As September approaches, it's time to prepare for the most-important month--Bourbon Heritage Month.
Unlike National Hot Dog Day or National Paint Your Toes Red Month, Bourbon Heritage Month is real and honors the bourbon industry every September.
The Kentucky governor signs a declaration every year to celebrate the state's heritage month, which coincides with the stills churning after a traditional short summer beak and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. But no matter where you are, you can and should celebrate Bourbon Heritage Month. Here are five tips to help you enjoy the most out of your September. Some may require a trip to the Bluegrass State.
1. Blind taste bourbons from at least three states. By now, your local liquor store should have bourbons from several states. I recommend conducting blind tastings to see if Kentucky is still king in your home.
2. Join the bourbon sub culture. Whether it's your local liquor store club or a private Facebook forum, Reddit or Twitter start enjoying bourbon with people you don't know. That way, you can get in an argument with them later about which bourbon is better.
3. Cook with bourbon. In Kentucky, bourbon is a little like salt and pepper. Season or drip to taste.
4. Attend the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. At the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, mechanical bull riding tends to occur at Wild Turkey events and great cigars are smoked at Heaven Hill's shindig, but there are many others to choose from.
5. Visit Shively, Kentucky. On the outskirts of Louisville, Shively was essentially built to support the distilling industry. Today, it's home to the Bulleit Experience at Stitzel-Weller, Brown-Forman's workhorse distillery and Michter's new distillery. While driving through town, take note of the street names. They're named after distilling legends.
Check out Fred Minnick's latest book, Bourbon: The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of An American Whiskey.