Thursday, January 12, 2012

David Chang on Bourbon, Recommends Many Blind Tastes Favorites Under $30

Here's a funny clip of restauranteur, David Chang, being a drunkass and talking about bourbon on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Readers might note that every bourbon he tastes and recommends is listed on my Great Bourbons Under $30 post from a few months ago!

Like we've known all along - bourbon is some great juice!  It's nice to see American chefs promoting the only spirit classified as a distinct product of the United States.  A small correction for Chang's rant though...  While he is correct that White Dog is "virgin" bourbon, the commercial version is actually bottled at 125 proof, not 140 proof,  and sold by the Buffalo Trace distillery.  Other names for White Dog are White Lightning, or just White Whiskey.  It is the clear distillate that gets poured into a new, charred, white oak barrel and aged to become the bourbon we know and love.

I'd also shy away from Chang's recommendation to add citrus rind to bourbon unless it's in a cocktail.  My advice is to always at least try bourbon neat and then add a room temperature water or ice if necessary.  I think you get a better understanding of the nuances of bourbon when you sip it neat.  You taste more of the subtleties of the grain and the flavors that the wood imparts on the alcohol.  After all, it was bottled at that proof for a reason!  When it comes to higher proof bourbons, you can drink them neat but too much will kill ya.  I have a few on my home bar that are 133-143 proof (that's 71.5% alcohol!) that I either sip very, very slowly or add a little water to.  Adding ice or water will lower the proof and make the bourbon more drinkable.  It will also open up the whiskey and release hidden flavors that were previously masked by the alcohol burn on your palate. 

At the end of the day though, it's your bourbon.  Find one you enjoy and drink it the way you like it most. 

Buy American.  Buy bourbon!

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