Wine and spirits are truly international. We love French wine, Scottish whiskey, Russian vodka, and German beer — but bourbon is truly American. If fact, there are laws to prove it. No wonder bourbon has become popular. In this edition of Quick Pours, Haskell's President Ted Farrell shares a few of the most interesting facts for the bourbon enthusiast.
Bourbon really is America's Spirit. It's the only alcohol in the United States that's actually governed by federal legislation — what you can and cannot do to call it bourbon. The most important factor is that your mash, the thing that you make bourbon with, has to be at least 51% corn. It's an abundant crop in the United States, but that's also what gives bourbon its sweetness and that caramelly hue.
Bourbon also has to be aged in a brand new, oak barrel. That piece of the legislation was written in by a senator from Missouri in order to keep the oak barrel industry going strong.
Not Just From Kentucky Anymore
They say the best bourbons come from Bourbon County, Kentucky, due to the limestone water. But now you're seeing great bourbons coming from anywhere, whether it's Colorado, here in Minnesota, or out in California. They just have to follow those specific recipes in order to call it bourbon.
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