Here we give you all he info you need to know about Bourbon Whiskey. We share our knowledge about the history of the spirit, fun facts and which cocktails you should make with it.
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Bottles we recommend in flavoured Cocktails:
Four Roses, Makers Mark, Jim Beam etc.
Bottles we recommend having neat or in an Old Fashioned:
Four Roses Small Batch, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve
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Everything you wanted to know about the Bourbon
When was it invented?
Exactly like many of the other basis spirits Bourbon's invention if full of rumours and not many facts. One goes that the religious minister Elijah Craig was the first distiller in Kentucky who distilled through oak casks in the early 18oo's. Oak casks are very important making bourbon and are one of the rules in order for it to be called bourbon. Aged in the oak will give the flavour, taste and colour of the spirit.
Where is it from?
Since 1964 Bourbons has to be made in the US. In 1964 Congress declared it "Americas Native Spirit". 95 % of all Bourbons are made in the state Kentucky in the US. Locally the father of the spirit is known to be Jacob Spears who was the first to officially put the term "Bourbon Whiskey" on his products.
What is the base ingredient?
Bourbon Whiskey has to be made from 51 % corn. The rest 49 % being Rye, Wheat and Barley. If you ask a master distiller about what is the most important in the distillation you'll get the answer that the grain and how much love it has received, the yeast strains, the combination of the grain types, the new oak barrels and the storage of the oak barrels.
That answer is given because many of the brands, of course, have the same climate and the same level of equipment. Therefore the taste difference of the products is given for the mentioned reasons.
Which Cocktails are made with this spirit?
The great and well-known classics being Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Whiskey Sour. Those you are probably familiar with. All of them heavy on alcohol and you can definitely taste the flavours of the Bourbon that you use. Other great tasting classics are Mint Julep and Boulevardier.
How to use it in Cocktails?
Bourbon Whiskey should be used in cocktails where you can taste all the flavours and nuances of the spirit. All the classics made with the spirit are not fruity or sweet. You want to be able to taste that it's a Bourbon based cocktail and not a Rum/Vodka based cocktail.
If you are new to whiskey we recommend a Mint Julep or a Whiskey Sour. It's a great way to learn to drink it.
If you are a fan of the spirit then why not make a twist on some classic craft cocktails such as Mule, Fizz or a Daiquiri. You just substitute the base spirit with Bourbon Whiskey. Easy peasy!
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- The name of the spirit is surrounded by many rumours. One goes that it comes from the Bourbon County which is an area in Kentucky. Another one goes that two brothers coming from Cognac in France started selling local Kentucky whiskies to New Orleans citizens. The citizens liked this brandy tasting spirit. The street where the two Tarascan brothers sold the whiskies was named Bourbon street and that's how it got its name.
- The lovely spirit doesn't need to be aged for a specific range of years. However, to be called straight bourbon it must have been aged for at least 2 years and can't have any added colours or flavours added to it. Many rums add caramel etc. for making a sweeter taste and a beautiful colour.
- Bourbon that hasn't been aged is called the white dog. Before it's aged in the new oak barrels the fresh harsh and clear spirit is called the white dog. Some distilleries bottle it and sell it at this early stage. Look for the term White Dog for finding the spirit.
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