Bourbon in the Land of Bourbon

So, allow me to first dispel any myths about bourbon in Kentucky. Bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky. Bourbon has to be made in America to be considered a bourbon. With that said, it is undeniably true that the best bourbon comes from Kentucky.

  • Bourbon is made primarily from corn, in fact it must be at least 51% corn to be considered Bourbon.
  • Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels. They cannot be reused. Interestingly, once the barrels are used they are often sent to Scotland to be used in the aging Scotch whisky.
  • Bourbon can never be above 80% alcohol by volume, and must be less than 62.5% alcohol by volume before being aged. Neither of which should pose any problem.

Bourbon is served neat, on the rocks, and in a variety of drinks. Some of the more popular cocktails are:

  • Bourbon and Coke
  • Bourbon and Ginger Ale
  • Old Fashioned
  • Whisky Sour

If you want to seem like a bourbon pro, or stump a bartender when ordering drinks, here are two of the more obscure bourbon drinks.

  • Louisville, Kentucky is the land of the Kentucky Derby and the drink of choice for Louisvillians is the Mint Julep. It is drunk year round but is especially popular during the derby season. The drink is made with sugar, water, mint and bourbon.
  • The next is a bourbon mule. Mules, often seen served in a cold tin can, originated in New York, originally using vodka instead of bourbon, and apbourbon_cocktailpropriately named, “Moscow Mule”. However, people soon found that Ginger Beer, bitters and lime went really well with bourbon, and the bourbon mule was created.

In cities all over the United States craft beer is growing in popularity. Not to be outdone, many enterprising individuals in Kentucky are banking on another growing market: craft distilleries. One limiting growth factor to the industry, however, is that all bourbon is aged, and the best bourbon is aged longer. The market is there. Just like Starbucks proved with coffee, and Stone Brewery proved with craft beer, people are willing to pay a premium for quality consumables.