Now generally on our Thirsty Thursday blog feature I like to take you all over the world to find out where some of our favorite or future favorite drinks are created and served, but today we are staying right here in the good old U.S. of A. This patriotic beverage comes straight from the south and is a favorite of many domestic and international spirit lovers–Bourbon.
Bourbon is an American whiskey, which has been distilled in this country since the 18th century. Although when we think of Bourbon we often think of the south, specifically Kentucky, it can be distilled anywhere in the U.S. With that being said 95% of production does take place in Kentucky alone. The history of this grain beverage is, like most alcohol histories, disputed. The most accepted story country wide is that Kentucky Baptist Minister Elijah Craig first aged whiskey in charred oak casks, which inevitably gave the beverage it’s reddish color and unique flavor profile.
More debates lay in where the name Bourbon actually comes from. The word itself is from the French Royal dynasty. Thomas Jefferson named Bourbon County, Kentucky after the family because of the French help during the Revolutionary war. So the real back and forth is whether Bourbon is named after Bourbon county in Kentucky or after Bourbon Street in New Orleans. To me it seems like it would be the former, but hey, who am I to decide history.
According to the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, Bourbon made for U.S. consumption must follow the following guidelines. First it must be produced in the United States. Like I said above it does not have to be made in Kentucky or the South, but it must be in the U.S. Second it must be made from a grain mixture of at leases 51% corn. It cannot be distilled to more than 160 proof or 80% alcohol by volume. It must enter the barrel for aging at no more that 125 proof or 62.5% alcohol by volume. And finally it must be bottled at 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume.
When it comes to Bourbon there is no set time table for how long it must be aged, UNLESS it is being labeled as Straight Bourbon. If it is labeled as Straight Bourbon it must follow the guidelines from above as well as be aged for a minimum of 2 years, and have no added color, flavor or other spirits.
Now you don’t need to travel necessarily to drink Bourbon, but let’s be honest the real culture of the drink was established in Kentucky, so to be a true connoisseur of the beverage it’s time to make your way to the Bluegrass State. For more information on traveling to Kentucky or the American South, please give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment today!