It takes a special drink to inspire positive U.S. Congressional action as most politicians don’t disclose their affection for liquor on record. Bourbon isn’t just any other drink; it’s one that is favored by a wide range of people, from accountants and politicians to artists and adventurers. But what makes Bourbon special? Well, for starters, it is the only alcoholic drink that is a distinctive product of the United States, and it has been a significant part of American heritage and history.
During the Colonial Era, the best-loved spirits in America were Applejack and Rum, while Gin was extremely popular during the Prohibition years. However, Bourbon is now considered to be the quintessential American drink that encompasses the American spirit.
Before we get to discussing what makes Bourbon America’s whiskey, let’s get to the definition of Bourbon. It’s any whiskey made in the United States that has at least 51% corn and gets aged in charred new oak containers. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky, although the best ones do come from there.
There are some technical regulations as well, but the most important part is knowing that Bourbon is the only spirit that must be 100% made in the United States.
If you’re sitting down with a Bourbon in your hand and are thinking as to why and how Bourbon became America’s Whiskey, you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled a brief but thorough explanation about how and why Bourbon came into being and is so loved by Presidents, statesman, and the common man in equal measure.
Whiskey was being readily made and consumed everywhere in the United States, but it was Bourbon that was declared as ‘America’s Native Spirit’ and can only be produced in America. It seemed that politicians in Congress couldn’t get enough of it. In 1964, Congress passed a resolution that made Bourbon a distinctive and official product of the United States.
Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States, but Kentucky still produces 95% of Bourbon, which is something that confuses most people. You can thank George Washington for that; in the 18th century, he convinced tax-evading settlers to move to Kentucky and gave 60 acres of land as a further incentive to every Pennsylvania transplant who would produce corn.
This new settlement was given the name of ‘Bourbon County,’ which was inspired by the French Bourbon Dynasty that had ruled most of Italy and Spain at that time. The alcoholic drink was loved by many, and recognizing this, the distillers started selling outside their region, with each barrel carrying the stamp of ‘Bourbon County.’
Abraham Lincoln introduced a tax on all alcohol drinks and spirits in 1862 to fund the American Civil War, which led to most small distilleries going bankrupt, and the industry shifted towards bigger and modern distilleries that could pay taxes in advance. This made Bourbon the best-selling liquor in the United States, until 1913 when selling whiskey was prohibited. This
development was a major blow to the Bourbon industry; even though Prohibition was lifted in 1933, people shifted towards smoother drinks. However, by 2010, Bourbon sales had recovered to reach Pre-Prohibition levels.
If stored properly, Bourbon has an indefinite expiration date, even after you have opened the bottle. However, you would lose some flavor as some contents will evaporate after the bottle has been opened. To ensure that it is stored properly, Bourbon should be kept in a dry and cool area that doesn’t get any sunlight or heat, and it must be sealed tightly.
Bourbon lovers tend to argue about where it should be stored and how one should drink America’s favorite liquor. Some prefer keeping it in the refrigerator, while others prefer drinking it at room temperature over ice. As far as we are concerned, there is no right or wrong method, because, if you’ve got a glass of Bourbon in your hands, you know that you’re going to enjoy every drop of it.