Welcome to Pick Your Poison, wherein the world’s best bartenders help stock your bar, one spirit at a time.
“Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?”
“Because everyday is Children’s Day.”
The adult version of that conversation would replace children with bourbon — something most parents would seriously consider, amiright?
But seriously, June 14 is National Bourbon Day, a time to celebrate America’s only “native spirit.” It’s still a rapidly growing market that, along with Tennessee whiskey, makes up over two-thirds of our country’s spirits exports. Also, it's delicious.
Quick reminder: For a whiskey to be called a bourbon, it must be made in the U.S., feature a mash bill that’s at least 51 percent corn, aged at least two years (if it’s a straight bourbon) in new, charred oak barrels made from American White Oak, and bottled at 80 proof or higher.
Below, we have Brian Hawthorne, general manager/partner of New York’s excellent cocktail bar The Wayland (pictured), discussing his five favorite bourbons in his own words. Wanna getting sipping today? Click on the spirits to hit an order page at Drizly, the under-an-hour booze delivery service.
"Best bang for your buck; complex, balanced and delicious." BUY IT HERE
"Pleasantly sweet and rich, with classic caramel and vanilla aromas, and just enough spice to balance." Side note: Yours truly also recommends the new, limited-edition Bulleit Barrel Strength, which certainly packs a kick but maintains Bulleit’s key notes. BUY IT HERE
Blanton's Single Barrel
"I love sweet bourbon, and Blanton's does that best, with all the confection and citrus aromas and smooth, full palate and mouthfeel, with a long, pleasant finish." BUY IT HERE
W.L. Weller Special Reserve
"Bold and full flavored whiskey, balanced by the subtle fruit notes from the wheat." [Editor's note: We've seen it occasionally under $20]. BUY IT HERE
"Maybe I'm crazy, but I enjoy this 114-proof bourbon with nothing but a few drops of water. Exceptionally smooth at that strength, with incredible complexity and concentration of flavors." BUY IT HERE
(The Wayland photo: Lucy Hawthrone)