The beautiful melody playing, as if no other place like this. It sounds different with other music nowadays. Kentucky as the state named, is not a big state like New York or California where almost everywhere you can hear modern music, building all over the place and so on. In Kentucky people still can see trees everywhere, also there are not as many building as in New York or California, and people still listening to country music known as Bluegrass music and even some of them still riding a horse and farming.
Bluegrass music is what people in Kentucky usually listen to. Most of the states like Kentucky popular with their country music as well. So when people hear about Kentucky maybe the first thing that they thought is Bluegrass music, horse, country ham, or corn bread. But do they also know about the Kentucky bourbon? What is Kentucky bourbon? Is it a place? Yes it is a place. It is one of the counties in Kentucky, but this Kentucky bourbon is different. Therefore Kentucky bourbon is kind of whiskey, but there is something that makes this whiskey very special than any other whiskey around the world.
Maybe, most of people that live in Kentucky since they were born have heard about the Kentucky bourbon a lot of time, but some of them maybe not. The Kentucky bourbon is something kind of like whiskey. But people call it bourbon because that is what make it special than any other whiskey. All bourbon is therefore whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. People might confuse with this statement. But if analyze the deeper meaning of this statement, people can realize that there is something why this statement is important and why there is such a statement like this. In another word there is also a mythos saying that if it is not come from Kentucky they cannot call it bourbon, that is why it becomes the traditional symbolic of Kentucky itself. But from the book called The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook (1), it mentions that “the vast majority of bourbon is made in Kentucky, but technically bourbon can be made outside of the Bluegrass state as well.” This means that there is actually some bourbon that comes from another state, but they are maybe not as popular as the one in Kentucky. But the fact is that no matter what it says on the label, any bourbon people can actually buy in a store was originally distilled in Kentucky. So why Kentucky bourbon is the most popular one around the world?
Bourbon had found in Kentucky for many years ago, but there is no one even knows who invented bourbon at first. It is kind of weird, because if no one knows who invented bourbon then where is or how do they know that it is bourbon? But the reason why there is no one knows who invented the bourbon at first maybe because the idea of bourbon at first was not really come from one person. So it was hard to decide who really invented bourbon for the first time. Meanwhile, it also says that “the legend of bourbon became reality in 1964 when bourbon was officially named American’s native spirit by the United States congress, and that Congress decreed than bourbon could be made only in the United States” (2). Beside it has to be made only in the United States or the state of Kentucky especially, there is also some of specific criteria to make the bourbon so that it can be labeled as bourbon.
According to the Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, the requirement to make bourbon are these; “Bourbon must be made from at least 51 percent corn mixed with barley and with rye or wheat or both. Many times bourbon has an even higher percentage of corn, but it never exceeds 79 percent of the mash. (When the percentage of mash reaches 80%, the beverage becomes corn whiskey.) Bourbon must be aged for at least two years in charred new oak barrels. If it is aged less than four years, a statement of age must be placed on the label. Only pure water may be added to bourbon, and bourbon must not exceed 160 proofs off the still or 125 proofs into the barrel.”(2) By knowing bourbon could only be made of some certain ingredients and specific amount of the ingredients, this actually tells how special it is. Because each of the ingredients that people put on to make the bourbon is very specific and it is never change since the first time they invented the bourbon. From this point people can actually tell that it is really hard to make the bourbon and how special it is, especially for Americans which they called it “American Native Spirit”.
Realize that almost the ingredients to make the bourbon is corn, as it says it has to has 51% corn mixed with barley and rye or wheat or both. As a matter of fact there are so many varieties of vegetables and fruits in the United States, but why it has to be corn? “Before the revolutionary war, in the colonies, whiskey was made form rye. But rye does not grow very well in the southern states, so as whiskey-making moved to south, it was necessary to find a new grain use.” (2) Corn is one of Americans main food beside potatoes, in fact that it is very easy to find and to growth in southern states. That is why bourbon made from corn but also because this is very unique than any other whiskey, this make the flavor of bourbon changed and the unique taste about it.
As mention before that bourbon must be made with corn and mixed with either rye or wheat or both of them. But before people found bourbon, the whiskey in the United States and in Kentucky was made only from rye. “Just because it is getting harder to find rye and as a matter of fact rye does not grow very well in southern states, so as whiskey move to south it was necessary to find new grain use.” (3) In fact that some people might wonder why is have to be Kentucky? Why is it not the other states, like New Mexico, Arizona, or Texas? They have really high potential to grow corn or any agriculture as well. But the answer for this question is because “Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon, producing 95 percent of the world’s supply, and only Kentucky has the perfect natural mix of climate, conditions and pure limestone water necessary for producing the world’s best Bourbon.” (Kentucky Distillers Association, Discus) so people cannot deny, beside of the strategic location of the Kentucky state, it also rich of natural resources where it hard to find in another state or it cannot be find in another state.
According to the Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, “the alternative story of how bourbon got its name is that Americans named this whiskey after the French royal family the bourbons. To honor them for their help during the revolutionary war and to distinguish it from the whiskey that came from the British Empire.”(2) But from the website (straightbourbon.com) they mention that bourbon is a strange name for a type of bourbon. In fact that the whiskey that came from another country such as, Canada they called it as Canadian or the whiskey that came from Irish they called it as Irish. But then why whiskey form Kentucky people called it bourbon? As people know that that there is actually no coloration between whiskey and French royal family, after all. Even until now people still confused where the bourbon Kentucky named really came from. Because from Alexis Lichine’s New Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits: “Early in the colonial history of America, a Baptist minister, Elijah Craig, established a still in Georgetown, Kentucky and began producing whiskey from a base of corn. The still is said to have been one of the first in Kentucky and customers in neighboring towns christened his product Bourbon County Whiskey, from the county of origin” (Straightbourbon.com). Again, from this point of view, anyone could tell how special bourbon is. Even the name itself and the history of who is really invented the Kentucky bourbon is really different than any other whiskey around the world.
As bourbon getting really popular, bourbon then becomes the most regulated whiskey in the world. As one of the most regulated spirits, a fact that seems contrary to the American spirit of freedom and limited regulation. In fact that not all people might know about the Kentucky bourbon, but also people cannot deny that “Of the different of varieties of American whiskey, Bourbon is, without a doubt, the most highly regarded.” (The History of Spirit in America) bourbon has become the icon of America, and has given so many good impacts not only for the American but also to the economic global. From the bourbon the state of Kentucky got its income and gives so many opportunities to those people who need a job, because the distilleries in Kentucky is not just one, but there are about 6 of distilleries according to the (Kybourbontrial.com). This is also makes the growth of economic in Kentucky very well, and in general as well. Nerveless, bourbon is exclusively American no matter how people would think about it.
Why Kentucky bourbon so special, and how did it become the icon of America? Bourbon is popular as an American spirit or what people usually call “America’s Official Native Spirit.” it because the Kentucky bourbon is actually made by traditional machines, which means they still use the old fashioned model of the distilleries and the old process of making it. This, of course, means that it has the same quality as it used to. Bourbon is the highest quality whiskey in the world. This statement based on the production standards of bourbon; remember according to the recipe of how to make and what ingredients that have to have on it, nothing added to bourbon except pure water. All other whiskey may have caramel coloring added before bottling, to make it looks good and to make people interest with the whiskey. So by keeping its natural taste and ingredients bourbon cannot deny is the most special whiskey. Also, because of bourbon’s sweet-spicy or what people usually say it strong taste, it complements food in a way that many other whiskey do not. This makes so many benefit of bourbon itself, because who knows what bourbon can combine with. For example, the peat in scotch and some Irish whiskeys make these whiskeys less food friendly. That is also the reason why there is nothing really special about it, in fact that it is only for people to drink and cannot be make or combine to make any other foods.
Not only for someone to drink, but also some people combine the bourbon to make varieties of foods. “Bourbon with its natural sweet notes and mellow essence works as a perfect addition in dessert recipes, but it can add subtle taste to meat dishes, soups, salads, and even breads as well” (The American Spirit, Kentucky Bourbon). As a high quality whiskey, at culinary school all over the nation, bourbon usually uses to make a high quality food. According to the Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook (3), to make a high quality food you have to put a high quality ingredient on it. That is why most of the place like five stars hotel has their chef’s cook with bourbon. And guess what? When people cook with bourbon, that person is adding a distinct taste of America to their dish, which also means that they proud with their own traditional country. It is amazing, how bourbon actually can change people point of view about whiskey.
The image of whiskey cannot combine with any other foods might impact the way people think about it. Therefore about the special taste and special ingredients that is on bourbon, people might also not know about it. There are so many ways people can do with bourbon; there are actually more than one hundred varieties of foods people can make with it. In Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, by Albert W. A. Schmid, he categorizes each of the food according to the season. For example if its winter season the weather must be cools and the temperature will drop. So bourbon is provides relief from the cold by dropping the body’s temperature, and gives the warming sensation. The best bourbon food for this season, such as, Kentucky bourbon pancake, blueberry Kentucky bourbon pancake syrup, Kentucky bourbon French toast, hot buttered Kentucky bourbon oatmeal, black bean and Kentucky bourbon soup, chicken Kentuckiana, chicken with mustard honey Kentucky bourbon sauce, and many more.
The state of Kentucky is also very famous with the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky basketball season. Which always happen during spring, so according form the Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook (40) there are more than eighteen varieties of recipe of bourbon to combine to make delicious foods to celebrate the Kentucky derby, as well as the March Madness or the NCAA Basketball tournament. What can people tell, enjoy the spring season while feeling the American spirit in their heart.
For those people that like bourbon very much, they might think that bourbon among the others whiskey is definitely the best whiskey. But for those people that do not like bourbon, they might not care about it. In fact that the Kentucky bourbon is also kind of expensive than any other whiskey. That is also what makes Kentucky bourbon is not people favorite drink, means that they prefer regular whiskey than bourbon. As a matter of fact, the taste of bourbon is really strong and for some people it just taste weird, which why bourbon is so special. Therefore the taste of the bourbon impact people interest. This is actually sad, because what will happen if the young generation, especially native people still continuing careless about their own traditional? The next generation might not know there is this traditional thing called Bourbon. They might know some of the story of it, but they would not know how it tastes like.
There are so many things that Kentuckian did not realize about their own traditional such as foods, drink, and many more. Meanwhile, the state of Kentucky rich in many ways if and only if people realize that there are actually so many natural resources, and more unique things that people could not find in another state. If the native people and the young generation proud with what they have, people will automatically amaze with what they proud of. Something is special if they make it special. Feel proud whit what you have, or at least care about your own traditional.
- Charles K Cowdery. How Bourbon Whiskey Really Got Its Famous Name. Straight Bourbon, 1996. Web. 1, Dec 2011. Straight Bourbon.com
- Gregory, Eric. Personal interview. 10 Nov. 2011.
- History of Spirit in America. The American Spirit, 2007. Web 1, Nov 2011. History of Spirit in America
- Jim Beam. Kentucky Bourbon Recipes, 2011. Web 1, Nov 2011. JimBeam.com/recipes
- Kentucky Bourbon Trial. The History of Kentucky Bourbon, 2010. Web 1, Nov 2011. KyBourbontrail.com
- Kentucky Bourbon. What Kentucky Bourbon Made of, 2004. Web 1, Nov 2011. KentuckyBourbon
- Schmid, Albert W. A.. The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook. South Limestone Street, Lexington, Kentucky: Publisher for the Commonwealth, 2010. Print.
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