June 14 is Bourbon Day. So, set aside some time in the day to enjoy a glass of the uniquely American distilled liquor.
Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made from corn and rye or wheat, and aged in charred oak barrels. Although it is usually associated with Kentucky – about 90% of the world’s bourbon is made in the state – bourbon is distilled all over the United States. In fact, for a whiskey to be considered bourbon it must be made in the US, have at least 51% corn and should not contain any artificial flavors or coloring. The higher the percentage of corn, the sweeter the whiskey is.
There is some dispute as to why the whiskey is called bourbon. Some people believe that it comes from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, while others think that the whiskey is named after Bourbon County in Kentucky. The origins of the beverage are equally mysterious. A Baptist minister called Elijah Craig is sometimes credited as being the first person in the US to make bourbon.
A Connoisseur’s Drink
Because of its bold flavors, bourbon is a niche drink – people either love it or hate it. Experts suggest that beginners mix it with water or on the rocks. Many people enjoy bourbon in a cocktail. Some popular bourbon mixed drinks are whiskey sour, old fashioned and mint julep.
How to Celebrate?
- If you have never tasted bourbon, today is the perfect excuse to try it. Have a friend who is knowledgeable about the whiskey help you.
- Have a bourbon tasting party. Ask guests to bring a bottle of bourbon from a specific region or brand and then get around with some good eats and start tasting. Have a rating sheet and have everyone rate the bourbon they taste.
- Like many other liquors, bourbon can be used to flavor many dishes. For instance, you could make a bourbon pecan pie or add some bourbon to your chocolate milkshake.
Did You Know…
…that the oak barrels used to age the whiskey can only be used once? After a batch of bourbon has been aged, the barrels can be used to store other liquors like tequila, scotch or beer, but never bourbon again.