Bourbon has a long and colorful history, dating back to the 18th century. George Washington was known to enjoy a good bourbon, and many of the founding fathers were bourbon fans as well. In fact, bourbon was so popular during this time that it was actually illegal to export it from the United States!
Bourbon’s popularity continued to grow in the 19th century, and by the early 20th century, it had become the most popular type of whiskey in the country. Today, bourbon is still one of the most popular spirits in the world, and there are many different brands and styles to choose from.
Bourbon is made from a mix of grains, which gives it a unique flavor profile that is different from other types of whiskey. It must be distilled to a maximum of 160 proof (80 percent ABV) and aged in charred new oak containers. The whiskey must be bottled at 80 proof or more (40 percent ABV).
There are many different types of bourbon, including wheat bourbon, high-rye bourbon, and bourbon made with a small amount of malt. The mash bill, or the recipe of grains used to make the whiskey, must contain at least 51 percent corn. Bourbon is typically made in Kentucky, and the state has been known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” There are many different cocktails that can be made with bourbon, including the Mint Julep, the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, Bourbon Eggnog, Whiskey Sour, the Libertine, and the Paper Plane. Let’s take a closer look at bourbon whiskey.
What are the different types of bourbon?
As with most alcoholic spirits, there are several types of bourbon whiskey to enjoy. Straight bourbon is a whiskey that has been aged for at least two years and has no added flavors or colors. Blended bourbon is a mixture of straight bourbon and non-straight bourbon. You might also find small-batch bourbon on the shelves, and this is a bourbon that is made in limited quantities using high-quality ingredients. Often bourbon makers will produce a small batch for a special occasion or event.
Single barrel bourbon is similar to other types except that it has been aged in a single barrel. On the other hand, double barrel bourbon goes through a secondary aging process in another barrel after it first ages in the traditional charred American white oak.
Wheated bourbon is whiskey made with wheat instead of rye, and corn whiskey is a bourbon that is made from at least 80 percent corn.
Where did the name come from?
The name “bourbon” is commonly thought to be an homage to Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it is believed that around 95 percent of all bourbon whiskey is produced. There are alternate stories, however, and some suggest that the name came from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is named for the House of Bourbon, a French dynasty that dates back to the thirteenth century.
How is bourbon made?
Once the grains have been selected, the distiller then begins the process of mashing. Mashing is the process of breaking down the starch in the grains into fermentable sugar. This is done by soaking the grains in hot water and then allowing the mixture to cool so that yeast can be added. The yeast will then eat the sugar and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. For the fermentation process, bourbon makers store their base mixture in a vat for from one to two weeks to fully ferment the mixture.
Once fermentation is complete, distillers strain off the liquid from the fermented solids. The mixture is then transferred to large copper stills, where it is heated, and the alcohol is vaporized. The vapor is then captured and cooled. The resulting liquid or distillate is purer and more potent. Most bourbon makers will put the liquid through the distilling process twice.
Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels for at least two years. The barrel aging process imparts the bourbon with its unique flavor profile and color. The time spent in the barrel will also affect the bourbon’s proof. To ensure the proper alcohol content, distillers will usually test and dilute their product with filtered water before or after aging. The final step is the bottling process, where makers add the whiskey to labeled bottles. Once the spirit is bottled, the aging process stops.
Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made from corn. It is typically distilled in Kentucky and is known for its smooth flavor. There are numerous types of bourbons and several cocktails that feature the whiskey. You’ll need to experiment with different brands and types of bourbon to find the one that best suits your taste and preferences.