After forcing the Ladies of the League to save date weeks in advance, I then realized I had chosen a particularly important date: the night of the first presidential debate. Since I love a good theme more than almost anything else in this world (with the exception, perhaps, of puppies, bagels and yes, my mom), we embraced the occasion. In honor of the eve, we hosted a Red, White and Booze bash.
We aptly chose to celebrate all things American with our country’s most prized agricultural product and signature spirit: Bourbon. Not only is this heavenly nectar my whiskey of choice, but it also felt like the perfect platform to kick off the League in style (with hair on our chests).
And given we were keeping with the election theme, Maker’s Mark was the perfect poison. If you’re not aware, they have a kitchy and awesome Cocktail Party political campaign running right now.
It is no secret that Maker’s Mark is in my regular rotation of bourbons. I love the whiskey’s sweet flavor profile and though it would make a great first choice for the League. The good folks at Maker’s must’ve thought so too, because they sent some my way.
First and foremost, we went over the basics. The League is comprised of ladies of varying whiskey knowledge levels—some are my girlfriends in the industry (writers and flacks like myself), some are generally just badass brown slugging gals, and some are just looking to learn a thing or two to keep their boyfriends on their toesSo we started with the basic definition.
bour·bon (bûr bn)
- A distilled deliciousness and a distinctive product of the U.S.
- Made from at least 51% corn (with the rest coming from barley, wheat and rye)
- Aged in new charred oak barrels
- Distilled to no more than 160 proof
- Barreled at no more than 125 proof
- Bottled at 80 proof or more
- Barrel aged (if more than 2 years, it’s a straight bourbon)
And some basic myths:
- Bourbon isn’t required to be made in Kentucky (though if you talk to the KY folks, they believe their Bluegrass state and its limestone-filtered water imparts super powers special benefits)
- Despite popular belief, barrels do not need to be American oak (just oak), but must be new and charred
- It’s only for dudes
Now that we were on the same page, we got to tasting, both Maker’s Mark and Maker’s 46 and in some handy dandy homemade Manhattans.
For those not in attendance, let’s recap:
- A crazy good small batch bourbon from Loretto, KY (owned by the good folks at Beam)
- Known for its distinctive bottle and red wax stamp
- Bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV)
- Achieves its distinctive taste because of its mash bill, which contains corn, winter wheat and barley (and doesn’t include any rye)
- Holy deliciousness
- Achieves its flavor from finishing in French oak
- Bottled at 95 proof (47.5% ABV)
And there you have it. Our 101. Great drinks, great company, and a great thirst for knowledge among the group.