TODAY'S PAPER

Bourbon recipes to celebrate for National Bourbon Heritage month

September is National Bourbon Heritage month all over the U.S. thanks to Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning's declaration in 2007.

Bourbon, not to be confused with whiskey or any other caramel-spirit, is the only exclusively American spirit and it hails from Kentucky.

A little bit of a bourbon newbie? Porchlight bartender Nick Bennett says the spirit has become more versatile over the past 20 years. "It's definitely not just your grandpa's drink anymore," he says. "Everyone drinks it. There are bars dedicated just to serving bourbon."

If you're still a little iffy about trying some brown juice, Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell, going into his 61st year in the business, suggests asking for a flight to try several different flavors. He also says the best bourbon is aged in a single use barrel from seven to 12 years, which is the Wild Turkey way. "Any time longer than 14 years will have a woody or a smokier taste ... We want that sweet caramelly taste," Russell said.

WhiskyFest 2015 will hit NYC on September 24, during which attendees can sample a variety of bourbons and rye's from all over the world.

Can't wait until then? Here are some cocktails to shake up in honor of the national holiday.

Julep du Monde by Nick Bennett

Ingredients:

1 oz. Bourbon (Medley Bros.)

1 oz. Chicory infused Meletti

1/2 oz. Vanilla Simple Syrup

3 Dashes Mole Biters

Glass: Julep Tin

Garnish: Mint

Ice: Pebble

Method:

Build all of the ingredients in a julep tin and add pebble ice. Swizzle to mix and dilute. Top with pebble ice to form a mound. Garnish with a bushel of mint.

Cranberry Old Fashioned Cocktail

Ingredients:

1 Orange wedge

1 Sugar cube

Dash of bitters

Ice

1/4 Cup bourbon

2 Tbsp whole-berry cranberry sauce

Sparkling water

Orange slice for garnish

Method:

In an old fashioned glass, mash an orange wedge with some sugar and bitters. Fill the glass with ice. Stir in the bourbon & some cranberry sauce, top with fizzy water. Garnish with an orange slice. Cheers!

The Champagne Etoile

Ingredients:

1 Cup sugar or 3/4 cup agave

1 Cup water

1 Vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Bourbon of your liking

Prosecco or sparkling wine, chilled

Lemons, cut into wedges

Method:

First, you'll make the syrup. Combine the sugar, water, bean and seeds in small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and discard the bean.

For one cocktail, add a shot of bourbon and two tablespoons vanilla bean syrup to a chilled champagne flute. Fill to the top with prosecco. Squeeze lemon juice into glass and drop rind in. Serve.

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The 81 Old Fashioned by Franky Marshall

Ingredients:

2 oz. Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon

1 barspoon Demerara syrup

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 dash Fee's Orange Bitters

1 dash Regan's Orange Bitter

Method:

Stir and strain over ice into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon and orange twists.

The Black Demure by Franky Marshall

Ingredients:

2 oz. Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon

1/4 oz. Massenez Creme de Mure

1/4 oz. Cointreau

3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

Method:

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a blackberry.

Spring Old Fashioned by Masahiro Urushido

Ingredients:

2 oz. Wild Turkey 81 Rye

1/4 oz. Pineapple-IPA Syrup*

3 Dashes of orange bitters

Method:

Combine ingredients. Stir and strain over ice in a double rocks glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and a pineapple leaf.

*Pineapple IPA syrup

Ingredients:

12 oz. Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale

12 oz. White sugar

5 oz. Finely chopped pineapple

Peel of 1/2 lemon

Peel of 1/4 pink grapefruit

Maple Bourbon Cocktail

Ingredients:

2 oz. Bourbon, like Makers 46

1 oz. Fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 oz. Pure maple syrup

1-2 Dashes of angostura bitters

Orange peel + maraschino cherry for garnish

Method:

Add ingredients to an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake until chilled. Strain into ice filled glass. Garnish with orange peel and cherry.

Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade by The Crepes of Wrath

Ingredients:

6 oz. Bourbon

6 Strawberries, pureed in a blender

Juice of 2 lemons

1 Tbsp maple syrup

4 Dashes of Peychaud's bitters

Dash of McCormick cinnamon

Club soda or prosecco, for topping off

Slices strawberries, for garnish

Method:

Add your bourbon, pureed strawberries, lemon juice, maple syrup, bitters, and cinnamon to a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake for 10 seconds, then strain through a mesh strainer into chilled champagne flutes. Top off with club soda or prosecco and garnish with a strawberry.

The Best Bourbon Sour

Ingredients:

2 Shots good quality bourbon

1 Shot triple sec

1 Shot cranberry juice

1 Shot fresh lime

Method:

Put everything into a shaker with ice. Shake, shake, shake. Serve in a martini or rocks glass with a slice of lime for garnish.

Ginger Beer Bourbon Cocktail

Ingredients:

1 Part bourbon

3 Parts ginger beer

1 Lime wedge

Mint leaves

Method

Fill glass with ice. Add bourbon followed by ginger beer. Top with mint leaves. Squeeze lime in, gently stir and drink up.

The Kentucky Mojito

Ingredients:

1 ½ Shots of bourbon

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp agave nectar

Leaves from two sprigs of mint, torn off the stem

Ice

Splash of soda water

Sugar to rim the glass (optional)

Mint sprigs and lime wedges, to garnish

Method:

Using a lime wedge, wet the lip of your cocktail glass.

Place the moistened lip of your glass down in a plate of sugar. This will leave you with a sugared rim.

Add your agave nectar and fresh mint leaves to the bottom of your glass.

Add in a couple of ice cubes and muddle everything together until the mint is bruised and becomes fragrant.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add in your bourbon and fresh lime juice. Shake vigorously.

Pour your bourbon and lime mixture into your glass containing the muddled mint and agave.

Top off your cocktail with a heavy splash of soda water and garnish as desired with mint and a lime wedge.