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Bourbon can be a contentious issue for drinkers. There are all kinds of “rules” when it comes to enjoying a glass, but few of these rules are actually helpful.
Instead of trying to figure out the sometimes intimidating world of bourbon on your own, these are the simple rules you need to know.
Okay, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, every whiskey lover would be thrilled to get his or her hands on a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle. But, generally speaking, there’s no need to break the bank when looking for a drinkable bourbon. It’s even possible to find a really great bottle for under $30. You’re going to drink it, after all, so why not save your pennies for the inevitable drunchies?
Many bourbon purists—the most vocal ones, anyway—would have you believe that the sweet, slightly smoky elixir is only good for drinking neat. How dare you even add ice! And though this is, indeed, a foolproof way to enjoy bourbon, it’s not the only one. Don’t be afraid to add ice or a little bit of water to open the full potential of your beloved whiskey. Mixers are also encouraged. There are hundreds of bourbon cocktails out there for a reason.
Want to take it a step further? Work bourbon into your desserts too. Think holiday treats like a boozy, chocolatey bourbon ball or a delightfully cold and creamy Bourbon, Vanilla and Chocolate Milk Shake.
Perhaps the most important rule of all, thou shalt not judge another’s bourbon technique. It can be tempting to preach to someone about how that bourbon, aged for 10 years and christened with the teardrops of angels, shouldn’t be tainted by apple juice or Coke—or with anything, for that matter. But the reality is that people can and will drink bourbon however they please. Most bourbon distillers and experts also agree that bourbon makes a killer base spirit for all kinds of cocktails. So instead of making someone feel bad about the drinks they like, enjoy your neat glass of bourbon—quietly.