In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

What makes a perfect glass of bourbon?

These folks have a pretty good idea.

Everyone has an opinion on what makes a perfect glass of bourbon and there are plenty of places to do some research. We were invited to one of the oldest distilleries around Louisville, Four Roses to learn all about this classic American spirit.

Kentucky is the heart and soul of bourbon. Ninety-five percent of all bourbon in the world is made in this state. At Four Roses, they’ll happily show you how they turn cornmeal into one of the most popular spirits in the world.

You may think those fermenters full of corn and sugar would be kind of sweet. But they are not. Trust us, it’s worth waiting for the bourbon to age in the charred barrels that give the drink its signature flavor.

It’s that aging process that gives bourbon its signature flavor. No one knows exactly how bourbon came into existence, but legend has it the practice began right here in Kentucky as distillers shipped their product down the Ohio River.

Folks think that the journey changed the alcohol. Because it was being transported in charred oak barrels, it would pick up the color and the flavor we associate with modern day bourbon. So, it changed from whiskey to bourbon and picked up some of the sweetness we recognize today.

Four Roses has been around since the late 1800s. They even operated through prohibition by getting their bourbon named as a medicine. And, after all that time they’ve got the distillation process down to a science to make the perfect glass of bourbon.

Bourbon is more than just for drinking. Check out these recipes for bacon and pecan pie.

Do You Know the Difference between Bourbon and Whiskey?