Bourbon Lore and LegendThere are several legends involving the charred oak barrels which allegedly give rise to the unique flavor of bourbon. One story has a resourceful cooper burning out the odor from the inside of fish barrels in order to re-sell them.
Another has a cooper drowsing by the fire, burning the wood used to make the barrels, but being frugal, used the wood anyway.
Yet another has a farmer burying a few barrels under his barn to age. After the barn was consumed by a fire, the farmer dug up his precious stash to find his treasured whiskey had taken on a new life of smooth flavor. None of these accounts are documented or substantiated, but the charred barrels and aging requirements are now a matter of law.
Probably the most famous bourbon tradition is the Mint Julep. This historic cocktail begins with a base of bourbon, to which sugar and mint are added. It is the long-standing representative drink of the Kentucky Derby which runs the first Saturday of each May. Although the mint julep was made with various spirits before the rise in popularity of bourbon, it is most associated with Kentucky bourbon. Debate still rages as to whether the fresh mint leaves should be crushed or not.
One fitting account states that a particularly discerning Virginia gentleman was said to whisper these words of wisdom on his deathbed: "Never insult a decent woman, never bring a horse in the house, and never crush the mint in a julep."
More About Bourbon Whiskey and Bourbon Recipes: Bourbon History
Bourbon Lore and Legends
What is bourbon?
Bourbon Laws & Regulations
Bourbon Cooking Tips
Bourbon Alcohol Content in Recipes
Alcohol Burn-Off Chart
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