Everyone loves the winter season. Snuggling up on the couch watching a Christmas film, exploring winter markets and baking Christmas cookies. There’s so many things that you can do to feel festive. When it comes to indulging in an alcoholic drink – for those that are over the legal drinking age, a festive tipple is a delightful way to warm you up and celebrate the festivities.
The perfect winter warmer for sitting by a log fire when the weather is frosty is bourbon whiskey. Often referred to as liquid gold, you can put it in your hot chocolate, create a hot apple cider with it, delight in a maple old fashioned (which will make you feel like you are starring in Mad Men) mix it with ginger beer and other tempting options. A popular addition to a range of winter cocktails, it is adored by many across the world (not just older men as some may think) because of its texture, flavours and often oaky, smell. You can also enjoy it by itself on rocks if you really want to appreciate it in all its glory.
Many don’t really know what it takes to create the tantalising tipple. Made with a mixture of grains, such as rye and barley as well as corn, once the mixture is fully fermented it is distilled before it is put into oak barrels that have been charred. Then, the magic really happens. Left to age for a few years (before it is tasted by professionals), its rich and oaky taste develops. Dating to the 18th Century, a fun fact about the beloved beverage is that there are more bourbon barrels in Kentucky than there are residents. However, not all brands of bourbon have to be created in the state (as declared by the United States Congress in 1964). Having said that, only whiskies that are created in the United States can be called a bourbon.
When you are looking for a bourbon to buy, it is good to do your research and see what others have said about it. Now, everyone’s taste is different and you may not like what someone else does. So if you want to discover the differences between the malts and brands, go on a whiskey tasting and find out what type you like.
Bourbon isn’t only loved internationally because of its complex taste, but also because it has no fat or carbs and is low on sugar content – making it one of the ‘more healthy’ spirits. It is said that the more premium the whiskey, the less likely you are to get a bad hangover – not that you should test out this theory by consuming your weight in the spirit mind you.
A bourbon whiskey that is frequently on the top 10 lists for premium brands is Blanton’s Gold Edition. Popular because of its smooth, complex and rich taste, it carries an impressive strength of 51.5%. The single barrel bourbon is aged for between 6-8 years and is bottled in Kentucky. If you want to buy Blanton’s Gold Edition, the £139 price tag makes it a great investment for those whiskey enthusiasts and novices alike. It boasts tempting tasting notes of mouth-watering honey, charred oak (because of the barrel its aged in), vanilla, tobacco and rye – making it perfect to enjoy next to a log fire or as a casual drink on the sofa with your favourite film. It also features a quirky lid with a horse on and is individually numbered, making it a great stand out piece on your alcohol shelf or in your liquor cabinet.
However, bourbon shouldn’t only be enjoyed in winter. It can be savoured any time throughout the year – no matter what the season or what the weather is like outside. When you invest in a premium brand of whiskey, you may want to save it for a special occasion, such as a birthday party or a wedding anniversary due to its price tag. The longer you have it in your cupboard, the more it is worth so you might not want to open it on a random Friday night. But an important thing to consider is that once it is opened, you should really consume it within a year, otherwise it can become oxidised, it can lose its rich flavour and it will heavily decrease in its worth. Having said that, you shouldn’t indulge in it too often – to live a healthy lifestyle you should monitor your alcohol intake.