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All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is Bourbon. Got it? In 1964 congress declared bourbon “Americas native spirit” meaning instead of saying “as American as apple pie” we could say “as American as bourbon.” While it must be made in the USA, it doesn’t have to be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky—although 95% of it is made there. To distinguish the spirit from the broader category of whiskey, bourbon must use 51% or more corn in its mash.

Let’s talk about why bourbon tastes so good. Due to the natural sugars in corn, a general rule of thumb would be the higher the percentage of corn in the mash, the sweeter the bourbon will be. When distilled, it starts out crystal clear, but takes on color and special flavors during its maturation in new charred oak barrels. While resting in these barrels bourbon will take on a myriad of flavors like…well, next time you taste a bourbon—what do you taste? Like all things that are made through fermentation, temperature plays a big role. As temperatures fluctuate the bourbon actually pushes in and out of the wood in the barrels, drawing out the natural sugars and flavors. That means that the flavor of each barrel is closely tied to the weather at that time. Pretty cool.

Whether it’s because we  claim it warms us on cold days or just goes nicely with our flannel shirts, we’re pretty fond of bourbon here in the Northwest. Either way, there are many reasons to love bourbon. If you want to learn more about this tasty American spirit there is a Bourbon Dinner at 190 Sunset restaurant in Edmonds that boasts an awesome 5-course dinner with pairings of Larceny Straight Kentucky Bourbon, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, Pikesville Straight Rye, Henry McKenna 10 Year Bourbon, and a highly allocated Elijah Craig 18 Year Bourbon. It’ll be hard to top and evening like that!

 

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