A Taste of Kentucky in Mississippi!

Mississippians Have Long Been Fans Of Kentucky, And It Isn’t Just The Kentucky Derby That Has Inspired Us.  That’s Right, It’s Bourbon!

Bourbon Whiskey is known and loved throughout the world. But, we here in Mississippi, wish we had a greater selection.  After all, in Kentucky, your local spirits store may offer literally dozens of varieties.

To be a true Bourbon Whiskey, “America’s Native Spirit,” the only spirit distinct to the United States, it must meet certain criteria.  First, it must be produced within the United States (95% of all Bourbon comes from Kentucky).  Next, the recipe.  A key ingredient in Bourbon is the grain mixture called the mash bill, which, by law, must contain at least 51% corn. In fact, most Bourbons contain 60-80% corn.  The remaining grains can be wheat, malted barley or rye. Third, the barrels used to age the Bourbon must be constructed from fresh American White Oak, which are toasted and charred and can be used only once. In addition, fresh spring water is often added, sometimes naturally limestone filtered spring water unique to Bourbon from Kentucky. Neither coloring nor flavoring may be added. It must be distilled at no more that 160 proof, must enter into the barrel at no more than 125 proof and must be bottled at no less than 80 proof.  Finally, the Bourbon must be aged for at least four years to be labeled “Straight Bourbon.”

The process and ingredients still leave plenty of room for exploration. The varieties of Bourbon that you can experience are distinct and the flavors are traceable.

For those truly interested in witnessing the Bourbon making process and tasting the widest variety, a trip to Kentucky is in order. If you happen to fly into Louisville, you will be greeted in the airport by a kiosk describing the great Bourbon lineage. If a road trip is an option, then you can experience the Bourbon Trail (www.kybourbontrail.com), where you will get to visit many fine distilleries across the State. Or, if you are simply interested in finding one of the finest Bourbon tasting places in the world, then Bourbon’s Bistro (www.bourbonsbistro.com), located on Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, should be your destination. There you can sample over a hundred varieties of Bourbon from their Bourbon List and even pair your selections in a fine dining environment.

Until you are able to make your trek to the Bluegrass State, there are some local spirits providers that actually know Bourbon and provide a better-than-modest selection. Adam Pate, managing partner of Vintage Wine Market, strives to do just that. One of Mississippi’s newest, best, un-kept secrets, Vintage Wine Market (www.vintagewinemarket.com), is located in the Renaissance Center next to Fresh Market and provides choices as well as expertise when it comes to their ever expanding selection of Bourbons.

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