In 2007, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring September as National Bourbon Heritage Month. Of course, bourbon has been around far longer than that and why it took so long to proclaim this clearly obvious need to celebrate I do not know, but politics don’t need discussing when we’re focusing on brownwater. I should note that this blog post is best enjoyed with bourbon, so if you find yourself here reading and empty handed, consider this a good time to pause to go pour yourself a drink.
In honor of America’s native spirit, we’ve put together our top three drinks for Bourbon Heritage Month. These drinks have their own rich stories and have secured their spot in bourbon history. Closing your eyes and taking a sip you can find yourself transported back in time, to a different era, yet, the legacy of these drinks remains steadfast.
History in a Glass
With a lineage that dates back over a century, the old fashioned has endured war and famine, recessions and booms, Y2K, COVID and the movie Coming to America 2 (I’m still not quite over my disappointment). The first mention of an old fashioned was in 1862, though the only whiskey to be found in the original namesake was in the suggestion that detailed it was best served in a whiskey glass. I’d suggest using Bulleit Bourbon or Buffalo Trace for this cocktail.
Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
· 1 cube sugar
· 3 dashes of bitters
· 1 teaspoon water
· 2 ounces good quality bourbon
Add sugar and bitters to your glass, then add water, stirring until the sugar is nearly dissolved. Fill the glass halfway with ice cubes and add bourbon, gently stirring to combine the ingredients. Express an orange peel over the glass, dropping in the peel afterwards. Add a cherry if desired and serve.
There’s a lot of history in this drink, and you can thank sailors in the British Navy during the 1800’s for this timeless classic. These men of the sea would take loads of oranges, lemons, and limes as well as alcohol (like whiskey and bourbon) on their voyages. Citrus helped combat scurvy, and whiskey…well that helped with being thirsty as water wasn’t always the most dependable back in the day. If you’re looking for the perfect bourbon to pair, consider Elijah Craig Small Batch – you won’t be disappointed.
Pro Tip: Add ½ an ounce of egg white before you shake it to tame any tartness from the lemon and add a silky smooth texture to this classic drink.
Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe
· 2 ounces bourbon
· ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
· ½ ounce simple syrup
· Garnish with Angostura bitters
Add bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker (if desired add ½ ounce of egg white at this point for texture/tartness) and shake. Fill the glass halfway with ice cubes and add contents of shaker. Garnish with Angostura bitters.
Simply a classic, the Manhattan oozes that feeling of socialites mingling amidst big city life in the late 19th century. The Manhattan is but one of five cocktails named for a New York City borough. Although it’s traditionally a rye drink, substitute bourbon for a smoother and mellower feel. My preference for bourbon here is Basil Hayden as it’s smooth as silk going down.
Manhattan Cocktail Recipe
· 2 ounces bourbon
· 1 ounce sweet vermouth
· 2 dashes Angostura bitters
· 1 dash orange bitters
· Brandied Cherry Garnish
Add bourbon, vermouth, bitters and ice to a cocktail shaker and shake. Fill the glass with the contents of shaker. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
Stop by the Bourboneur Shop
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