What Makes Whiskey a Bourbon?
So you find yourself looking at the whiskey aisle and are wondering, is it bourbon if its brown and vodka or gin if its white? What makes a bourbon a bourbon? There are a few rules that have been put into place to make sure that you are getting high quality whiskey, here is a look at the main ones:
- Bourbon must be produced from a minimum of 51% corn. Other grains can be used in the mix, but bourbon must be at least 51% corn.
- The liquor must go into new, charred oak barrels.
- It can only be produced in the United States. If you thought that bourbon could only be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky, think again.
Those are the ones that are pretty easy to remember. Here are two more that understandable can slip your mind:
- The liquor cannot be distilled at a higher proof that 160
- The liquor cannot go into the new, charred oak barrel at anything higher than 125 proof
- When it comes time to the bourbon being bottled, it cannot go into its bottle at anything less than 80 proof.
Trust me there wont be a test on the 2nd set of three. The first three things are probably easier to remember and still pretty impressive to your friend who doesn't know too much about bourbon.
The other thing you might need to know to show yourself off as a bourbon aficionado? How to know what the alcohol percentage relates to proof. Or maybe a better question is "How do I know the proof of the bourbon I am about to drink?" The proof is equal to double the percentage of alcohol of the item that you are drinking. For instance, if the bottle says that its contents are 40% alcohol, than that item is 80 proof. If it says that it is 43.6%, than the proof would be 87.2.
Is it still too confusing? Then grab a bottle of your favorite bourbon and read the label.
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