Fortunately, I can afford to be late and ill prepared for this weeks TIP, because it follows a trend this season of being remarkably simple.
In the state of Puebla, Mexico (yes, Mexico also has states), is a valley known as Tehuacán. In the 1960s, Dr. Richard “Scotty” MacNeish was doing an archeological survey of the Tehuacán Valley, when he came across a feature that would be called Coxcatlan Cave. While lots of important artifacts were found in the cave, one of most interesting for our purposes, was a large number of husks from a plant that would eventually dominate the american agricultural landscape, maize.
The husks date back to around 3600 BC which makes them some of the oldest on record, which leads researchers to believe that this is where the plant may have originated. About a thousand years later, the crop was widely cultivated and spreading north and south all throughout the Americas.
Let’s be honest, neither you nor I want trace the entire history over the course of 5,000 years, to present day, where you can barely put a single thing into your mouth that doesn’t have corn in it. Let’s instead get right to the point: Bourbon.
I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth going over again.
Bourbon has many requirements in order to achieve it’s classification.
- It must be made in the United States.
- It needs to be aged in new, charred white oak barrels.
- It needs to enter the barrel at no less than 125 proof.
- It can be bottled at no less than 80 proof (this reduction in proof is achieved by adding water prior to bottling).
- And the most important rule which contributes to the flavor profile of bourbon, is that no less than 51% of the fermentable grains may be corn. The other 49% can be any grain of the distillers choice: barley, rye, and wheat being the most common. To my knowledge, there is only one 100% corn bourbon on the market, and that is Tuthilltown’s Hudson Baby Bourbon
Things I’ve heard form people in bars that were very very wrong:
“It can only be called Bourbon if it’s made in Kentucky.
Wrong. That said, The Bluegrass State does produce 95% of the worlds bourbon. So it’s an understandable mistake.
“I didn’t realize this drink had bourbon in it. I thought it was a whiskey drink.”
This is just stunning, but I know what when I was growing up, I heard the term bourbon, and without any familiarity with tasting it, I had no idea that bourbon IS whiskey, just a specific kind, with it’s own classification. Educate your friends and family. Teach them that bourbon is whiskey too.
“Bourbon has to be aged at least 4 years.”
I’ve probably fallen victim to this inaccuracy in the past, because it is a bit confusing. To call your product bourbon, there is actually no age requirement. It does need to be “aged” in wood, but to my knowledge, there is no minimum age. So you could throw your whiskey in a barrel today, and take it out in 4 weeks and it might technically meet the requirements of “bourbon”. The age requirements come into play when you want to call your product “Straight Bourbon”. That requires at least 2 years of aging.
Also, if you age your product less than 4 years, you are required to list the age on the bottle. So, if you see a bottle that is listed as Straight Bourbon, and it has no age listed, than you can assume that it matured for at least 4 years.
That’s it for now.
Today is my last day working on season 6. There are some loose ends to tie up and house keeping for files and what not, but generally speaking, season 6 has finished production at the end of today. Exciting right? Just in time for y’all to enjoy it tonight and next week.
None. The down side of crazy adventures in our finales is that typically, alcohol doesn’t follow them. Sad. I know.
Porridge. Mentioned only briefly. I wouldn’t recommend it.