Lately, bourbon has been calling my name. I don’t know what it is, but my tastes have taken a liking to it. I think it began when Mr. Foodie and I went to Talula’s Garden for dinner last fall, and I had a mixed drink that had a maple bourbon in it. It was a chilly night and that thing just made my insides all toasty.
But what is bourbon? My rudimentary knowledge was basically this: “Bourbon is like whiskey. … Right?” So, I decided to dig a little deeper and find out more about the drink that has been warming my heart through the winter.
I learned that bourbon is a form of whiskey but it is a very specific type of whiskey. At the most basic level, bourbon is made with grains, mostly corn, and water. To be more specific though, look to the government. There are actually standards that a drink must meet to qualify as bourbon by law. The following is a screenshot from Jim Beam’s website:
Who knew that bourbon was an all-American drink? Pretty cool. Also, if you are in Kentucky then you can actually tour the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. I might go ahead and add this to my own personal travel to-do list. It sounds fun!
Bourbons are also distinguished based on how it is bottled. Single barrel bourbon is bourbon that is bottled all from one single barrel. Small batch bourbon is bourbon that is bottled after the contents of multiple barrels are mixed together. And remember, nothing gets added to it or else it does not qualify as bourbon. Because bourbon is pure without any added sugars or things that we can’t pronounce, it is only 80-90 calories an ounce.
Like other drinks, bourbons are judged each year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. The descriptions that the professional judges give the bourbons are quite amazing. They are so detailed and full of flavors that I would never be able to pick up on. The top bourbons get the designation as “Gold Outstanding” and in 2013 the winners were as follows: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, Jim Beam Black Bourbon Whiskey 8 YO, Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon 10 YO Whiskey, and Lidl UK Western Gold Bourbon Whiskey 6 YO.
So cheers to bourbon! An all-American drink. 🙂