Words of wisdom, crafty cocktail recipes, and friendly tips & tricks.
FATHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE FOR THE BOURBON DAD
Out with neck ties and grilling tools. Dad doesn't want another pair of socks, and he DEFINITELY doesn't need another tie to add to his collection. This Father's Day, get the bourbon dad in your life what he really wants: the perfect essentials for his bar cart and whiskey cabinet. We've taken the guesswork out of gifting with this guide, so you can shop with confidence and find something dad is sure to love. For the Entertaining Dad For the bourbon dad who loves to entertain, consider a bar cart that will store all of his bourbon bottles and barware in one place. This way, he can easily roll it out when company comes over and show off his collection. Buy the Tabiauea Bar Cart For the Bourbon Loving Dad Our fan favorite seasonal coffee infused bourbon is a tough one to beat. Winning the highest achievement in the sprits industry – a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this bourbon is perfect for the dad who loves a good his coffee as much as he loves his bourbon. Buy Oak & Eden Bourbon & Brew For the Recipe Following Dad Every bourbon dad needs a go-to guide for making his favorite cocktails. This bartending book has everything he needs to know, from how to make classic drinks like the old fashioned to more creative concoctions. Buy The Bar Tender's Guide Book For the Home Mixology Dad This sleek copper bar set is perfect for the bourbon dad who loves mixing drinks. The set includes a shaker, jigger, strainer, and stirrer, so he can make any cocktail his heart desires. Buy Godinger Copper Bar Tools Set For the Campfire Drinking Dad Every bourbon dad needs a good mug to enjoy his favorite bourbon on the rocks. This YETI Rambler mug will keep his drink cold for hours, all the while sipping in style, so he can enjoy it at his leisure. Buy YETI Rambler Mug For the Rye Loving Dad While this list is primarily for bourbon dads, we would be remissed if we didn't include a rye whiskey for the dads who prefer a quality rye. While most rye whiskeys are deep & spicy, Oak & Eden Rye & Spire is uniquely smooth due to the charred American Oak spire placed in the bottle. Buy Oak & Eden Rye & SpireREAD THE STORY
WHAT IS BOURBON MADE FROM?
What Is Bourbon Made From? Bourbon is the most American of all the liquors and spirits in the world. But is America’s native spirit really any more special than other alcoholic beverages? What is it that makes bourbon special? And what exactly is it made from? If you want to know what bourbon is made of, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled all of our bourbon knowledge to give you a complete guide on one of the best kinds of whiskey anywhere in the world. What Is Whiskey? Before we dive into bourbon, we need to cover a few basics about whiskey itself. Unlike bourbon, whiskey isn’t a distinctive product of the United States. There are several different types of whiskey, all of which have unique elements and requirements, but at their core, they all share a few key characteristics. Whiskey is a distilled spirit made from distilled cereal grains, commonly corn, wheat, barley, and rye. Whiskey is hard liquor and is at least 40% alcohol by volume ( ABV). Whiskey is usually aged in wooden barrels, often for years, before bottling and consumption. Whiskey is anywhere from pale amber to deep brown in color, depending on the aging process and grains used. What Is Bourbon? Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey that originated in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Nowadays, straight bourbon can be found anywhere in the United States but must be from Kentucky to be labeled as Kentucky bourbon. Bourbon must also be made with a sour mash bill of at least 51 percent corn, with the rest being made from a combination of additives which commonly include wheat, malted barley, and rye. This iconic American whiskey has the caramel and vanilla flavor profile that America has grown famous for. Some of the most popular bourbon producers in the U.S. today include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Town Branch, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. While Jack Daniels is a renowned Tennessee whiskey, it’s technically not bourbon. How Is Bourbon Made? The whiskey-making process is quite varied around the globe, depending on the country of origin and the type of whiskey being made. Bourbon is one of the most highly regulated whiskeys in the world, with the steps of the process closely monitored for quality and consistency across bourbons. Here is an in-depth look at how the liquor is made at bourbon distilleries and what makes it so delicious. Step One: Selecting and Mashing the Grains The first step of the bourbon-making process is the selection of the grains. The mixture of grains used in bourbon is the first of many regulated aspects of the process. All bourbons must be made with a mash bill containing at least 51% corn. The other 49% of grains can be made up of more corn, rye, barley, or wheat, depending on the specific distillers' recipe. Each distiller tends to have its own specific blends, using grains carefully sourced from around the United States and the world at large for the best and most specific flavor profiles possible. Once the mash bill is prepared, the grains are ground up very fine and then added to a large vat where it is combined with hot water to create a porridge-like substance, which is called the mash. This whole process is called “mashing” and helps to release the sugars in the grains before fermentation. Step Two: Fermenting the Grains The next step of the bourbon-making process is the fermentation and maturation of the grains. This is the process that actually produces the alcohol that is in our favorite spirit. The mash is placed into a new tub or tank, where yeast is introduced. This yeast then feeds on the sugars that were released during the mashing process, which has the byproduct of producing alcohol. The fermentation process for straight bourbon whiskey takes anywhere from 48 hours to 96 hours, depending on factors like temperature, humidity, type of grains, and type of yeast used for fermentation. When fermentation is complete, the mash will reach 7-10% ABV, at which point it can be called the distiller’s beer. Step Four: Distillation The next, and perhaps one of the most important steps of bourbon production, is distillation. Distillation is the process of purifying and increasing the alcohol content of liquor. Distillation was first invented and used in ancient Mesopotamia to produce aromatics and perfumes. Distillation has been used in whiskey production for over a thousand years, starting in Ireland and Scotland. Bourbon is produced using the column still distillation method, which is a more modern version of distillation than pot distillation (the older method many other kinds of whiskey used). In a column distiller, the distiller feeds the distillers beer into the column, where it is heated to boiling by the infusion of hot water vapor. This causes the alcohol to vaporize, rising through the column until it hits the first condenser plate. The condenser plates are metal plates in the column still that alternate up the height of the column. When the alcohol vapors reach the plates, they condense back into liquid. From here, the vapors are redistilled in a pot called a doubler. Then the rising hot water vapor heats the condensed liquid back into vapor, where it rises to the next plate to repeat the process. Eventually, the gasses are captured and funneled into the condenser still where the spirit is brought back to its liquid state at around 70% ABV. Step Five: Aging From the column still, the spirit then goes into new, charred white oak barrels to be aged for a minimum of two years. The charred new oak casks give bourbon its distinct vanilla notes and sweetness. Using these oak containers is one of the legal requirements for a spirit to be labeled bourbon. As the whiskey rests in the wooden barrels, the porous wood adds its flavors and aromas to the wood. Over time, this works to purify the whiskey, remove the harsh flavors, and add new and exciting elements to the flavor profile. If you’re ever wondering how old a specific bottle of bourbon is, you’ll find an age statement on the label. In general, the older the bottle, the rarer it is. Step Six: Bottling Once the whiskey has finished aging, it is ready to be bottled and sold for consumption. Many distillers will mix many barrels of whiskey together before bottling to create uniformity. If a bottle of whiskey contains only whiskey that was aged in one barrel together, then that is called a single barrel whiskey. Step Seven: In-Bottle Finishing For most whiskeys and bourbons, the whiskey-making process is complete. But at Oak & Eden, we take things one step further. We use a technology we call in-bottle finishing to add flavors and finishing notes to our whiskey while it sits in its bottle waiting for you to drink. In every bottle of Oak & Eden whiskey, you will find our patented wooden spires: spiral-cut pieces of wood designed for maximum surface area. These spores are selected, spiced, and prepared precisely for each different blend of Oak & Eden Whiskey to give each bottle and blend the perfect finishing touch. So What Is Bourbon Made From? Now that we understand what exactly goes into the bourbon-making process, we can understand a little bit clearer what bourbon is actually made from. First and foremost, bourbon is made from grains, of which at least 51% needs to be corn. The other grains used can be any combination of barley, rye, or wheat. Bourbon must also be made using column distillation instead of pot distillation, another distillation technique used for other whiskies, like Scotch. And finally, bourbon must be aged in new oak barrels with char on the inside. While you may not consider the barrel an important ingredient in the bourbon, we certainly do. The wood that whiskey is aged in is where most of the flavor and all of the color of whiskey come from. This means that, by some counts, the barrel is the most important ingredient in any whiskey, not just bourbon. Is Bourbon More Special Than Other Varieties of Whiskey? All this commotion about bourbon whiskey may have you starting to feel that bourbon is the pinnacle of whiskey and no other whiskey could compare. But bourbon is just one of the many regional varieties of whiskey throughout the globe. While bourbon has seen a bit of a global resurgence in recent decades, there are great whiskeys made across all varieties and in all regions of the globe. From smoky Scotch to smooth Irish whiskey, there are plenty of whiskey blends and options for all tastes and flavors. Here at Oak & Eden, we offer a variety of whiskeys, including bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskey. We also offer some special blends that combine our whiskey with flavors of cold brew coffee and more. You can learn more about our story and our whiskey here. What Is Bourbon Made From: Takeaways Bourbon is the most famous American-made whiskey in the world and is notorious for its balanced, sweet, and warm flavor profile. There are a lot of distinctions that make bourbon unique that all bourbons must meet to legally call themselves bourbon. Bourbon whiskey must be made with a mash bill of at least 51% corn. Then the whiskey must be made in the United States and distilled using column distillation. From there, the whiskey must be aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years before bottling and consumption. Oak & Eden Whiskey goes through an extra step, which is in-bottle finishing. Our carefully crafted wooden spires add subtle flavor notes to our fully aged whiskeys while they are in the bottle waiting for you to drink. This gives our whiskeys their creamy, smooth, and complex flavors. Give Oak & Eden whiskey a try and see what difference the spire makes. Sources: Coffey still | Whisky Advocate What is Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? | BourbonCountry What's the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey? | Food & WineREAD THE STORY
WHAT IS WHISKEY? WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What Is Whiskey? What You Should Know There are usually a few bottles of different whiskeys from different distilleries at every bar. Whiskey is one of the five core liquors — vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey — which are the most popular liquors globally. But beyond that, do you really know what whiskey is? Sure, it’s alcohol, but what’s in it? Whether you have never had a sip of whiskey in your life and are looking to get into it, or you are a seasoned whiskey sipping expert, you might be surprised just how much about whiskey you didn’t know. Here are a couple of the essential facts about whiskey that you should know to best enjoy this delicious spirit. Whiskey: The Basics There are dozens of different varieties of whiskey that are all distinct regional creations that have unique tastes, flavors, production techniques, and histories. A few examples of common whiskey nomenclature include: Single-malt whiskey or single distillery whiskey Canadian whiskey Scottish whisky (Scotch) American whiskey (Bourbon) Irish Whiskey Corn whiskey Whiskey from Japan Whiskey cocktails like an old fashioned or whiskey sour At its core, however, there are some things that all whiskey types share, no matter where they came from. Whiskey is an amber to the brown-colored distilled spirit made from fermented grains of varying blends and varieties depending on local grains and tastes. This mash of cereal grains often includes some corn. Whiskey is hard liquor and usually has an alcohol content of about 40% ABV. It’s typically distilled and then aged in wooden casks for some time before they are eventually bottled. This aging process is a major component of the flavors of each specific different kind of whiskey. Each whiskey is unique in flavor, but common flavor notes across varieties of whiskey are warm, spicy, caramelly, nutty, woody, and toasty. When Was Whiskey Invented? The origin of whiskey holds plenty of its own clues about what whiskey has to offer and the flavors of whiskey around the globe. The story of whiskey all starts with the discovery of the distillation process, which through the use of alternated boiling and condensation, produces a stronger alcoholic product. Distillation was first used in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000 B.C, making it over 4000 years old. Distillation slowly spread throughout Greece and then Europe, where the process was used to distill everything from aromatics to drinking water to alcoholic beverages. The first time that we see whiskey coming up is in the 1000s A.D., when monks in Scotland, unable to ferment alcoholic beverages from grapes, began fermenting grain mashes that would be distilled to become the first whiskies. Whiskey was originally referred to as aqua vitae, Latin for the water of life, which eventually became known as whiskey. Distilleries became quite successful in Ireland and Scotland, and as Europeans immigrated to the United States, distilleries came with them. Eventually, this led to the proliferation of distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee, which produce some of the world's finest bourbons, ryes, and Tennessee whiskies. What Are the Different Kinds of Whiskey? There are many different kinds of whiskey, each with its own unique requirements, ingredients, styles, and flavors. Here is a little overview of what each kind of whiskey is. Bourbon Whiskey Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is uniquely American. There are several things that make a bourbon a bourbon, but first and foremost, all bourbon has to be made in the United States. Rye Whiskey Rye whiskey, unlike bourbon whiskey, does not have to be made in the United States of America. In fact, rye whiskey is very popular in Canada in addition to the United States. Rye whiskey uses a mash bill of at least 51% rye. This gives rye its distinctive, spicy flavor profile that people love. Tennessee Whiskey Tennessee whiskey is much like bourbon whiskey, except Tennessee whiskey must be made in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee whiskey must use a Maysville with at least 51% corn and must also go through a special charcoal maturation process that mellows the flavors in the whiskey. A prime example of this type of whiskey is Jack Daniel’s. Scotch Whisky Scotland was one of the first places in the world to produce whiskey. Scotch whiskies are typically malt whiskies, meaning they are made using mostly malted barley in the mash bill. Scotch whiskies must also be made in Scotland as well as be aged for a minimum of three years also in Scotland. Irish Whiskey Jameson is the most famous of the Irish whiskies around the globe, and while they may be similar to Scotch, they are distinct. Irish whiskey, also known as Gaelic whiskey, is made with barley (typically unmalted). This gives Irish whiskey its smoothness and removes some of the smokiness that Scotch whiskey is famous for. Japanese Whisky Japanese whisky is a newcomer to the global whisky world, and it is spelled without the “e,” just like Scotch. Japanese whisky is based on Scotch, using manly malted barley, often imported from Scotland. Japanese whisky uses the same distillation method as Scotch and is then aged in American wood, Japanese wood, or Sherry casks, which give Japanese whiskey its unique flavors like citrus and incense. How Is Whiskey Made? The process of whiskey is a long and complicated process, but one that takes us from simple grains to one of the finest beverages in the world. Here is an inside look at each step of the process one by one. Pickling and Fermenting the Grains Every great whiskey starts with different types of grains like wheat, barley, corn, and rye, which are carefully selected and combined in precise proportions to create the fermented mash bill, the recipe for the grains. These grains then have to be mashed for them to release the sugars, which is done by grinding the grains and combining them with hot water in a tank and then stirring and mixing. Once the grains have released their sugars, and the mixture has thickened, it is ready for fermentation. In a fermentation tank, yeast is introduced to the mash, which is then left to ferment for a few days before it is ready to move on. The fermentation process depends on the strain of yeast and the grains used. After the fermentation period is over, the distiller has a beer-like liquid between 7-10% ABV, often referred to as distillers beer. The Distillation Process Now the fermented grain mash liquid or distilled beer is ready for the distillation process. The distillation process is used to increase the volume of alcohol in something. There are a few different distillation methods, but all are based on evaporating and condensing liquids to remove impurities and unwanted items. Pot Still Distillation Pot still distillation is one of the popular whiskey-making methods for malt whiskeys, which are whiskies made with malted barley. The malting process replaces the mashing process for malted whiskies. But Bourbons and other grain whiskies do not go through pot distillation. In a post still, the distiller's beer is put in a still, a large metal pot, where it is heated to boil. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it evaporates quickly, and the gasses that rise off the boiling distiller's beer rise up into a tube that carries this gas into the second still, where it is condensed back into a liquid. The resulting liquid comes out at about 20% ABV, so the process is then repeated two more times to reach a final product that is typically around 60-70% ABV. Column Distillation Column distillation is the other common distillation process for whiskies and is the primary process for grain whiskies like bourbon, rye, and corn whiskies. Unlike pot stills which have to go through a batch process, column stills work continuously to the final product. The distiller’s mash is fed into the column still, where it is heated with hot water vapor, which causes the alcohol vapors to rise up the column. As the vapor rises, it repeatedly hits alternating metal plates in the column, which condense the vapors. Then, the rising steam, which is still being fed through the column, heats the liquid again, as it constantly condenses and evaporates over and over up the column, where it eventually reaches a tube connecting it to the condenser which leaves the final distilled spirit. Column stills are capable of very high distillation percentages, as high as 95%, although when distilling alcohol for consumption, they are not usually set to go that high. The Aging Process of Whiskey After distillation has been completed, the longest step of the process comes into play: aging. Much of whiskey's color, flavor, and aroma comes from the aging process rather than the distillation process. The aging process is where many of the rules and regulations surrounding different designations of whiskey are located. For bourbon, rye, and other American whiskies, the rules stipulate the use of new, charred oak barrels for the aging process. In other countries and styles, different distillers may use different woods and barrels that have previously been used for other purposes to create distinct flavor profiles and aromas for their own tastes. During the aging process, the wood is porous and imparts its flavor profiles, terpenes, and oils into the liquid, giving it both color and flavor. The Bottling Process of Whiskey From there, your favorite whiskey is then bottled with at least 40% ABV and sealed for consumption later. Depending on the distiller and the run of whiskey, several barrels are usually combined in one bottling. If only a single barrel is used in a bottle, then it is labeled as a single barrel or single cask whiskey. What Is Finished Whiskey? Many whiskeys are aged in just one barrel over the duration of the aging product. But other whiskies change barrels during the aging process, where the whiskey is “finished” with flavors from another wood. Finished whiskey is a way that distillers can add additional flavors and elements to their whiskies, depending on what flavor profile they want the whiskey to have. These finished whiskies can be more complex and varied than traditional single-barrel whiskey. What Is In-Bottle Finishing? In most whiskies, bottling is the final step of whiskey production, and from here, the bottle is sold and consumed. But for Oak & Eden whiskey, the process isn’t quite finished. We use a process that we invented called in-bottle finishing. In every bottle of Oak & Whiskey, you will find one of our specially designed wooden spires, designed for maximum surface area. This spire continues to flavor and finish your whiskey in the bottle, so it continues to improve and develop new flavors as it continues to rest in the bottle. Unlike a second barrel finishing, our in-bottle process allows the whiskey to receive its finishing notes in the bottle itself. The longer you have the bottle, the longer the flavors of the spire will have to infuse the whiskey with the subtle flavor notes that Oak & Eden whiskies offer. What Is Whiskey? The Takeaways Whiskey is a varied and diverse spirit with many different varieties and regional tastes and flavors that go into them. At its core, whiskey is a distilled grain spirit, typically made from corn, barley, wheat, and rye, which is then aged in wooden barrels. Whiskey is noted for its caramel and vanilla notes and flavors, as well as the woody and warm flavors common in whiskey. Whiskey is made through a process beginning with selecting the grain mash, fermenting the grains, distilling, and then aging and bottling the spirit when it is complete. There are many different specific types of regional whiskey styles, from bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, Irish whiskey, Scotch whisky, Japanese whisky, and Tennessee whiskey. Oak & Eden offers bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskies that you are bound to love. Our whiskies use a technique called in-bottle finishing to get the finest flavors and aromas out of your whiskey. If you have never tried a finished whiskey before, we promise you are going to love it. Sources: Japanese Whisky: The Origin Story | Whiskey Culture Coffey still | Whisky Advocate What is Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? | Bourbon CountryREAD THE STORY
WHAT IS WHISKEY MADE OF?
The next time you’re at the bar, consider gravitating towards the smoky, dark, and intense bite of whiskey. Whether you choose to sample this liquor on its own or indulge in a mint julep, a Manhattan, or an old fashioned, it promises to be simple, classic, and delicious.READ THE STORY