Bourbon is America’s “native” spirit. Although the distilling techniques and the charred-oak barrel aging are processes developed in the old world, the use of corn in the mash bill was a product of the new world. Legally, for whiskey made with all the process requirements must be distilled in the United States for it to bear the name “bourbon.” It must also be:
- Made from a mash bill of at least 51 percent corn
- Aged in a new, charred oak barrel (no reusing the barrel and calling it bourbon)
- Distilled to no more than 160 proof (80 abv)
- Entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5 abv)
- Bottled at 80 proof or higher
In this episode we focus our favorite “cocktail bourbons” and bourbon cocktails. The Speaking Easy Podcast team also likes to sip bourbon neat or on the rocks, and our favorites for that sort of imbibing are often different than the ones we use in our cocktails. We hope you enjoy the episode and share your favorite bourbon cocktails #tobeingabetterdrinker.
The Most Important Bourbon Cocktails to Know:
- Old Fashioned
- Sazerac (an “Improved” Old Fashioned)
- Julep (a quintessential classic of the American South)
… get to know these and you’ll be able to please just about any whiskey drinker (listen to the podcast for more ideas).
Common Bourbon Terms Glossary:
Bottled in Bond: A term of historical significance that means the bourbon is 100 proof
Straight Bourbon: Bourbon that meets the requirements above, and additionally is aged a minimum of two years and does not have added coloring, flavoring or any other spirit blended with it
Kentucky Straight: Bourbon that meets the above requirements, the requirements for Straight Bourbon, and is distilled in Kentucky
Single Barrel: Self explanatory, the liquid in the bottle was from one barrel, not blended from several barrels
Barrel (or Cask) Proof: Bourbon bottled at the proof at which it was taken from the barrel (often 120 proof or above)… most bourbons are cut either to a specific proof, like those bottled in bond, or to another standard proof for consistency
Another important note: Many bourbons come with age statements, those reflect the youngest barrel used in the blend (if blended), but not necessarily the oldest barrel. Jordan loves Elijah Craig Small Batch 12 year, that has recently dropped its age statement to utilize some younger barrels in the blending process. You can still find bottles with the 12 year label in some liquor stores, but it is disappearing quickly.