Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Exploring Bourbon

Although the Union ended up defeating the Confederacy there are some things about the South that we still enjoy - like bourbon.

Bourbon aka whiskey is a type of distilled alcohol made from grain mash. Yummy. All whiskey is made from a combination of rye, malted rye, barley, malted barley, wheat, and corn. Some are also made with molasses. Bourbon is different than her Scottish (scotch) and Irish (whiskey) cousins as she is made with at least 51% corn mash. Because of this bourbon is also known as corn whiskey (the names are so clever).

It tastes like corn syrup and alcohol. It is usually too sweet for my palate but many people prefer it to a strong smokey scotch. Popular brand name bourbon include: Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey - all from Kentucky. One of my favorites is Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits. Although sweet it has a slightly nutty/vanilla flavor to round it out. I, in fact, enjoy all of their whiskeys even though they are made in the North...

Whiskey is distilled then aged in oak barrels. American corn whiskey, by law, must be aged in new barrels every time. This seems wasteful but coincidentally Irish whiskey must be made in old barrels. So the American makers sell their barrels to the Irish makers and everyone's happy.

Now that you have had a nice little history lesson, here is a fun bourbon cocktail to try.

Custer's Last Stand

You'll need:
1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounces grenadine
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 dashes bitters
Shot glass
Whiskey glass

Pour all ingredients into the shaker. Then add the ice after the ingredients so that it does not water down your beverage. Shake, pour and serve.

*Although the infamous Custer's Last Stand (formally known as the Battle of Little Bighorn) took place about ten years after the Civil War, General George A. Custer was quite active during the Civil War and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg. So this counts!

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