Scrolling through a discussion board of fellow cocktail enthusiasts, I came across a post asking what could be substituted for whiskey in cocktails. This individual did not like whiskey and wanted an alternative. To my surprise, I found a lot of people suggesting bourbon. I had always thought they were pretty much the same thing, so if you do not like one, you are not going to like the other. But what exactly makes bourbon, bourbon? To clear it up, we chatted with Barsys’ Creative Curator Paul Zahn. Here’s what he had to say:
The world of whiskey can be overwhelming. There are so many different types of whiskey with a different set of rules for each type.What makes scotch whisky different than Irish whiskey? Scotch needs to age 3 years while Irish needs to age three years...and ONE day. What about the hottest whisky on the market right now - Japanese whisky? Rules for that one, too! But let's chat about bourbon whiskey, America's most loved dark spirit.
There are rules when it comes to bourbon, which is a whiskey. In order to be bourbon, the liquid needs to be a grain mix with at least 51& being corn, produced in the United States and bottled at 80 proof. Bourbon needs to be aged in new, charred oak - this gives bourbon much of it's flavor profile. However, there is no rule about how long bourbon needs to age, unlike Scotch and Irish whiskey. "Straight" bourbon is a different story - using the term "straight" requires a minimum of two years of aging. The aging process in charred oak helps yield a caramel, vanilla flavor profile - a touch of sweetness, as compared to a peaty scotch. Scotch usually has a more earthy, smoky flavor profile due to the process in which it is created. Overall, bourbon is the perfect base spirit for so many cocktails. For a deeper dive into the world of bourbon, I suggest taking a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to sample a wide variety of tasty bourbons!
Ready to try some whiskey cocktails of your own? Here are a few you should mix now:
1 1/2 oz Dewar's 15 1/2 oz Peach Liqueur 1/4 oz Lemon Juice 1/4 oz Simply Syrup 2 oz Coconut Water 2 oz Soda Water