How to Drink Bourbon


If you have not tasted bourbon before, you would also have a hard time purchasing one since there are many choices available. Before learning how to drink bourbon, let’s find out first how to choose the right bottle for your preferences.

How to Choose Bourbon

The following are factors to consider before purchasing bourbon:

  • Age

    Just by looking at a certain bourbon’s color, you can already estimate its age. The older the bourbon, the deeper its color is. To be more specific, its brownish amber color becomes more intense. You should choose the one with a more vivid color for a fuller, sweeter taste.

  • Type

    You should actually prioritize this factor for bourbon has different types – hence different tastes. If you pick the wrong kind for your preferences, you might not enjoy bourbon that much.

    To make you understand the major types of bourbon, you should know first that this drink is usually made of barley, rye, and corn. If one ingredient has a higher level or is changed for some consumers, it becomes a specific kind. Examples are wheated, high corn and high rye bourbons.

    First, wheated bourbons obviously have wheat. However, wheat is made as a substitute for rye. This type has a softer taste. It is actually very delicious for vanilla and toffee becomes more dominant. Popular wheated bourbons are Rebel Yell, Van Winkle, and Maker’s Mark.

    Next, we have high corn. The federal production standard in the United States tells us that bourbon is acceptable if it has 51 percent corn. With high corn, however, the amount becomes larger. Bourbon, in return, becomes sweeter. Common examples are Baby Bourbon and Old Charter.

    Lastly, high rye is higher than the standard of 10 percent. This time, bourbon becomes spicier and bolder. It is perfect for advanced drinkers. If you prefer a strong flavor, you may choose Basil Hayden, Old Grand Dad, or Bulleit.

How to Drink Bourbon

Finally, let’s learn how to drink bourbon like a pro:

  • Glass

    To make you enjoy bourbon, even more, know which glass to use. The most ideal kinds are wide liquor glasses. These glasses enhance the smell of bourbon. It turns out that when bourbon strongly hits your nose, the taste becomes richer. Additionally, if you prefer on the rocks, wide-mouth glasses make it easier for you to put ice.

  • Amount

    Do not drink bourbon all the way. Might as well drink beer if that’s the case. Bourbon is one of the most ideal drinks for relaxing or lounging since it has an interesting flavor and aroma.

    The recommended amount of bourbon per serving is just 1/4 of the glass. Before taking your first sip, wait for several seconds. Savor the moment by smelling the drink. Actually, there is a way for properly smelling bourbon. Stick your nose above the rim and, at the same time, part your lips. By doing this, you get to experience the magic of bourbon since it makes you taste it just by smelling it.

    If you are curious right now about the exact scent of bourbon, there are several claims since people differ when it comes to their sense of smell. Besides, we already mentioned earlier that bourbon has varieties. Popular aroma descriptions are matches, caramel, vanilla, and old wood.

  • Taste

    There is also a correct way of tasting bourbon. Simply take a sip, not a gulp. Once the drink enters your mouth, roll your tongue so you can taste the bourbon all over your taste buds. When you are finally satisfied, swallow the drink.

    It becomes even more exciting for the aftertaste is memorable. Let the aftertaste tickle your tongue for a few seconds. Then, breathe out through your mouth and nose at the same time. The intense flavor starts to dominate your senses, which is probably the exact reason why bourbon can be relaxing to drink.

    Beginners might not enjoy the experience at first because of the distracting sensations bourbon gives inside the mouth. However, that’s the drink’s charm. With consistency, drinking novices will learn to love the depth of bourbon.

  • Cocktail

    Mixing bourbon with other drinks makes it tolerable for people who just cannot take strong liquor. Pure ice and water may help to soften the taste, but cocktails can completely eliminate the “bite” of bourbon.

    The most popular bourbon-based cocktail is the Manhattan. It is a classic drink for it has been existing for more than a century already. Next is the Mint Julep. It is a favorite in the southern part of the U.S. It has a really refreshing taste. For a simpler and more budget-friendly cocktail, go basic with bourbon and good old Coke.

How to Cook with Bourbon

As bonus knowledge on how to enjoy bourbon, we are giving you tips on how to cook with this drink. Its aroma and taste can truly enhance flavors.

  • Meat

    Bourbon can be added to a hot pot with beef as well as herbs and spices. It helps cooking and softening the meat until it turns into a delightful brown color.

  • Chili

    The taste of bourbon can be versatile, too. It can be mixed with a lot of ingredients to produce delicious chili. It can be combined with olive oil, spicy peppers, and vegetables.

  • Mustard

    Take mustard’s basic taste to a whole new level by adding bourbon in it. To make the pair more effective, neutralize the strong flavors with honey. The result is one mature condiment for simple finger foods such as pigs in a blanket.

  • Vinaigrette

    Salads can be boring to eat because of the bland or strange taste of usual vegetables. With bourbon, however, you might enjoy the dish more than ever. Bourbon vinaigrette is great with spinach.

  • Sandwiches

    Bourbon is ideal for any sandwich – even grilled cheese! It can be added to caramelized onions for a smokier flavor. The result is one crunchy sandwich with a more exciting taste.


In choosing which type of bourbon to drink, you really should consider your palate and the taste of each variation. Once you purchase the right bottle for you, slowly enjoy the wonders of bourbon by following the right way of smelling and tasting it.

If you are inviting friends over in the near future, learn how to serve bourbon to make your gathering even more exciting. For other interesting facts about drinking, find out how to store scotch, make a whiskey sour, and drink absinthe.