Learning about bourbon can be intimidating. You walk into a bar or liquor store and face a wall of a hundred bourbons. Which do you choose?
In Part 1 of my Citizen’s Guide I outlined a few ways to get started. Read up on bourbon history. Maybe you care more about how a distillery got started. You really can’t go wrong with a classic Kentucky bourbon like Maker’s Mark, and the story of the wax on the bottle is the stuff of bourbon legend.
If you’re new to drinking bourbon, start off with a mixed drink (try one of these). When I want an easy bourbon drink that I don’t have to think about I mix Benchmark (named a Best Buy by Wine Enthusiast Magazine) and ginger ale. And if it’s Derby time you have to try a Mint Julep.
But most of the time I want my bourbon on the rocks. And I’ve gotten quite spoiled in recent years by all the excellent bourbon bars in the area. You can walk into any of them and order just about any kind of bourbon your heart desires. Click here for my Top Ten Bourbon Bars in Kentuckiana.
Other ways to try new bourbons:
1. Go to a tasting at your local liquor store. These generally happen around the Holidays and then again during Derby time. (Here's the Four Roses calendar of tastings and signings by Jim Rutledge.)
2. Get your Passport for the Urban Bourbon Trail. When you get six stamps you get a free T-Shirt. Plan on collecting multiple T-Shirts.
3. Attend the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown featuring The Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting and Gala.
4. Attend the Kentucky Bluegrass and Bourbon Festival at the Water Tower. After all, nothing compliments a glass of fine bourbon like authentic Bluegrass music!
6. Go to your local liquor store and tell the person behind the counter what you are looking for in a bourbon. Chances are they will be able to help you select the perfect bottle.
If you’ve tried bourbon once or twice and decided you don’t like it, give it another chance. With so many great options out there you are bound to find one that you like. And that’s your bourbon for life.
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