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Thanks to steady prices and some pop culture shout-outs, bourbon is quickly becoming a favourite drink that even kosher consumers can enjoy

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A Maker’s Mark is best served on the rock(s)

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America’s own whiskey, bourbon, is quickly becoming the alcoholic beverage de jour across North America and Europe, surpassing sales of every other category of spirit.

With inventory exceeding five million barrels, bourbon production hasn’t seen such a peak since the 1970s, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. The Distilled Spirits Council notes that sales increased more than ten per cent, reaching $2.4-billion last year.

Pop culture has followed the zeitgeist. Even the sexiest female superhero, Jessica Jones, is a huge devotee of bourbon, as evidenced by how many bottles the brassy Netflix gumshoe knocks back regularly.

Kentucky’s native drink claims more than a third of the whiskey share in the U.S.; more than any Scotch whiskeys, Irish whiskeys, or Canadian blends.

Stuart Brown, director of The Scotch Experience Inc, explains that bourbon is a “unique experience.”

The growth in popularity, he contends, is because “scotches might be pricing themselves out. Bourbon’s hanging in with competitive cost, which makes it easier for people to try a lot of variety out.”

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For kosher consumers, there’s an additional twist. It’s probably the most kosher of alcohols – except for pure vodka – on the market. That’s because the rules involving the production of bourbon mean the avoidance of various (potentially unkosher) additives, avoidance of non-kosher sherry casks so often used in many alcohols, and an adherence to regulations that guarantee a pure product.

For the uninitiated, bourbon legally must be produced within certain conditions, per the laws of the Bottle in Bond Act of 1897, enacted in response to distillers adulterating, diluting, and flavouring their beverages.

To call a beverage bourbon, it must be:

  1. At least 51 per cent corn content
  2. Distilled only in a fresh cask
  3. Made in Kentucky
  4. Free of any added flavourings, additives, or colourings

Each of these requirements has a profound effect on the drink.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a mouthful to say, but it goes down easy

The high use of corn makes the drink softer and sweeter than most harsh, abrasive and smoky scotches.

The one-use barrel ensures that there is zero chance of any other prior flavour, other than pure oak, rubbing into the drink. In fact, bourbon barrels, once used, are often sold to soy sauce and Tabasco makers – and given as leftovers to Scotland’s whiskey distilleries.

Being Kentucky-made, by corollary, means the waters contain limestone (calcium carbonate), which runs through the state’s water table. Limestone filters out the bad-tasting iron, and the calcium and magnesium bond with the alcohol’s carbohydrates, which is said to make for a smoother taste.

Suffice it to say, eschewing flavorings, additives or colorings means you’re drinking pure American whiskey.

Additionally, many might not know that during the Prohibition-era, bourbon was believed to possess medicinal qualities. Thus, despite the all-out ban on alcohol, it was permitted to purchase, provided one had a doctor’s prescription.

How It’s Made - Bourbon

Today, studies have revealed that whiskey – in moderation – does have health benefits (though research has not yet been done on bourbon specifically.)

It has been shown to reduce the chances of getting diabetes up to 40 per cent, by improving the body’s ability to regulate insulin and glucose levels, says a 2010 study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease.

Various studies from European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harvard University, and the European Heart Journal found whiskey’s anti-oxidants decreased the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes. A study from 2003 by the National Institute of Health, as well as a 2011 German study, says moderate whiskey drinking lowers one’s chances of dementia onset.

So, whether it’s a $200 Pappy Van Winkle, or a $20 Jim Beam, have a shot for health, or to simply to be a part of the trend sweeping across the world.

L’chaim!

Dave Gordon is the managing editor of TheJ.ca. His work has appeared in more than a hundred media around the world, including all of the Toronto dailies, BBC, Washington Times, and UK Guardian.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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