There’s an interesting article in the New York Times online Christmas Day edition about the growing popularity of bourbon and some great pix of the bourbon-making process. For starters there’s this Manhattan recipe by Karla Ramsey that won a recent drink-mixing contest:
2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1 ounce each of apple brandy and sweet vermouth
2 splashes bitters
1 red apple slice and 1 cinnamon stick, for garnish
Shake the liquid with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the apple slice and the cinnamon stick. Light the cinnamon on fire!
Yes. “Light the cinnamon on fire!”
On the other hand, and a slight cause for alarm from my perspective, the article tells how the various bourbon distillers are putting more and more effort into creating flavored bourbons, those boutique-esque concoctions they put front and center in liquor stores to try to win women over to the world of whiskey. Bourbon-and-honey, bourbon-and-cinnamon, etc. Oh well.
What I’m curious about is how did it ever come about that someone decided that whiskey would taste better if it was stored in a burned barrel? I just don’t see two guys sitting around tasting their latest brew…
Guy #1: Tastes pretty good but it needs something.
Guy #2: Maybe if we added some molasses it would give it a slight caramel flavor and color.
Guy #1: Instead, let’s try burning the inside of the barrels.
Guy #2: Why would that work?
Guy #1: Haven’t you ever tasted a burnt stick?
Guy #2: Oh. Top me off, would you.