When it comes to Kentucky and alcohol, America’s Bluegrass State is known for one thing: bourbon. Ninety five percent of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky and it was declared to be ‘America’s Native Spirit’ in 1964.
Kentucky is so synonymous with bourbon that there are actually more barrels of bourbon than people in Kentucky. In 2012, the Kentucky Distiller’s Association’s total bourbon inventory reached 4.9 million barrels, compared to 4.3 million people living in Kentucky.
On Kentucky’s famous Bourbon Trail, there are eight different distilleries on the Trail, offering visitors a unique taste of Kentucky.
A full list of Kentucky’s distilleries and bourbon produced can be found here.
Whether you’re on a local Lexington bar crawl and looking for a good bourbon bar to experience a true test of Kentucky or you’re a novice looking to get into bourbon, here are a few tips to enjoying it:
- There are two traditional ways to drink bourbon: neat, which means at room temperature with no ice and on the rocks, which means over ice.
- There are many craft cocktails you can enjoy with bourbon including the Mint Julep, Old Fashioned and Manhattan.
- It’s important to read the label on a bottle of bourbon. If you see the phrase ‘straight bourbon’, it means that nothing has been added to the product. Also look for an age statement on the label.
Traditionally, bourbon is aged for two years, but depending on who you talk to, age is just a number and picking an older aged bourbon is just a thing folks do to look cool.
- Most traditional brands of bourbon cost $40 or less unless you’re looking for a collectable brand or hard to find brand, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money to enjoy bourbon.
- In order to properly enjoy your bourbon drinking experience, consider using glasses like this.
The whole experience of drinking bourbon includes taking in the aroma to enhance the experience and the right glass can make the experience perfect. If you’re in a Lexington bar, consider asking for a bourbon glass rather than a shot glass.
- Some bourbon drinkers swear that neat is the only way to drink bourbon, but dilution can be helpful especially with some of the stronger types of bourbon.
Don’t be afraid to throw an ice cube or two in your glass. Rather than getting a blast of spice, diluting bourbon can bring out the sweetness and make the drinking experience more enjoyable.
When it comes to bourbon, Kentuckians have many opinions on drinking it and enjoying the experience is all about finding a flavor and a brand that works for you. If you’re checking out a Lexington bar, try locally produced bourbon.
Many a Lexington bar offers many varieties of bourbon, but if you’re eventually looking to branch out from the local whiskey bar or cocktails bar, many places in America have been recognized for their bourbon.