A Short History of Bourbon

Kentucky Bourbon has an interesting history that traces back over 200 years. During the early 1800s, soldiers and farmers that had come over from the Old World set up roots in an area that is today known as Louisville. At the time, the main crop planted was corn, which by no mistake became the key ingredient in bourbon. Made from a minimum of 51% corn mash, this brown liquor took over the South and became the drink of choice.

During the 1860s, the production of bourbon dropped significantly due to the Civil War that ravaged the South. There are tales of men who sold off their distilleries for war bonds in these tumultuous times only to come up empty-handed and destitute when the South was forced to surrender.

Several generations later, that pesky thing called the ‘Temperance Movement’ (a.k.a. prohibition) again disrupted the production of bourbon and the lively saloon culture that dominated the area grinded to a halt. The 1920s ushered in the era of ‘hooch’ and pop-up distilleries in backwood outposts that sustained speakeasies and secret stashes.

When prohibition finally ended in the early 30s, the bourbon business was again hit with the advent of World War II. Distilleries were quickly converted into penicillin factories, which could supply the troops abroad with the much-needed antibiotics.

Then came the 60s, an age in history that bourbon dominated. This is the decade well known thanks to Mad Men; when the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan were the cocktails that lined every bar top. 

Fast forward to now, when bourbon is experiencing another revival. In the last decade, this congenial Southern spirit has made its way into the hands of some very clever mixologists, who are putting a spin on classic recipes and creating a few new ones along the way.

Thanks to the rekindled interest in bourbon, the town of Louisville now sees over two million booze enthusiasts filter into the city each year to partake in the Urban Bourbon Trail experience and to sample ‘America’s Native Spirit’. For those of you who love bourbon but can’t see Kentucky being on your travel radar any time soon, you’ll be pleased to know that Calgary’s Bourbon Room situated in the top floor of National on 10th Avenue will be hosting a Bourbon Party in the very near future. In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more information on the Urban Bourbon experience that will be taking over Calgary for one night. In the meantime, Bulleit Bourbon has provided a few fun cocktail recipes to get you inspired.

Bulleit Bourbon is an exceptional small-batch blend that was started by the Bulleit family in Lawrenceberg, Kentucky during the 1830s. Made using an unusually high content of rye grain and limestone filtered water from the Salt River, Bulleit stands out for its lovely vanilla smoke and spicy flavour that is ideal for sipping on the rocks or for giving cocktails a little punch. We wouldn’t be Notable if we didn’t send you off with something to try at home just in time for the weekend; go on and indulge…

Bulleit Manhattan
1 oz Bulleit Bourbon +
1⁄4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1⁄4 oz Dry Vermouth
Stir over ice in a rocks glass. Serve with a lemon twist.

1 1⁄3 oz Bulleit Bourbon
Tonic + Lemon wedge
Serve over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a generous wedge of lemon.

Bulleit Mint Julep
1 1⁄3 oz Bulleit Bourbon
2 tsp water
1 tsp superfine sugar
3 sprigs fresh mint
Muddle 2 mint sprigs, water, and sugar in a silver julep cup. Fill cup with crushed ice and pour in Bulleit. Garnish with remaining mint sprig.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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