June 14 is National Bourbon Day, so the bartenders at Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge have a treat in store. Are you a veteran bourbon lover, or a newcomer to the drink? Whatever your status, join us for the chance to enjoy special bourbon tasting flights and matching menus. We will take you through the delicious bourbon brands on offer at The Westport Club. Furthermore, we’ll introduce you to some of the more unique ways to enjoy a spirit that has been distilled since the 18th century.
How is bourbon made?
Bourbon whisky is a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. Bourbon is produced all over the United States. Most of all, Bourbon has a special association with Kentucky and the American South. The origins of the drink are slightly murky, its history documented in many conflicting claims. According to Kentucky historian Michael Veach, “we may never know who actually invented bourbon, or even who the first Kentucky distiller was”.
The distilling process itself is less contentious. There are six rules that must be adhered to in order for a spirit to be classified as bourbon. The spirit must be:
- Made in the US;
- Aged in new, charred white oak barrels;
- At least 51% corn; with the remainder being rye, wheat or malted barley, in any combination;
- Distilled at less than 160 proof (80% alcohol by volume);
- Entered into a barrel at below 125 proof;
- Bottled at 80 proof or more (40% alcohol by volume).
There is no specified minimum ageing period for bourbon. The exception here is for straight bourbon, for which the minimum ageing period is 2 years. The spirit should be free from artificial colour or flavour.
Interesting bourbon facts
Do you want to impress friends on National Bourbon Day with your knowledge? Of course you do! For starters, try storing away these facts. Bourbon expert Veach says: “The darker the bourbon, the higher the alcohol content.” He also recommends: “For a true taste of its complexities, you should open your mouth while sipping.” Historically, bourbon has been ascribed a variety of medicinal purposes and is often praised as a ‘heart healthy’ alcohol. We recommend taking this type of advice with a grain of salt though, as all alcohol is best enjoyed in moderation.
Ways to drink bourbon
Bourbon can be enjoyed in many simple ways: neat, diluted with water, ‘on the rocks’ (over ice), or mixed with a variety of other beverages such as Coca Cola. In addition, several classic cocktails call for bourbon: Try a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned, a Whiskey Sour or a Mint Julep. Bourbon can also be infused with a range of ingredients to create a unique flavour sensation: For example, our favourite combinations are peaches and bacon. When drinking bourbon, special glasses are not required, although certain shapes enhance the smelling and tasting experience. For this reason, use glasses with wider mouths as they allow you to really take in the scent. Typical bourbon aromas are old wood, vanilla, caramel and matches.
Feeling tempted? Now that your bourbon tastebuds have been tickled, celebrate National Bourbon Day by booking your table at The Westport Club. Our friendly bartenders at Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge can’t wait to share their bourbon knowledge with you. You will be able to share some insider’s secrets, indulge in your favourite bourbon drinks, or perhaps discover a new bourbon brand. Cheers to that!