughout time until they arrived at the sweet, smokey flavor we all know today.
Today’s bourbon guide is one of the most comprehensive studies of the spirit available, maybe even more so than most of the best-selling bourbon publications. This whiskey directory includes ratings for each particular bourbon variation, as well as information about distilleries, bourbon-specific recipes, a professional whisky tester interview, and much more. Take a look and have fun!