There’s more to bourbon than meets the lips. While synonymous with Kentucky, Bourbon is not just crafted by proud Kentuckians; it can be made anywhere within the United States. The expansion of craft distilleries means that the spirit is being made everywhere from New York to California. The only caveat? It must be created from at least 51% corn and aged in new charred oak barrels. Production and resting proof are regulated, but most importantly, bourbon must be bottled at 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume) or higher.
There are several different types of spirits within the bourbon vernacular: straight whiskey, single barrel bourbon whiskey and small batch bourbon whiskey.
Straight whiskey is not necessarily a bourbon, but it’s a made from at least 51% of any grain. It carries the same proof minimum as bourbon and also needs to be charred in new oak barrels for at least two years, whereas bourbon has no aging requirements.
Single barrel bourbon has only been bottled from one barrel. It’s entirely unique in the sense that each vessel has it’s own temperature and character.
Finally, small batch bourbon whiskey is a term for bourbons made from a few select barrels married together for consistency.
We’ve curated a list of recipes for your responsible bourbon enjoyment:
Remember the Maine
• 2 ounces bourbon (Wild Turkey is a good one for spice & kick)
• 3/4 ounces vermouth
• 2 teaspoon Cherry Heering
• Dash of absinthe
Pour ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and stir “briskly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Bourbon Milk Punch
• 4 parts whole milk
• 2 parts bourbon
• 1/2 part simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water)
• 2 vanilla beans (Madagascar are perfect)
• Whole cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves
In a pot on the stove, scrape two vanilla beans into the milk. Stir over low heat for several minutes. Do not let boil or simmer. Remove the beans. If making cold punch, chill the milk, then combine remaining ingredients over ice in a punch bowl. If making hot punch, combine remaining ingredients over the burner and bring up to desired temperature. Garnish with grated cinnamon, nutmeg and/or cloves.
The Perfect Manhattan
• 2 parts bourbon
• 1 part sweet vermouth
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• Luxardo cherry
Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass and garnish with the cherry.
Perfect Hot Toddy
• 1 part fresh lemon juice
• 1 part honey
• 6 parts water
• Orange peel
• Cinnamon sticks
• Several star anise pods
Combine all ingredients except bourbon in a pot on the stove. Over low heat, stir until honey is integrated and the mixture is hot. Keep over low heat covered, for 20 minutes. Upon serving, add 2 ounces of bourbon to a mug and fill with toddy mixture. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Curated from Esquire.com.