American whiskey is a distilled beverage produced in the United States from a fermented mash of cereal grain.The production and labeling of American whiskey are governed by Title 27 of the U.S...
– a barrel-aged distilled spirit
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...
made primarily from corn
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...
. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky
Bourbon County, Kentucky
Bourbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is the remnant of what was previously a much larger Bourbon County, established as part of Virginia in 1785, and comprising what are now thirty-four modern Kentucky counties...
(which, in turn, was named after the French House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...
royal family). It has been produced since the 18th century. While it may be made anywhere in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
, it is strongly associated with Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...
specifically, and the American South in general.
Bourbon is served straight, diluted with water, over ice cubes, or mixed with soda and into cocktails, including the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, and the iconic mint julep
The mint julep is a mixed alcoholic drink, or cocktail, associated with the cuisine of the Southern United States.- Preparation :A mint julep is traditionally made with four ingredients: mint leaf, bourbon, sugar, and water. Traditionally, spearmint is the mint of choiceused in Southern states, and...