Refreshing summer bourbon cocktails to celebrate National Bourbon Day

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Raise a glass to the only U.S. indigenous liquor, bourbon, on National Bourbon Day. Transform some of Kentucky’s finest into refreshing summer bourbon cocktails to mark the celebration.

June 14 celebrates National Bourbon Day. While some people don’t need an excuse to sip on Kentucky’s finest, the bourbon celebration is a good reason to enjoy a bourbon cocktail or two. Since the celebration comes during summer, refreshing summer bourbon cocktails are a great way to mark the occasion.

Bourbon has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Congress has declared the liquor “America’s Official Native Spirit.” The uniquely American liquor has a long storied history. Most people associate bourbon with Kentucky.

refreshing summer bourbon cocktails, Manhattan, photo by Cristine Struble

Although somewhat debated, the name bourbon came from Bourbon County in Kentucky. Some historians report that an early distiller, Elijah Craig, first created the bourbon people have come to sip. Trying to purify the white oak barrels, Craig charred the inside. As it sat during travel, the bourbon flavor became more smooth and slightly smoky oaked. People began to ask for the new liquor from the special barrels marked Bourbon County. The liquor became known as bourbon.

Today, the majority of bourbons hail from Kentucky. The liquor has particular regulations to be called bourbon. Two of specific regulations include the use of new, white oak barrels and distilled from at least 51% corn. Also, the bourbon must be aged a minimum of two years. But, most bourbons are aged longer, usually four to eight years.

From the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to bourbon dinners at various restaurants, bourbon is everywhere. Luckily, this versatile liquor can be enjoyed all year round. For warmer, summer months, refreshing summer bourbon cocktails. On June 14, National Bourbon Day is a perfect excuse to mix a perfect bourbon cocktail.