Sipn on Bourbon? Here's Some Handy Things You Need To Know!
Some Handy Things You Need To Know
Sipn on Bourbon? Here are Some Handy Things You Need To Know!
Despite its inauspicious beginnings, the quality and demand for Bourbon steadily kept improving as distillers discovered barrel aging and people began to demand more. Off late, whiskey fans can't seem to get enough of the delicious, indigenous spirit whose origins are indelibly tied to the story of America. What we now know is that good Bourbon need not be expensive to be good. More aged Bourbon isn't necessarily better in taste or quality. It really depends on you finding its sweet spot somewhere, where it's accessible, affordable, and easy to find.
Sipn and its community of Bourbon enthusiasts will be more than happy to help get actively involved in such discussions, and share recommendations and findings with you as you navigate the world of this underrated spirit.
The rising popularity of this drink, with its iconic flavor, can't be denied. Let's get you started on your journey of familiarising yourself with this drink!
1. Despite being strongly associated with the South, when it comes to Bourbon, its BIRTHPLACE IS NOT KENTUCKY!
The majority will convince themselves and you that true American Bourbon can only be distilled in good ole Kentucky. Well, this can't be further from the truth! The delicious, indigenous spirit, Bourbon, can be made anywhere in America!
The key to its production is simple, and one needs to ensure these rules are followed:
- the mash bill (the materials that brewers use to produce the wort that they then ferment into alcohol) is at least 51 percent corn
- it's put into new charred oak barrels to age at no more than 125 proof
- is distilled at less than 160 proof
- unadulterated by flavorings or colors
- it's at least 80 proof when bottled
2. When it comes to flavor and character, in all honesty... IT'S ALL IN THE BARREL!
Completely opposite to Scotch, very little of Bourbon's flavor and character is derived from the size and shape of the still (where the alcohol is distilled). American Bourbon gets at least 50 percent of its flavor from the wooden barrel it is stored in. The longer the bourbon spends in the barrel, the more oak flavor it is able to absorb and imbibe. The process of breaking down lignin (a natural polymer in the wood) is known as Charring. As alcohol continues breaking down, it begins to create flavor compounds that give Bourbon it's familiar characteristics, such as vanillin, the source of the spirit's creamy vanilla notes. So if you've ever wondered where it is that the distinct caramelly, vanilla spiced notes come from, you know now, the barrel's the thing!
3. Do these barrels serve only one purpose when distilling? Not at all
THEY GET A SECOND LIFE!
It is important to remember that Charred Oak barrels must be brand-new if they're used for bourbon. It is not recommended to re-use or use old barrels when distilling this liquor, so what happens after? Well, rarely does the wood just get chucked once its task is finished, it's usually sent to Scotland, where distilleries there use these old-Bourbon barrels to age scotch.
What's really interesting here is that because the wood can retain traces of bourbon — as much as three to five gallons — it then mixes with the scotch as it ages, adding to the spirit's overall flavor profile, giving it a new twist altogether.
4. When you wonder where this iconic spirit came from, it's safe to say that it was proudly sold as AMERICA'S NATIVE SPIRIT!
While Whiskey is manufactured and distilled world-over, bourbon was declared "America’s Native Spirit” way back when! On May 4 in 1964, Congress adopted a resolution that made bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States.” Though the congressional act was only intended to protect American distillers against foreign competitors, it ended up legitimizing the drink and created an advantage for all Bourbon manufacturers creating this liquor in the United States. As a result? No other place in the world can produce whiskey and label it Bourbon, thus, making it a truly American spirit.
5. Does bourbon pair well with food? Yes, absolutely.
Imagine your favorite tailgating parties and autumn fireside cookouts, with friends and families accompanied with your favorite Bourbon, straight or as a delicious cocktail. The match is truly made in heaven because smokier meats go very well with bourbon.
One would think that it can only find a perfect pairing in the mains? Well, think again, because when dessert rolls around, as many fall-favorite sweets benefit from the vanilla-caramel notes in bourbon. Picture your favorite crème brûlée and pumpkin pies paired with that smooth Kentucky sipper? Absolute bliss. Its sweet and smoky notes are so versatile, that pairing your favorite drink of Bourbon with some delicious food is easier than you can imagine.
Bourbon has a distinct and versatile flavor profile and the Sipn community will be instrumental in helping you gauge how and in which way you can pair the drink. We know most of you are already looking forward to joining this group of like-minded individuals, so you can Get Sipn too!
In the meantime, just enjoy your drink of Bourbon with your family and friends, and rest easy knowing that you now know a lot more than you did before you began reading this piece. Cheers!