My introduction to bourbon began when I was six, watching Cary Grant get force-fed a tumbler full of it in North by Northwest.
Since then, I’ve been intrigued by it, but never much acquainted with it, having spent time developing a taste for smokier, buttery scotch instead.
This is changing, though, because the other week, our friends dropped by for a rainy fireside evening. Friend Jason brought over a delicious Michter’s 10 year Bourbon. We sipped on it straight, and it was kind of Scotchy. It reminded me of Laphroiag, which husband swears by, but which I find to be a little too burny and medicinal. Still, it was tasty and I thought I’d write a little post to inspire and educate.
What is Bourbon?
By law, bourbon must be made in the United States and must be fermented from a mashbill of at least 51% but not more than 80% corn. It must first come off the still at no higher than 160 proof, and entered in wood at not more than 125 proof. It must be stored for at least two years in new, charred new oak barrels. –Michter’s
(It can be make in Kentucky, but does not have to be to be called bourbon.)
Here are some classic ways to enjoy bourbon which I’ve re-named with my favorite Bourbon Movie Moments. Enjoy!
The Library Wall (AKA Straight)
With a nicely flavored bourbon such as the Michter 10 year, simply pour a few fingers into an old-fashioned glass (or in this case, a fistful into a tumbler). Sip straight, or with stones to cool without diluting.
The Fred Baby ( AKA Bourbon on the Rocks)
Add ice cubes to an old-fashioned or highball glass, and pour two fingers of a smooth bourbon over top. That’ll set you free.
The Roger Moore ( AKA The Old-Fashioned)
Best enjoyed with Jane Seymour on a sleeper train while fleeing from Mr. Big.
- 2 oz Baker’s bourbon (or bourbon of your choice)
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 sugar cube (or approx 1 tsp of sugar)
- 1 cherry
- 1 orange slice
Place the sugar in an old fashioned glass and soak with 3 dashes bitters. Add cherry and orange slice. Muddle. Fill with ice. Add two ounces of bourbon and serve.
The Mag Wildwood (AKA The Derby)
This classic bourbon concoction should be swilled while you’re at a crowded party, mentally spiraling from obnoxious good cheer into inebriated “mean reds”. You may then end this evening by threatening other guests with murder by Yak and then face-planting on the floor.
- 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce orange Curaçao
- cracked ice and a lime wedge
Fill shaker with ice; add all ingredients and strain, serve in a chilled stem glass garnished with a lime or mint sprig.
The Thelma and Louise (AKA The Man O’ War)
Road Trip! Enjoy this cocktail while weaving a path of destruction with your best gal pal. Brad Pitt tryst optional.
- 1 1/2 oz Wild Turkey bourbon
- 1 oz Orange Curacao liqueur
- 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
- 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
Shake all ingredients well with ice and pour on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry, and serve.