Today (14 June) is National Bourbon Day in America and our friends over the pond will be raising a glass to celebrate their native spirit. We have asked our brand manager and bourbon lover Susan Walkinshaw to tell us a bit more:
"At Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, we are so proud to represent two powerhouses of the bourbon world – Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam – as well as the Small Batch Bourbon Collection, including Knob Creek, Baker’s, Booker’s and Basil Hayden’s, which are all created at the Jim Beam distillery in Kentucky.
"Part of the appeal of bourbon and American whiskey is definitely its versatility. From the classic straight and on-the-rocks to a refreshing high-ball or elaborate cocktail, it is a liquid to suit all occasions and tastes.
"The initial boom in bourbon drinking in the UK came off the back of a nostalgia for 50s and 60s America – driven by shows such as Mad Men. According to research published in our Whisky Yearbook, in 2018 sales rose by 5.8% overall to make American premium a £125.4 million market in the UK across both retail and on-trade.
"Bourbon also pairs naturally with the ever-popular American-style food. Burgers, BBQ ribs, Buffalo wings and buttermilk chicken all lend themselves well to being washed down with a bourbon drink.
"Premium American whiskey has been enjoying a growing interest from drinkers across the UK recently, tapping into the ongoing consumer demand for brands that reflect craftsmanship and heritage. For instance, Marker’s Mark with its iconic hand-dipped red wax bottles and Jim Beam, which can trace its first barrel back to 1795 and sticks to the same closely-guarded recipe to this day.
"While American whiskey classic cocktails are best known for being stirred down and brown, we see a trend towards a lighter and more refreshing serve. My favourite is a Maker's Mark StarHill Spritz cocktail made with passionfruit liqueur and topped with sparkling wine. Spritz are a drinks category that is continuing to grow along with low-abv and summer-style drinking.
"Although in the words of current Jim Beam Master Distiller, Fred Noe, you should drink it 'any damn way you please!'"