September is National Bourbon Month, folks! Believe it or not, bourbon has a much longer history than that night with your buddies years ago. Its roots can be traced to 19th century Kentucky–although, the story of it’s name is cloudy. While some people believe the name was inspired by Bourbon County, Kentucky, others believe the name came from Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Regardless of its origins, we do know for sure that the spirit has been distilled in the United States since at least the 1850s. Born and bred in this country, Bourbon is America’s Native Spirit. It was declared so in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson (so, yes, it’s official). So official, in fact, that the government has imposed laws on what it means for a spirit to even be considered a true Bourbon:
- Bourbon must be at least 51% corn.
- The only thing that can be added to a Bourbon is water.
- It must be aged in new charred oak barrels.
- A bottle can’t have the label read “Bourbon” if it’s not distilled and aged in the United States. It can’t be “Kentucky Straight Bourbon” unless it’s distilled and aged in Kentucky for at least two years.
- The Bourbon must be distilled at less than 80 proof alcohol by volume.
- It should not have artificial coloring or flavor.
Our friends at Jim Beam sent us a few bottles to celebrate this national holiday, and we concocted our favorite bourbon cocktails. Below, you’ll find 3 easy-to-make recipes!
An all time classic. There’s a reason this is Don Draper’s go-to.
Giant ice cube
1 sugar cube
2 Angostura bitters dashes
2 ounces Bourbon
1 orange peel
- With a dash of water, muddle the sugars and bitters
- Add a large ice cube
- Pour Bourbon and stir
- Twist the orange peel into and around the glass to release its citrusy oils, then run it around the rim so its the first flavor note you taste when you take a sip
- Place the peel into the glass and enjoy
Most people drink this one with Gin…but no one said you couldn’t do it with Bourbon. So we did.
2 oz Bourbon
- Fill a glass with ice
- Squeeze the lime into the glass and drop it in
- Pour the Bourbon into the cup
- Fill to the rim with club soda, stir, and enjoy
It’s hard to go wrong with this one. It’s been around for ages, and with good reason.
2 oz Bourbon
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
- Mix all the ingredients into a the shaker
- Shake and strain into a tumbler with a giant ice cube
All these cocktails are made in under 5 steps and with less than 5 ingredients. Simple enough, no? Go on, celebrate our National Spirit with ease, gentlemen.
Hungry? We’ve got the perfect bourbon and food pairing guide for you.