Barb was lucky enough to attend Bourbon School last weekend at a great local bar Old Town Whiskey as part of Arizona Cocktail Week (which incidentally was the same week as Arizona Beer Week -- we were busy!).
Led by master mixologist John Christie, the 40 participants learned about the history of Bourbon, the making of it, and then...we got to sample. We tried four different Bourbons, with John helping us decipher the various nuances of the spirit. Bourbons, depending on their grain mix (though all have to be at least 51% corn) can be sweet, smooth, spicy, tangy, smoky and harsh. Brands like Maker's Mark are pretty mellow as they target the mass audience. Bulleit adds in rye for a spicier finish that works really well in cocktails such as a Manhattan. We then tried two different cocktails using Bourbon -- the Old Fashioned and the Mint Julep. The Julep was so good my companion and I stuck around and ordered another, and then bellied up to the bar to try their Manhattans and their stellar happy hour food (short rib sliders with an amazing cheddar sauce, and duck fat fries!!!).
There are a lot of great sources for Bourbon information....including www.bourbonblog.com and on Twitter, @bourboncc.
In the next week or so, John has agreed to share a cocktail recipe for a Thirsty Thursday. Stay tuned!
Oh....and I passed Bourbon School! Check out my report card!