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How to drink Kentucky straight bourbon

The Setup

  1. Get a snifter: A snifter is glassware designed for brandy and cognac and it happens to be good with bourbon. Since you get lot of your hand on it, it warms the liquor through the glass. A shot glass will also suffice (the Marker’s Mark wax dipped ones are cool).
  2. Look into whiskey stones: If you like your bourbon slightly chilled so that it warms up on your tongue, try out whiskey stones. They’re rocks that can be cooled in the freezer and used like ice, except obviously they don’t melt or water-down your beverage. Ice is still fine, though, and can actually complement some whiskeys.
  3. Get some Woodford Reserve Double Oaked: I could have picked any number of bourbons, but this one is good for beginners and enthusiasts alike. Its smell is incredible – wood and chocolate – and it is powerful yet gentle, with lots of smoothness. It’s also more affordable than Pappy van Winkle.

The Three-Sip Method

  1. Smell the bourbon and then take a light sip to coat your mouth: Take a long smell, then sip just a little bit to coat your mouth. Doing so resets your palate from whatever you ate.
  2. Take a bigger sip and let it linger in your mouth: About half of the remaining volume should be consumed in the first big sip. Let it fill your mouth and don’t swallow too early.
  3. Finish off with a quicker sip: That sip gets you into the game. Now that you’re more comfortable (and probably buzzed), finish the glass off.

The Postgame

  1. Clean your palate with bourbon candy: These chocolates keep the buzz going while also providing the sweetness to clean your palate.
  2. Store your bourbon in a temperate, dark place: Don’t refrigerate it, but do keep it in a cabinet at room temperature and away from light.
  3. Look for other flavors: There are many to try. Pappy van Winkle is pricey but well-loved. Maker’s Mark has an unusual recipe and edge. Knob Creek is particularly strong.
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