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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault


This is the first in a series by Zachary Pearson, Kindred Cocktails Editor. Read them all: Bourbon, Bourbon After the Act, Bourbon: What it is ... and isn't, Making Bourbon, Who Makes My Bourbon, Producer Capsules., Finding the Good Stuff, Tasting the Good Stuff, Neat, Mashbills, Geeky Information and Resources.

Bourbon whiskey has a storied, often apocryphal history, with interesting main characters, complex governmental regulations and a variety of subtypes, each with their own flavor profile. I'll tell a bit of this story, along with some tips for finding and recognizing older or important bottles of Bourbon on liquor store shelves. ;

A lot of foundational stories are only to be taken at face value. And yet there’s a deep history of pioneer families who started out making whiskey as part of the homesteading experience and with enough generations, some of their descendants are still manning stills throughout Kentucky.

While the main focus here will be on Kentucky Bourbon whiskey, much of this information applies to other grain whiskies made in other states as well. Delicious rye whiskey abounds, and a few intrepid people make spirits from wheat or other exotic grains.

So pour a glass of the stuff and sip it as you read.

Recent Additions

  • Ten Crucial Days — Rye, Applejack, Madeira, Allspice Dram
  • Alpino — Rye, Old Tom Gin, Braulio, Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, Bianco Vermouth, Bitters, Lemon
  • Snow Pack — Cachaça, Herbal liqueur, Grapefruit bitters, Crème de Pamplemousse, Orange juice
  • The Creature That Drank Sheboygan — Cognac, Blended Scotch, Maraschino Liqueur, Bual Madeira, Peach liqueur, Orange bitters, Bitters, Orange peel
  • Minerva — Gin, Amontillado Sherry, Triple sec, RinQuinQuin a la Peche, Orange bitters

Recent Discussion

  • Re Shiner, 3 days ago Shawn C commented:

    Nice, somewhat sweet blend of Japanese whiskey, mild herbal notes of Damiana along with plentiful ginger. Overall sweet character is balanced somewhat by the lemon juice.

  • Re In Vida Veritas, 3 days ago Shawn C commented:

    This is a magical combination: the mezcal is somehow in perfect balance with the cedar/pine of the stone pine liqueur and the walnut/hickory/pecan of the Nux Alpina. It is not nearly as sweet as one might expect. The Benedictine (a favorite of mine) is less noticeable, probably mostly a sweetener and mild herbal adjunct here. I accidentally tried the drink first without the bitters, and it was excellent. Then I realized I had poured the whiskey bitters into a different mixing container, so I combined and retried--honestly, the drink was at least as good without any bitters, so don't fret if you don't have the right bitters.

  • Re Golden Grove, 4 days ago Craig E commented:

    Since Alpenz was the source of the drink in the first place, I've curated this to follow suit on the name change.

  • Re Golden Grove, 5 days ago yarm commented:

    Now called the less colorful "Golden Grove" on Haus Alpenz's site.

  • Re Stinger, 6 days ago yarm commented:

    William Schmidt has a similar combination of Cognac, crème de menthe, and gum syrup under a different name (The Judge). The Stinger itself was +/- 1910 with the earliest reference that I have being Jacques Straub 1914. I'll parse the Oxford Companion entry later.