Know Thy Distilled Spirit

ScotchinWhiskeyGlass

Well if you are drinking bourbon, and you damn well better be, then we know you are enjoying a whisk(e)y. We all know that whisk(e)y is a distilled grain spirit and in the case of bourbon, that grain is mostly corn. At least 51% corn to be considered a bourbon. Obviously it can be more, but never less than 51% as required by the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (27 C.F.R. 5). Bourbon can only be produced in the United States (For a review of what a bourbon is, please read the Bourbon Basics article posted on this site)

So we know Bourbon is made of corn. But do you know what other popular spirits are made from? How about scotch, rum or vodka? Well, you’re in luck. Despite my affinity for bourbon, I also know a little about other spirits as well. Let The Bourboneer impart some knowledge.

Vodka – Main ingredient: Just about anything. Ingredients like potatoes, rice, sorghum, sugar and even grains like wheat and corn are regularly used. Vodka is distilled so many times the ethanol level is usually around 95% until it is cut with water prior to bottling. All flavor is distilled out and the spirit is not aged therefore leaving a bland characterless offering.

Rum  – Main ingredient: Sugar cane (molasses).

Sugarcane-A-Brief

Scotch  – Main ingredient: Barley but also other cereal grains.

Irish Whiskey – Main ingredient: Barley but also other cereal grains.

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Canadian Whisky – Main ingredient: Rye and Corn

rye

corn

Tequila – Main ingredient: Agave plant (blue)

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Gin – Main ingredient: Juniper berries

juniper

BrandyMain ingredient: Various fruit depending on type desired (ie., peach, apple)

fruit

CognacMain ingredient: Grapes

SherryMain ingredient: Wine fortified with grape spirit

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So there is a brief overview, not comprehensive of course, but a guide so to speak for the next occasion you partake in your favorite distilled spirit. However, when you pride yourself in drinking the world’s finest spirit, bourbon, then at least 51% corn is all you need to know.

– The Bourboneer

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Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Angel’s Envy KSBW (finished in port wine barrels), 43.3 ABV or 86.6 proof (NAS) Louisville Spirits Group, Louisville, KY.

Bourbon Man’s Ballads

Dean Martin

There are numerous songs written about bourbon or with bourbon as a major theme in the lyrics. Most of them reside in the Country genre, oddly enough. Bourbon in Kentucky by Dierks Bentley, The Best of Me by Brantley Gilbert, Alcohol by Brad Paisley, Whiskey’d Up by Jason Aldean and The Bartender by Blake Shelton are several I can recall off the top of my head. I think there is even one Brad Paisley song, Perfect Storm, that mentions single barreled bourbon on ice! Good on ya’ Brad. Clearly you’re an educated bourbon drinker. Maybe even a Bouboneer☺. I am not sure what all these bourbon songs say about the state of country music and their individual livers, but I know I enjoy listening.

But country music isn’t the only genre that croons about the delicious brown water. Janis Joplin sang about it in 1975 in What Good can Drinkin’ Do. The Killers used bourbon in the title of their song, Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf and Kid Rock even sings about it in his song, Johnny Cash. The list truly goes on and on. Obviously bourbon makes people want to be creative and write. I, as the Bourboneer,  couldn’t agree more. However, for me personally, there are few songs specifically that touch off my desire to have a drink. The first, is a classic from George Thorogood. Of course I am referring to my college anthem, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One beer. The second is a lesser known tune sung by the Wrinkle Neck Mules called 17 Miles of Bourbon. The lyrics tell the story of the May 2000 Wild Turkey distillery fire where 17,000 barrels of flaming bourbon burnt down portions of the distillery, destroyed the nearby woods, exploded area limestone deposits and contaminated the Kentucky river. This song happens to be one of my favorites. Not just for the sake of the title and story but because it has a bluegrass and rock-a-billy sound to it which I enjoy. It’s different but no less stirring. Lastly and much more recently, Chris Stapleton’s Tennessee Whiskey has spurred my desire to imbibe. Kind of a melancholy offering but what a great song!

wrinkleneck mules

There are songs that make me want to drink bourbon and then there are songs that I enjoy drinking bourbon by. Oh yes, there is a difference, not a huge difference considering I am still consuming a decent amount of bourbon. Semantics I guess you could say. However, when I am sipping bourbon, or to be more precise, when I am sipping two fingers of Blanton’s chilled by a solitary ice cube, my ear tends to favor the more bluesy, piano lounge type of sound. Various tunes from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, add in some Diana Krall and top it off with Norah Jones and you have created my ultimate bourbon drinking atmosphere. No specific songs in particular mind you, well Dean Martin’s version of Pennies from Heaven changed to Bourbon From Heaven certainly sets the tone.  But just low light, those soft voices and the ambient, gentle piano in the background exuding relaxation and chill. To me, I can’t think of a more conducive environment to drink bourbon…can you?

Now that’s what I am talking about!

bourbon bar

 

What’s your favorite bourbon music?

-The Bourboneer

National Bourbon Day!

national bourbon day

About 5 weeks ago our nation celebrated May 4th – Bourbon Independence Day, well me specifically, and today we thankfully celebrate another bourbon holiday:  June 14th, National Bourbon Day. Remember, bourbon is America’s native spirit and 100% an American conception. Understandably, we really don’t need an excuse to enjoy bourbon and it’s patriotic history, but when a day is set aside for such a thing, then we should embrace it wholeheartedly and participate. Agreed? I know I am.

How are you celebrating?

Tonight I have filled my favorite glencairn with Bulleit (10 years old) and a solitary ice cube. As you know Bulleit is the anchor bourbon on my bar, but the 10 year old (limited release) was a special treat from a dear friend. I can’t think of a more appropriate day then National Bourbon Day to imbibe such a remarkable bourbon.

bulleit 10

Today’s national day of recognition comes with not only a sense of celebration but an obligation to honor America’s first responders, specifically the United States Capitol Police. I lift my glass to the two brave Capitol Police officers who, completely out-gunned, advanced and bravely neutralized the threat and saved numerous lives. That was certainly some “high-speed, low drag” kind of shit. God bless you and I pray for your speedy recovery.

“Drinking whiskey may make you worldly, but drinking bourbon makes you American.”

-The Bourboneer

 

Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Bulleit (10 year old) KSBW, 45.6% ABV or 91.2 proof. THe Bulleit Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, Ky.

A Toast to Those Who Have Sacrificed All for this Country


This weekend we remember and celebrate all of the warrior heroes who have given their lives in the service of our country. Never take for granted the freedoms we enjoy. They were bought at a price…a heavy price. 

Take a moment this weekend and honor those who have fallen in the defense of this country. We could never appreciate the things we do today without their sacrifice. 
I honor our heroes today by enjoying a bottle of Evan Williams KSBW. The distiller has taken the liberty of decorating their Evan Williams Black KSBW bottle in patriotic red, white and blue to commemorate Memorial Day weekend. I don’t know about you but it actually tastes a little sweeter in this bottle 😀.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to toast our American heroes!

                         -The Bourboneer

I Wish You a Happy Bourbon Independence Day!

Whiskey and celebration colorful fireworks

Today is May 4th. 53 years ago today, Congress passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 19 (S Con Res 19) making bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States.”  On an earlier post, back in March, I made this date aware to all of the Bourboneers out there and provided a few guidelines on how to celebrate. For the purpose of convenience I reiterated them here:

  1. Get a bottle of your favorite bourbon
  2. Pour it in a glass neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail
  3. And now for the best part...Drink it!
  4. Then share the tiding, “I Wish You A Happy Bourbon Independence Day!” with me on Facebook @thebourboneer and everyone you know. Provide a comment or share a picture of your drink or your method of celebration. Let everyone know you are enjoying Bourbon Independence Day and doing so in style.

A copy of the Resolution is below for you reading pleasure.

United_States_Statutes_at_Large_Volume_78.djvu

And here is my picture of my celebratory bourbon this evening. It happens to be two fingers of Michter’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon and a solitary ice cube. Pretty good, yet very straightforward as bourbons go. Present are the typical vanilla, caramel, corn and oak flavors that define most bourbons with a slight spice note at the finish. Appropriate for such a bourbon occasion as today.

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As The Bourboneer I am asking, rather demanding, you enjoy a bourbon this evening and celebrate the independence of our nation’s distinctive native spirit!

– The Bourboneer

 

Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Michter’s Small Batch KSBW, 45.7% ABV or 91.4 proof (NAS) Michter’s Distillery LLC, Louisville, Ky.