Before Louisville, I was not a bourbon drinker. I drank margaritas, gin and tonics, and wheat beer (mostly Blue Moon). I don’t remember my first bourbon drink. I remember my first whisky drink — it was in Paris in 2004, and I was very sure I wanted a whisky soda (“Are you sure you do not want a sex on the beach?” Ew, no, garçon). What I wanted was a whisky and coke, and that’s what I thought soda was. Maybe I should have had the fruity drink.
Anyway, I don’t remember my first bourbon in Kentucky, but I doubt I immediately loved it. I imagine it had to be iced down and sugared up. I imagine touring distilleries and hearing from tour guides about caramel and vanilla notes helped develop my taste. I only imagine, though, because now it’s hard to recall not loving bourbon. It’s what I want on your cocktail menu; it’s my go-to when I travel out of town. I love reading about it. I love learning about it. I’ll go on those distillery tours with any visitor who’s interested and regret that I haven’t visited all the distilleries on the Bourbon Trail yet.
I’m far from a bourbon-expert; I can never remember what exactly makes bourbon bourbon. But I know what’s not bourbon. I will miss living somewhere where the liquor stores have a wall of bourbon and staff who can tell me about their current favorite, affordable rye. We may be stocking bottles of Old Forrester in anticipation of the move (we only have one so far). I don’t know what the bourbon situation in Boston is, though this gives me hope. And they have Old Forrester everywhere, right? RIGHT?