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The Good Trouble Guide to Savoring Bourbon

Did you know bourbon and whiskey are not synonymous? We’ll explain. Bourbon is a type of whiskey that leverages corn as its primary mash ingredient and is counted as part of the overall whiskey category – in other words, bourbon is a subset of whiskey. In 1964, the U.S. Congress named bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States,” and there were specific rules to follow in order to make bourbon whiskey. These probably don’t matter to you, and if they don’t, please skip ahead to the next paragraph! But if you’re wondering about them, here are the main rules:  bourbon can only be made in the United States, the mash bill must consist of a minimum of 51% corn, the distillate must be put into a new, charred oak barrel or cask, it must be distilled no higher than 160°F, it must be poured into a barrel no higher than 120°F, and it must be bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. There are additional regulations, but we’ll leave that to the most curious of you to look up. We’ll let you in on one more fact: most bourbon – including Good Trouble Bourbon — is made in Kentucky – 95% of it. We personally believe that’s where the finest bourbon is born, because the weather, soil, and terroir in Kentucky are ideal for producing the most phenomenal bourbon there is.

Straight and Neat

The best way to savor bourbon – if you want to taste all the nuances of the flavors and aromas – is to drink it neat or straight. Many people use ‘neat’ and ‘straight’ interchangeably, but there is actually a subtle difference. Ordering a liquor neat means you’d like it completely as is, with no preparation, just a shot right from the bottle into a glass, at room temperature. There’s no added water, no ice, it is utterly unadulterated. Think of it as you would think of a room: neat implies tidy and uncluttered. Straight, on the other hand, implies some minor preparation, so you’ll likely have it on ice – on the ‘rocks’, as they say – or shaken with ice and then strained into a glass. ‘Up’ implies that there was some preparation involved and that there is no ice in the final product. If you would like to enjoy every intricate flavor profile possible from your glass of Good Trouble Bourbon, try it neat or straight.

Use whatever glass you’d like, but to truly coax every complexity from Good Trouble Bourbon, use a tulip-shaped glass – the bourbon-tasters’ favorite is called a Glencairn glass, but any ilk of tulip-shaped glass will work to funnel the nuanced aromas and flavors to your nose and lips. Of course, we’ll happily use a tumbler any day. Check out the gorgeous amber color of the bourbon by holding it up to the light; a deep caramel hue will clue you in that it’s aged.

Over Ice (On The Rocks)

Sipping Good Trouble Bourbon on the rocks will cool it down – and simultaneously tame it a bit. You might prefer the icier sensation of cold liquor, but remember that ice also dilutes the flavors, albeit to a small extent. Generally, if you’re enjoying your GT Bourbon on the rocks, you’d probably use a rocks glass, also known as a whiskey tumbler.

With a Few Drops of Water

Many bourbon connoisseurs will start with Good Trouble Bourbon served neat or straight, and then add a couple of drops of water. Their thinking is that a touch of water will meet the oil-based flavors and aromas of the bourbon and amplify them, intensifying the aromas and flavors. If you’re thinking that the water dilutes the bourbon, you’d be correct, but since it helps those flavors shine through, it makes up for the dilution. We recommend experimenting with this technique. Simply add a drop of water at a time, take a sip after each addition, and settle in for the enjoyment when you find the perfect amount. For this process, it’s again best to use that tulip-shaped glass and give your Good Trouble Bourbon a healthy swirl before you sip.

Mixed In A Cocktail

Ah, yes, the cocktail – liquor mixed with other ingredients to make a delectable potion that will awaken your senses and tickle your taste buds. You’ve probably heard of – if not indulged in – the iconic Mint Julep, that seductive combination of mint, sugar, and bourbon that also happens to be the signature libation of the Kentucky Derby. A veritable cornucopia of different bourbon cocktails are out there to explore, some iconic, others lesser known, and still others new to the game thanks to today’s mixologist-forward culture. But it’s hard to go wrong with the balanced sweetness of simple syrup, cut with the welcome tartness and acidity of lemon in a GT Bourbon Sour. Or try the vibrantly ruby-colored GT Bourbon Boulevardier, a spicy, bitter, rich, and smooth concoction that will leave you feeling cozily warm. Mixing a cocktail at home? Poke around on the internet and you’re sure to find some bourbon cocktails that suit your style – especially when you’re using Good Trouble Bourbon.

The Kentucky Chew

Finally, we’d be remiss not to tell you about the famous Kentucky Chew. It’s how you really and truly savor and taste the full GoodTrouble Bourbon palate. It’s the brainchild of the late master distiller for Jim Beam – we wish we could take credit – and it’s very effective. You pour yourself a fingerful of Good Trouble Bourbon, take a small sip, and then let it flow around your mouth and tongue. Then, you smack your lips ever so gently. Notice the taste and the mouthfeel, the smoothness as those delectable Good Trouble Bourbon flavors unfold. Finally, you’ll swallow the bourbon. Now, feel that warmth as it flows down? This, my friends, is the culmination, and it’s called – for very good reason – a Kentucky Hug.

Cheers, friends, and let’s toast to America’s native spirit, bourbon – and Good Trouble Bourbon, which gives ‘please drink responsibly’ a whole new meaning!

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