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When is National Bourbon Day?

June 14th is National Bourbon Day.

What is National Bourbon Day?

Named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, bourbon is “America’s Native Spirit”—that what Congress says, and Americans seem to agree. For its flavors and enchanting amber hues, National Bourbon Day celebrates the rise and continued popularity of bourbon.

What qualifies as bourbon? The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits has laid down some pretty strict rules. For one thing, it must be made in the United States. Kentucky is a good place, though any ol’ American soil will do. However, the Bluegrass State’s distillers attribute bourbon’s distinctive flavor to Kentucky’s limestone spring waters.

All whiskeys are distilled from a mixture of grains called the mash. Bourbon mash must fit a narrow range of grain ratios, mostly corn. The near-final product has to be aged in new oak barrels. No second-hand barrels for these folks.

Large distillers then mix hundreds of these barrels in large batches to achieve a particular flavor, though especially good barrels will be used by themselves. These are sold as single-barrel bourbons, and every bottle will have a unique flavor profile, bestowed by its barrel.

So whether you make a cocktail or drink it straight, be sure to enjoy America’s spirit—the distilled one—on National Bourbon Day!

Fun facts about National Bourbon Day!

  • Kentucky is the birthplace for 95% of the world’s bourbon.
  • Classic bourbon uses a mash made of 51-79% Indian corn. Corn whiskey typically uses about 70%.
  • Small batch whiskey may sound great, but no regulations actually dictate what counts as a “small batch” of bourbon.
  • After the distillation process finishes, the grains are shipped off to farms as cattle feed, called “slop.”

How to celebrate National Bourbon Day:

Pour yourself a glass, sit on the porch, and chat with a friend. Or mix up a cocktail. If you’ve never tried bourbon cocktails, a Whiskey Sour is a good place to start, but you could also whip up a Mint Julep or an Old Fashioned.

What’s the hashtag for National Bourbon Day?

Share your bourbon celebrations on social media with #NationalBourbonDay.