I love bourbon and not because it’s trendy, which it is, but because it’s delicious. And I’ll be honest, because gin (Tanqueray and tonic with two limes to be exact) and I broke up around age 22. All it takes is one too many at a Tainted Love concert at the old Last Day Saloon (now Annie O’s) to convert you into a drinker of almost anything else! I’m serious, it took me almost 10 years to be willing to order a gin drink, which is still NOT a gin and tonic. French 75’s... those are yummy… but I’m getting side tracked, back to bourbon!
Yes, it’s true all bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon. So what makes bourbon, bourbon? Well, here are a couple quick requirements:
The mix must be at least 51% corn
Produced in the US
Stored in new oak barrels
There are some other points that differentiate bourbon from whiskey, like proofs at various stages and naming conventions based on years in the barrel, but I feel the 3 listed hold the most value.
Now that we’ve got those details out of the way, it's time to focus on where and what to drink! Sonoma County has a good handful of distilleries, several with tasting rooms. But if you can’t make it to them all, which could be hard, as they are scattered across the county, stop by the local wine shop, Bottle Barn. They have a wide selection of local, national, and international wine, beer, and spirits. That is where I picked up the following bourbons for National Bourbon Day!
As for cocktails, here are a couple favorites:
Spiked Lemonade - Tip: if you are ever in San Rafael, go to Sol Food and pick up a limeade, go home add some bourbon or whiskey to it, SOOOO yummy. Also get their food, it's delicious.