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.