Bourbon 101: Everything You Need To Know

Lesson 1: It's the All American Whiskey

Although originally named from the powerful dynasty, House of Bourbon, in 1964, Congress declared bourbon “America’s Native Spirit.” That means to be called Bourbon, it must be made in the U.S.

Lesson 2: Bourbon by The Barrel...How It's Made

Woodford Reserve Magazine Shoot

Woodford Reserve Magazine Shoot

The barrel staves that hold this glorious liquor are toasted to bring caramelized sugars out of the wood, fired to evenly charcoal the interior, and then rung together with metal. Lastly, they're plugged up with a top piece of wood called a bung. After the barrels have been used once they can no longer be used for bourbon again, and are often recycled to use for aging Scotch

Lesson 3: If it's a Whiskey, How Is It a Bourbon...The Rules

Bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, begin barrel-aging at no more than 125 proof, and be bottled between 80 and 160 proof.  Unlike those drinking it, bourbon doesn't need to be a certain age. But to be called straight bourbon, it must have sat for at least two years, and it can't have any added flavors or colors. 

Lesson 4: How to Taste

Source: Whiskey Magazine

Source: Whiskey Magazine

Because of its smooth and easy taste bourbon can easily be enjoyed neat.  However if you are looking for a cocktail with some kick, look for a bourbon recipe to indulge!

Lesson 5: Notable Cocktails