Bourbon is the name which represents the incarnation of American Whiskey. It has survived the temperance movement, war and fierce competition from its rival, the scotch everytime redefining itself and bringing a reformation in the world of whiskey! What started as a way of livelihood for the poor peasants of early America has now become one of the most popular whiskeys in the world.
The bourbon is at least 51% corn, and the rest is made using Rye and barley, and sometimes wheat is also used. The whiskey contains 40% alcohol. Although aging is not mandatory, still almost always aged in charred new oak barrels.
It has a beautiful amber shade and although it is very closely associated with Kentucky, the actual place was never formally documented. In contradiction to the popular belief that it is only made in Kentucky, the bourbon whiskey can be made anywhere anytime!
Interestingly the bourbon doesn’t need to be aged for years to get that perfect whiskey blend. A bourbon that touched a charred new oak for even 45 minutes is legal for selling. Thankfully most of the bourbon is aged for a longer period, at least more than 2 years.
Breif History Of Bourbon
The pre-independence period was a tough time for small farmers and peasants. Some of them from the region of Pennsylvania and Maryland decided to turn their excess grain crop into whiskey just for that extra income, and it was easy to store and transport. Tax hike forced the distillers to move down south in Kentucky where they got the grant to farm corns. Although the primary crop changed, the process remained the same, and after that, there was no looking back for the distilleries.
The earlier bourbons were rough, sturdy and not aged much. They were decanted into casks, shipped, sold and consumed without much fuss. The process of refining the whiskey begun in the 19th century with few colorful personalities introducing some guidelines to follow like 51%-80% of corn should be used with rye, barley or wheat filling the rest. The distill should not be more than 80% abv and the charred white oaks casks not higher than 62.5% abv. Nothing else should be added except water.
Bourbon is best enjoyed neat and in cocktails. Here are the top 10 Bourbon cocktails and their recipes
This cocktail is the forgotten autumnal cousin of the Negroni, the iconic Italian cocktail. The Negroni is smooth and sharp, and the games of bitter and sweet continue between the Campari and vermouth. The gin in Negroni gives it a crisp and lean texture, and when we add bourbon whiskey in place of the gin, the texture becomes rich and fascinating. This combination becomes the boulevardier. The small difference in the preparation creates a stunning experience. The boulevardier was first noted in 1927 but sadly it could not grow against the popularity of the Negroni. So this autumn bid farewell to the scorching summer and embrace the Boulevardier cocktail!
Let us take a look at the ingredients and recipe-
- 1 ounce bourbon whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Orange twist or cherry for garnishing
- 1 ounce Campari
Take a mixing glass and pour the ingredients in it with crushed ice. Stir well for about 20 secs and strain the mix in a cocktail glass. Garnish it with a cherry or the citric juice of the orange peel.
Mint Julep cocktail is the drink for the Derby Day and consumed in bulk across the whole United States. This cocktail is ancient and was invented when things were done slowly and were much labor intensified for more scrupulous processing, and it is still a favorite today! So don’t just keep it reserved for one day while you can enjoy it at every high time!
Let us roll over the ingredients and recipes-
- ¼ ounce of raw sugar syrup
- 8 mint leaves
- 2 ounce of bourbon
- Bitters optional for garnishing or a small mint stem
Jumble the mint and the syrup in a Julep cup and add the bourbon with crushed ice. Stir until the container becomes frosty from outside. Make an igloo-like shape with more crushed ice added on the top, and to garnish you can add the bitter or the mint stem according to your taste.
Improved Iced Coffee
This caffeine-spiked with bourbon was a creation by the boss of The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. in Philadelphia to give jolts of energy to the employees during long shifts. The inception of this brilliant idea was to provide the staff with something unique which they were not used to during office hours thus motivating them to work for longer. So, instead of a hot eye-opener, this chill beverage was introduced which includes the iced coffee mixed with the bourbon whiskey, luxardo maraschino liqueur, cream, Demerara syrup, absinthe, and orange bitters. At first, the maraschino plays its magic but gradually the bourbon takes over, and that is why it becomes ideally the best during working hours!
Enjoy the drink with the ingredients and recipes given below-
- 6 ounces brewed coffee, cooled
- 1 ounce Old Grandad Bonded Bourbon
- 1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
- 1/2 ounce demerara syrup
- 3 dashes absinthe
- 1/2 ounce cream
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- Nutmeg for garnishing (optional)
Add the beverages, syrups, and bitters in a cocktail mixer with ice in it and then shake it for about 15 seconds until it becomes cold . Strain the mix into another container already filled with crushed ice and garnish with nutmeg as desired.
The cocktail is the distant relative of the Bee’s Knees which is another excellent cocktail made of gin, lemon, and honey. The bourbon replaces the gin and comes into being the Gold Rush. The name sounds like a 19th-century classic, but it is more modern. The heavy honey complements best with bourbon and creates an elaborate version of sour whiskey. Bartender T. J. Siegal created it for New York’s Milk & Honey in the mid-2000s.
The ingredients and recipe are as follows-
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
- 3/4 ounce honey syrup
Put the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake for about 10 seconds until it becomes cold. Strain the mix in a double old fashion glass filled with ice.
The Triple Crown is another complex version of the whiskey sour. This cocktail is a blend of bourbon, fresh lemon, and the citrus Amaro. Thanks to the Pamplemousse which is a rich grapefruit liqueur and brings the fruity flavor to the drink.
Let us take a look
- 1 ounce of bourbon
- 3/4 ounce of Pamplemousse
- 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice from a lemon
- Lemon twist for garnishing
- 3/4 ounce of Montenegro Amaro
Add the beverages and the juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake it for about 15 seconds until cold. Strain it into a cocktail coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
The name blushing betty comes from the color of the cocktail added by the pink grapefruit juice. The bourbon adds a certain toasty sweet hymn to the simple juice and offers enormous amount of vitamin C packed in it.
- 1-ounce fresh juice from 1 pink grapefruit
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Grapefruit wedge for garnishing
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour the bourbon and the juice with the simple syrup in it and stir it well for about 20 secs until cold. Strain into a rock glass filled with ice and garnish with the grapefruit wedge if desired