Home Today's Reason to Drink June 14

June 14

Today is National Bourbon Day. Not yesterday. Today. Yesterday was International Albinism Awareness Day. I’m glad we got that straight. Anyhoo, what is this liquor, besides a delicious, life-affirming gift from the merciful Almighty? It’s America’s national spirit, for one thing, and has been produced here since at least the 1820s. And, according to U.S. law, the mash from which it is distilled must be at least 51 percent corn, it has to be aged in new, charred-oak containers (usually but not always barrels), it has to be bottled at 80 proof or above, and it has to be made in the United States. It does not have to be made in Bourbon County, or Kentucky, nor does it legally have to be aged for a specific amount of time, which is why there are some godawful “bourbons” out there. True Story: Back in 2011, Australia’s sneaky and apparently shameless Bluestill Distillery began labeling its Black Widow whiskey as bourbon, and it kicked up a major international fracas. An actual diplomatic incident. Pressure was brought to bear, and Australia’s trade commission, reeling with shame, eventually made Bluestill back down. But we must remain vigilant, ever vigilant.