Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy National Bourbon Day

June 14th is a celebratory day here in the United States of America. Not only do we celebrate our Nation's flag: The Stars and Stripes but we also celebrate another American original: Bourbon.

Why is June 14th celebrated as National Bourbon Day? June 14 is the 223rd anniversary of the day that the Rev. Elijah Craig first distilled whiskey from corn in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Now there is much history that has gone down in terms of distilling of whiskey in the United States since before Reverend Elijah Craig first distilled his whiskey in Bourbon County. For a more in depth timeline, click on the following link: Buffalo Trace Distillery History. Here is a brief synopsis of some important people and events in bourbon history.

Starting with Daniel Boone's arrival to the Eastern Kentucky area in 1767, settlers started to populate this area that was then considered to be a frontier wilderness on the American continent. By 1770, whiskey was being distilled by settler Elijah Pepper. In 1780 Robert Samuels of Pennsylvania moved to Kentucky and also started distilling whiskey. The Samuels family line is still distilling today in the form of Maker's Mark Bourbon Whisky, which was created in 1953. In 1785, Jacob Beam arrived in Kentucky and was selling whiskey by 1795. His grandson Jim Beam distilled the Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that would be his namesake in 1934. In 1786 the above mentioned Reverend Elijah Craig arrives in Kentucky and is making whiskey by 1789.

There was further migration of distillers into the Kentucky area in the years of 1791-1794 with the passing of an excise tax by on distilled spirits by Congress to help pay off the resulting national debt. The subsequent Whiskey Rebellion occurred when President Washington sent the federal militia to Pennsylvania to ward off the rebels who refused to pay the tax. For more information, click on the following link: The Whiskey Rebellion by Michael Hoover, Regulations & Rulings Division

In 1906 the Food and Drug Act passed an act protecting the standards of identity for Bourbon which was later reinforced and clarified by President William Howard Taft in 1909 and becoming official within the United States Department of Agriculture, with Food Inspection Decision No. 113 in 1910. For more information click on the following link: Chapter IV What is Whiskey from THE HISTORY OF A CRIME AGAINST THE FOOD LAW. THE AMAZING STORY OF THE NATIONAL FOOD AND DRUGS LAW INTENDED TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE PERVERTED TO PROTECT ADULTERATION OF FOODS AND DRUGS By HARVEY W. WILEY, M.D.

As if Bourbon needed anymore legislation to make it an official American staple, the United States Congress passed a resolution in 1964 declaring bourbon as being "a spirit distinctive to the United States" and set up a series of rules of which the main one was that for a spirit to be called a Bourbon, it must be made in the U.S.A. (of which 95 percent of it is still made in Kentucky). For more of the rules click on the following link: Bourbon from the KindredCocktails website. In 2007, the 110th Congress 1st Session through the U.S. Senate in the form of Resolution S.Res294 submitted by Senator (and National Baseball Hall of Famer 1996) Jim Bunning of Kentucky which designates the month of September as "National Bourbon Heritage Month".

Whew, that was alot of history. Now I'm thirsty. Let's have some Bourbon.

So in honor of National Bourbon Day I decided to take it way back with a cocktail from the good old days. I decided to make myself an Old Fashioned. Here is the recipe for those of you who don't know what an Old Fashioned is:

Old Fashioned
1 oz Knob Creek bourbon whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 packets of Splenda
1 maraschino cherry
Club Soda

Mix splenda and angostura bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice cubes, top with Club soda and stir.
Since in past posts, I've made mention of watching the sugar intake, I substituted the sugar for Splenda. The result is a sweet cocktail with a little kick from the Knob Creek and the bitters. Pete had a taste and liked the way it tasted with the Splenda. I do too. Happy Bourbon Day.

Until Then, Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

For Further Reading:
- Click Here to read Whiskey expert Chuck Cowerdy's blogpost Favorite Whiskey Myths Debunked
- Click Here to read the article Whisky or Whiskey from the Anti-Saloon League website
- Click Here to access the article The Taft Decision: A Century Later from the Bourbon Review website
- Click Here to access the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms PART 5—LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS Subpart C—Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits