Wild Turkey is a brand of Bourbon and Rye whiskey owned by the Austin Nichols company, now a part of the Campari Group. It is distilled at the Ripy family distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky by master distiller James (Jimmy) Russell, who has been with the company since 1954.
The Austin Nichols company dates back to a wholesale grocery founded in 1855. At first focusing on coffee, teas and other dry goods, along with spirits, the grocery side of Austin Nichols was shed in 1939 to focus on distilled spirits.
The distillery itself was founded near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky in 1869 by the Ripy brothers, then moved to near its present location in 1905. After Prohibition, the distillery was modernized, and in 1952, the Ripy family sold the distillery to the Gould brothers, who sold it to Pernod-Ricard in 1980.
Wild Turkey as a brand began in 1940, when distilling executive Thomas McCarthy took a supply of bourbon on a wild turkey hunt. His friends began asking him for the "Wild Turkey" bourbon, and the name stuck.
Wild Turkey now makes an extensive line of spirits, all aged in heavily charred new American oak barrels. These include: a standard Wild Turkey in 80, 86.8 and 101 proof bourbons, an eight and a twelve year old 101 proof bourbon, a single barrel bourbon called Kentucky Spirit at 101 proof, a 15 year old, 100 proof bourbon called American Spirit, Rare Breed at 108.4 proof, Russell's Reserve, a 10 year old, 90 proof bourbon, a 101 proof Rye whiskey, a Russell's Reserve, 6 year old rye, and a bourbon and honey liqueur called American Honey.
Wild Turkey also makes premixed bourbon cocktails: Wild Turkey and Cola and Wild Turkey and Dry.
Some popular cocktails containing Wild Turkey
- The Teddy — Crème de Noyaux, Bourbon, Orange bitters, Bitters, Bitter lemon soda, Sugar
- Fire Cherry Cocktail — Bourbon, Maraschino Liqueur, Campari, Port, Bitters, Brandied cherry
- Orchard Dew — Bourbon, Drambuie, Bitters, Apple cider, Lemon juice
- Raindog — Gin, Bourbon, Campari, Bitters, Peychaud's Bitters, Orange juice, Pomegranate juice, Lime juice, Lime
- Bad Reputation — Bourbon, Herbal liqueur, Bermuda rum, Grapefruit bitters, Bitters, Grapefruit juice