HOW TO DRINK BOURBON
Drinking bourbon might be up there with “falling asleep” and “walking” in the “stuff you figured you were already doing right” category. And here’s the good news: You are! If you’re enjoying it, you’re doing it right. However, read on if you’re curious about all the different ways to showcase America’s native spirit.
First, a quick refresher: Bourbon whiskey is made in the United States, and must be distilled from at least 51% corn and aged in new, deeply charred oak barrels. It’s a richly oaky, full-flavored whiskey with flavors like vanilla, caramel, spice, and fruit.
Second, a quick caveat: There are endless serves for bourbon drinkers to geek out about, but it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, you should drink your whiskey however you like it best. Seriously. Add ice. Keep that bottle in the freezer. Mix it with coconut water or Mountain Dew. Life is just too short for worrying about what somebody else thinks about what’s in your glass.
A neat pour can be the best way to get to know a new bourbon. However, if you’re planning to enjoy your bourbon neat, we recommend upgrading from the standard shot glass to something more tulip shaped. That could be a Glencairn glass (what we use when we’re blending), a sherry glass, or even a small white wine glass. A wider base and narrower rim helps funnel aromas to your palate, giving you more bourbon taste.
We also advise starting with your whiskey at room temperature. There’s no shame in enjoying chilled or even frozen spirits, but flavors tend to be bolder at warmer temperatures, which makes smelling and tasting easier.
Another key tip? Don’t rush into things. Take your time to smell the bourbon before diving in. A huge percentage of what we experience as a flavor profile is actually aroma, so don’t shortchange yourself! When you’re ready, take a sip and enjoy the rich flavor of straight bourbon.
All of Barrell Craft Spirits’ bourbons are released at cask strength. We love them that way, because they give you more flavor. But not everybody loves barrel proof whiskey neat. If that’s you, try adding a few drops of water to your glass. Even a small amount can transform your experience of a whiskey, releasing new flavors and taming the alcoholic warmth.
Straight bourbon is great, but there’s just something about a clinking glass that screams happy hour. We love a good bourbon on the rocks as much as anybody. Maybe more, in fact.
If you’re like us, here’s our advice: You deserve better ice. All ice cubes aren’t created equal. The smaller the cube, the more quickly it will melt, diluting your bourbon. Those little cubes your freezer ice maker cranks out will dissolve in a heartbeat. If you want to minimize dilution, we recommend using a large cube. There’s no faster way to make your living room feel like a swanky bar than getting a big ice ball in your glass. Fancy!
Another way to drop the temp of your bourbon without any dilution at all is to keep your glassware in the freezer. We especially love this move in the summer, when a bottle kept at room temperature might be a little too warm to enjoy.
Ready to explore the big, wide world of bourbon cocktails? You’re in luck. Our Single Barrel Program Manager and Assistant Blender Nic Christiansen is an award-winning mixologist. She’s created a ton of fantastic cocktail recipes for our blog, from standbys like Manhattans and mint juleps, to riffs on new classics like the Seagrass Trinidad Sour. All her recipes are developed to showcase Barrell Craft Spirits’ distinctive style of barrel proof, non-chill-filtered bourbons blended for full, rich flavor.
Of course, you can also skip the recipe and mix your bourbon with whatever sounds good. Club soda, cola, lemonade, or ginger ale are all classic one-ingredient mixers, but branching out can be fun too. (Have you ever tried tonic water?)