Happy Holidays! Today’s Friday Cheers pick is…Bourbon.  Why, because I have a bourbon lover in my home, and it may just be his Christmas gift this year.

Bourbon is a barrel-aged American whiskey distilled from a mash made primarily from corn giving bourbon its sweeter and oh so smooth taste. Bourbon smells wonderful and that’s due to guaiacol, an aromatic oil that gives the liquor its signature smoky flavor. The aromas of bourbon can range from the sweetness of caramel and vanilla to the spiciness of black pepper, clove, and tobacco leaf to the smell of citrus or apple. Although every bourbon is unique like wine, each has its subtle differences.

All bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon. What distinguishes the two are the five rules of bourbon.

  • It must be made in the United States
  • Aging must take place in a new, charred, oak barrel
  • The mash must be at least 51% corn
  • The whiskey cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof
  • Nothing can be added but water and only to lessen the proof when necessary

There are several ways to drink your bourbon: Neat  is direct from the bottle into your glass. Up is chilled with ice and either shaken or stirred. Straight up  means neat and on the rocks is poured over ice. My man enjoys sipping his bourbon either way, and as he says, it all depends on the bourbon. He is generally more inclined to on the rocks with the higher proof bourbons.

A good bottle of bourbon is always an excellent gift to someone who enjoys the finer things in life. Three of Mike’s favorites are: Coopers Craft Barrel Reserve,  Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style, and Henry McKenna Single Barrel 10 year.

Hope you enjoy…cheers!