Tired of your tequila-loving friend ordering the same cocktail? Or perhaps the vodka aficionado in your life could use something new to liven up their home bar? If your unrequited love for bourbon hasn’t already infected those around you, keep reading for tips on how to introduce the beloved spirit to the bourbon rookie in your life. We’re certain they will thank you later.
First things first: Bourbon is a style of American whiskey; if your prospective bourbon fan is already sipping on Scotch or Irish whiskey, then you’re already halfway there. Known as “America’s Native Spirit,” a title it earned via a Congressional resolution in 1964, bourbon’s roots may not stretch as far back in history as some spirits, but it has played a significant economic, political and cultural role in the U.S. for centuries.
When it comes to flavor, bourbon offers something for everyone. While the spirit’s base must include a minimum of 51 percent corn, the remaining 49 percent can include rye, wheat, barley, and other grains. It helps to pay attention to the brand’s mash bill to better understand the flavor profile you’re going to get. However, the mash bill is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bourbon’s complexity.
If your friend likes their booze bold and with a little spice, then a high-rye bourbon (typically 20 to 35 percent rye) might fit the bill. Hand Barrel’s “Straight Bourbon” which contains 64 percent corn, 24 percent rye, and 12 percent barley, falls into this category. For a more subtle spirit, wheated bourbons, which include wheat and barley in place of rye, are certain to appeal to drinkers looking for something more mellow. Sweet with a kick, or soft and earthy, no matter which combination you choose, every serious drinker deserves at least one bottle of bourbon on their bar.