Just the other day at work, a group of very charming women asked me if we had any Holiday drinks. I went behind the bar and grabbed our Holiday Spirits menu.
As I returned to the table I perused the list, Ribbon Candy Martini, Terry's Merry Mint, The Grinch, Five Golden Rings, I had to chuckle to myself. When I arrive back at the table the ladies asked what I suggested. While my lips were saying something like the Mistletini is delicious, my mind was thinking , bourbon , on the rocks , splash of water.
Now I started drinking bourbon (moderately) around the time of the first Gulf War. I was feeling patriotic and jumped board from the Canadian whiskeys to a truly American product. I haven't looked back. Let me tell you a little about America's whiskey.
Distilling whiskey was around for hundreds of years before crossing the pond to America. There is much lore about its origins but fact remains, bourbon is an accident. They say necessity is the mother of invention, well the young colonists needed whiskey and seeing how corn was the most abundant grain and oak was the most abundant wood, corn mash and oak barrels came together like thunder and lightning, white lightning, that is.
Sometime in the 18th century distilling was regulated by the federal government as it is in many countries. By law bourbon whiskey must:
- be distilled from at least 51% corn
- be aged in new charred oak barrels
- be barreled at no more than 160 proof (80% alcohol)
- be bottled at no less than 80 proof (40% alcohol)
Straight bourbon may not contain artificial coloring, flavoring or added grain alcohol.
Blended bourbon whiskey may be infused with coloring, added alcohol, or flavoring
Bourbon is a clean (clear) spirit until it hits the aging process.
Aging in charred barrels gives it color and a mild smokey flavor. Over 90 percent of bourbon comes from Kentucky, Tennessee produces a whiskey that qualifies as a bourbon but is charcoal filter for added smoothness. Jack Daniels is a Tennessee whiskey and the leading seller in America, but Kentucky is home of "The Bourbon Trail".
Starting in Lawrenceburg you encounter Four Roses distillery . Travel a little further to Bardstown to sample Heaven Hill Bourbon, next over to Clermont for some Jim Beam. Circle back to Loreto for the famous Makers Mark, back around to Versailles to the home of the "official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby", Woodford Reserve and back to Lawrenceburg for the infamous Wild Turkey.
Now that's a night on the town or actually several towns ! Remember it's important to drink responsibly, so enjoy your Holiday but be safe. And when you've had enough of Merry Mango Surprises try a true American product , bourbon whiskey.