(ARA) - Premium bourbon is one of the fastest-growing spirit categories in the world, enjoyed not only in seasons of turning leaves and cozy fires, but also during the warm, lingering days of summer. Whether mixed in refreshing cocktails or punching up the barbecue sauce, a fine Kentucky bourbon is a satisfying accompaniment to any summer grilling occasion.
Bourbon is the only straight spirit to rightfully claim the U.S. as its birthplace. Throughout the sun-splashed days and star-spangled nights of summer, there is no more all-American way to celebrate with good friends than with a premium bourbon aged at least six years.
Louisville native Tom Bulleit is founder of Bulleit Bourbon, recognized as one of the world's best whiskies at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He suggests that premium bourbons add a subtly complex character and distinctive body of flavors to summer cocktails and punches that no other spirit can. For example, the rye used in Bulleit Bourbon gives it a clean, dry taste that blends well with sweeter ingredients, producing consistently delicious results. As a flavoring for barbecue sauce, Bulleit Bourbon contributes hints of vanilla, caramel and wood smoke.
"Bourbon is highly underrated as a summertime drink," says Bulleit. "My wife Betsy enjoys it with tonic and a slice of lemon and everyone who tries it remarks on how light and refreshing it tastes. In barbecue sauce, it provides a rich and savory depth of flavor that no other ingredient can match."
The recipes below are two examples of fun, creative ways to enjoy authentic American bourbon all summer long, over ice as well as on the grill.
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounces mint syrup
3/4 ounces pineapple syrup
6 orange slices
4 ounces fresh sweet 'n sour
To prepare: Place the orange slices with the syrups and bourbon into a shaker tin filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour (do not strain) into a highball glass. Garnish with mint sprig.
Note: add a splash of club soda as optional.
(Designed by Las Vegas cocktail guru Francesco LaFranconi of Southern Wine & Spirits)
2 slices smoked bacon, fine dice
1 medium onion, fine dice
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup bourbon
1 large can tomato puree
1/3 cup Kentucky sorghum
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
bourbon to taste (approx. 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
In heavy saucepan, brown bacon and remove with slotted spoon. In residual grease, cook onion until transparent. Add bacon pieces and stir for one minute. Pour in bourbon and flame to cook off alcohol. Add remaining ingredients and return bacon to pot. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes until thickened. Add more bourbon to taste.
(Recipe created by Bob Perry, Executive Chef/GM, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, Bardstown, Ken.) Courtesy of ARAcontent