Login | Register nowContact Us
Latest NewsLatest ReleasesSpecial FeaturesBollywood BabesHistory
Asian NewsEvents
Food NewsStartersMain MealsDessertsDrinksRestaurant Guides
Latest NewsAsian Business Rising StarsBusiness of Sport
FootballCricketGolfOlympic GamesTennisMotorSportLiverpool FCManchester UnitedBoxingUS SportsUEFA Euro 2012
Latest NewsDestinations Guide
MusicShowbizHollywood ReleasesFilm News
AsiaEurope InterviewsEntertainmentsLifeStyleSport
Home » Food » Drinks

All about Bourbon

What is bourbon?
Perhaps it's best to start with what bourbon isn't, given how little understood it is. It most certainly isn't Scotch whisky, which can only be produced in Scotland, and it's not whiskey (note the spelling) which most often describes Irish whiskey. To be called bourbon it must be produced in Kentucky (sometimes called a 'straight' bourbon), contain a minimum 40% alcohol by volume and be aged for a minimum of four years. It must be aged in new, white American oak barrels which may or may not have been charred (burnt) on the inside, to bring out the flavours in the barrel. Interestingly, Jack Daniel's isn't a bourbon, because it's not made in Kentucky, but Tennessee.

How is bourbon made?

It's produced from a variety of grains - amongst them rye, corn and wheat. Some bourbons use just one of these grains, to produce a distinct flavour, but the vast majority use a blend of all three. These grains are then fermented, as with other spirits, to produce a 'mash', then distilled, sometimes more than once, to produce the raw, white spirit. This white spirit is the original 'moonshine', but these days all bourbons are then aged in new white American Oak barrels for a minimum of four years.

This may not seem like long compared with Scotch whisky, but Kentucky is very much hotter than Scotland, so it ages much faster. A four-year-old bourbon is equivalent to around a 10-12-year-old Scotch like the Glenmorangie 10-year-old.

What does bourbon taste like?
The original 'moonshine' style of bourbon was a corn whisky, with the corn giving a sharp sweetness and with zero ageing. Rye grains produce a spicy pepperiness while wheat grain flavours lie somewhere between the two. As with most spirits, there's a wide difference in flavours between the many brands available. The majority are a balance of caramel sweetness, vanilla and spices, all derived from the oak barrels they are aged in.

Which brands should I try?
One of the best-selling bourbons in the UK is Jim Beam's White Label (widely available) which is a full-bodied bourbon, great as a base for cocktails. Maker's Mark is also a popular, more premium brand with a smooth palate and good background spice. Wild Turkey is also a big seller in the UK, but with a 50% ABV, it packs a punch. Look out for smaller distilleries including Knob Creek and Buffalo Trace, as well as derivative labels from Jim Beam including the Jim Beam Black Label (aged for eight years) and Green Label (charcoal filtered to add sweetness and take some of the edge off, aged for five years).

What do I do with bourbon?
The best bourbons can be sipped in a weighty flat-bottomed glass, with or without ice. Ice tends to restrict the aromas and flavours though, so experiment with your own preferences. For long drinks, classics include combining with Coca-Cola, or ginger ale for a classic Bourbon Mule. Bourbon cocktails include a Manhattan (bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters, optionally topped with a cherry), Mint Julep (mint, bourbon, sugar and water) or a whisky sour (bourbon, lemon juice, sugar and, optionally, a dash of egg white).

Follow AsiaEurope on Social Media

AsiaEurope Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/asiaeuropegroup

AsiaEurope Twitter - http://twitter.com/asiaeurope

Leave a Reply