Bourbon – The American Whiskey

The Second Essential Scary Truth

Although I believe the Founding Fathers drank Madeira, I like idea promulgated by this piece found on (Special thanks to Zola System reader Penny Robinson.)

Down that damn British Whiskey!

American Spirit

Celebrate independence with the pride of Kentucky

Sure. You could celebrate the 4th of July with domestic beer, or mixed drinks that layer in the colors of the flag (it’s a fine excuse to use the remainder of that Blue Curacao that’s been gathering dust). Or, you could break out America’s true native spirit: Bourbon.

Though Congress gave it that title in 1964 in an official decree, bourbon earned its bragging rights long before the government stepped in. The American whiskey-distilling tradition in which bourbon has its roots — introduced on these shores by Irish and Scottish immigrants — stretches back over two centuries, with no less a practitioner than George Washington (whose distillery, established in 1799, has recently been reconstructed and reopened).

But while all bourbons are whiskey, not all whiskeys are bourbon; to get the prized, strictly-regulated moniker, you’ve got to follow a few key rules. A distiller cannot call his whiskey “bourbon” unless it’s:

– Made of at least 51% corn

– Distilled to no more than 160 proof (80 % ABV)

– Aged in charred new oak containers

– Untouched by artificial colors or flavor

Bourbon can techinically come from anywhere in the United States, though its heart will always belong in Kentucky, the only state allowed to indicate its name on the label. If you’re looking to doubly honor the spirit’s roots come the 4th of July, skip the the urge to drink it straight, and proceed directly the Mint Julep.

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