Sometimes I forget how much I love whiskey (and to be honest, specifically bourbon). When you’re caught up in the fancy world of gin (and as we all know I do love me a gin) or spending some time with your old friend vodka, it can be easy to forget the amber nectar of the gods that is a good old fashioned whiskey.
Going on a whiskey factory tour in Scotland or Ireland is practically a tradition of going on holiday there and they are DEAD DEAD interesting tours – while Kentucky (home of Bourbon) is a bit more of a transatlantic trek, I was lucky enough to be invited to a whiskey tasting with Four Roses AND got to hear first hand from their master distiller all about their history. (And FYI the Four Roses small batch is on offer in Marks and Spencer at the mo)
If you think whiskey ain’t your thing, then read on because first I’m gonna give you a dead quick but interesting history lesson and then I’m gonna tell you why you should take it up…
A bit of bourbon background
- There’s a bit of debate over whether it was the Irish or the Scottish who actually invented the stuff but what they generally can agree on is that it was created by monks hundreds of years ago and the name comes from the gaelic phrase “uisge beatha” meaning water of life. The monks had a flair for the dramatic.
- There’s two spellings; whiskey and whisky. The one with the e tends to be the American spelling and to me the one without the e looks a bit weird.
- There’s Irish Whisky, Scotch (from Scotland obviously) and Bourbon is American.
- For Bourbon to be called Bourbon it needs to be made in the USA and in a charred cask.
- Bourbon tends to be a little sweeter than Scotch.
- Jack Daniels is considered to be the sink swill of the bourbon world, don’t mention it. Like it’s fine to drink Gordons gin, but you know Liverpool Gin is the Gucci – and it’s fine to drink Smirnoff but vodka connoisseurs will drink something like Ketel One and while it’s fine to enjoy a JD & diet coke on a night out, if you’re really getting into it you need to drink a bottle of Four Roses.
- Bourbon got it’s name from an old county in Kentucky called Bourbon. The clear whiskey was sent down the Ohio river in charred casks stamped with ‘Bourbon’ on them and by the time they arrived in NOLA (New Orleans), it was golden in colour and tasted fantastic so people started asking for “that Bourbon whiskey”.
Why you should drink whiskey
- It’s unexpected. Since whiskey began it’s been considered to be somewhat of a mans drink – well I ain’t having that. Shock your date by ordering an Old Fashioned cocktail – bourbon infused with sugar, bitters and orange zest.
- It’s a bit edgy – there’s nothing I hate more than a sickly sweet cocktail. You can keep your Sex On The Beach’s and your Woo Woo’s and Strawberry Dacquiri’s can quite frankly burn in hell. Whiskey based cocktails tend to be a bit more grown up, fancy and with a bit of a kick – they tend to go well with ginger, apple or orange based recipes.
- Bourbon and diet coke actually tastes a bit like apple sweets I think.
- A good gateway into the whiskey life is to pair Four Roses with ginger ale (a good one though like Franklin & Sons) – it is like juice, it’s amazing!
- And if you’re still not convinced, here’s even MORE reasons…
And here’s me giving you the live action at the whiskey tasting event..
I received payment to attend this event but all opinions expressed are wholly my own.