Here’s a widespread bourbon legend we’re all-too-ready to disprove: “All bourbon must be made in Kentucky.” Nope!
While the Bluegrass State is, undoubtedly, the ancestral home of bourbon, the spirit can actually be made anywhere in America. So we spoke to our bourbon planners here at Mouth HQ and plucked eight bar cart-boosting bottles off the bourbon landscape, just to proof our point.
Rich with the butterscotch and vanilla caramel we expect from bourbon, there’s also a deep, earthy undertone in this one from Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas that we love to highlight with just a splash of water.
2. Watershed Bourbon
While bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn, this 2.5-year-old from Watershed Distillery in Columbus, Ohio is made with 60% corn, 35% wheat and rye, plus the atypical addition of 5% spelt, sourced from local Ohio farms.
3. Berkshire Bourbon
This easy-drinker from Berkshire Mountain Distillers is on the lighter side, with a nice spicy bite. It’s made with corn from a farm two miles away from the distillery in Barrington, Massachusetts, and finished with Berkshire mountain spring water.
4. Kings County Bourbon Flask
Kings County Distillery was really the first to bring distilling back to the city after Prohibition. This Brooklyn-made bourbon is crafted just a 10-minute walk away from Mouth HQ in DUMBO (!) using local corn, with some malted Scottish barley.
5. Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Union Horse is a small family-owned-and-operated distillery in Kansas City, Kansas, making bourbon from locally sourced corn and rye. This one’s got the traditional tones of rich caramel and vanilla, plus a balancing pepper spice from the rye.
6. Beer Barrel Bourbon
New Holland started as a craft brewery! This distillery just off Lake Macatawa Holland, Michigan (about a half hour southwest of Grand Rapids) ages its bourbon in brand new white oak barrels, then pour it out to make room to age the brewery’s Dragon’s Milk Stout beer. Once the stout’s done, the bourbon goes back in for another three months to pick up dark and roasty malt tones from the beer!
7. New Southern Revival Four Grain Bourbon
This distinctive, modern bourbon from High Wire Distilling in Charleston, South Carolina is made from a blend of traditional grains (corn, wheat) and more unusual ones, like malty barley and nutty Carolina Gold rice.
8. Solera Aged Bourbon
Hillrock Estate grows, malts, ferments and distills grain on the same property in Ancram, New York. This stunning, flavorful bourbon is aged using a Solera system, the same method for making traditional sherry. It spends the month before it’s bottled in old Oloroso sherry casks.
So you see, whether you sip ’em straight or in craft cocktails, that myth about the Bluegrass State is totally busted!