View Full Version : Bourbon WITH food?

07-05-2000, 00:43
I would really like to know if it is a common habit amongst Kentuckyans and Americans in general to have a bourbon with crushed ice, with food, e g T-bone steaks or b-b-q dishes?
Im writing an article right now about the traditional use of spirits with food, for example my own countrys smorgasbord with aquavit, reposado tequila with mexican dishes etc.
I recall a meeting two years ago in Lawrenceburg with Jimmy Russell. Me and my colleagues went to an ordinary steak-house with Mr Russell and he ordered a straight Wild Turkey (of course) with a lot of crushed ice in it. We, of course, did the same and it was lovely with the grilled meat.
Please, If anyone has any opinion in this topic, please let me know!

07-05-2000, 08:39
Hello Christina,

Welcome to our forum, we love to talk Bourbon here. Your question really touches three different areas:

Drinking alcoholic beverage in America is not universal, only about half of the people I know include alcoholic beverages as part of their weekly diet (this varies with the region, I live in the South). Most of these folks consume beer and wine (in that order of popularity). This preference is probably due to advertising and social momentum, as well as the common perceptions that beer is easier to acquire a taste for, and is more harmless since it contains less alcohol. I would imagine other factors include the German, English, and other ethnic backgrounds that brought a love of beer with them during immigration. After beer and wine, mixed drinks are next in popularity, with the drinking of straight whiskies a definite but growing minority. We who drink our whiskey straight like to think that we enjoy the experience more.

How a straight bourbon is prepared for drinking is another question, and, like so many aspects of America, there does not seem to be a standard. Some mix with Coke (shutter) over ice, some mix with water and ice, some water and no ice, some ice without water, and others like it neat (neither ice nor water). I normally like bourbon neat, but serving over ice must be more popular since most bar tenders here will ice a drink unless asked not to. And as if this were not enough variation, some folks like cubed ice and some prefer crushed.

In my experience, Americans will often drink their beverage of choice, prepared in the normal way they like it, with a meal as well as after dinner (and if it has been a bad day at work, before dinner). For me this is a shot of straight bourbon room temp, no ice, Wild Turkey being one of my favorites, about twice a week. As an example, our Fourth of July dinner last night included Cincinnati Chili over pasta, which went well with a shot of Elijah Craig 18 year old Bourbon.

I hope this and the other responses you get give you the snapshot of America you are looking for. When you have time I would be curious to know how popular Bourbon is in Sweden.

Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas

07-05-2000, 09:34
Hi Christina! Welcome to the Bourbon Lovers Paradise! Honey down south we not only have bourbon with our dinner we put it in the dinner. Try marinading some thick cut T-Bones or New York strips in your favorite bourbon. Regular Wild Turkey 101 proof will do very nicely thank you. Then grill over a charcoal fire with hickory chips for that great smokey flavor. Be sure to give the cook some Wild Turkey too! There is even a cooking class at the Bourbon Festival at Bardstown Kentucky. Cooking with bourbon is as traditional as drinking it.

Linn S.

07-05-2000, 09:38
OK Mark I'll bite what puts the Cincin in Cincinnati Chili?

Linn S.

07-05-2000, 10:47

You can get the full story and a recipe at the following web site of fellow forum member, gentleman, and bourbon scholar John Lipman:

Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas

07-05-2000, 13:44
Ah Ha! I should have known that John & Linda were the ones putting the Cin in Cincinnati Chili. Thanks Mark I'll go check out thier recipe box.

Linn S.

07-05-2000, 14:24
For the most part, bourbon is consumed as a cocktail--something to drink before or after a meal but usually not during the meal. In the South, however, you will see people drinking diluted whiskey (diluted either with water or ice) during a meal. I don't know that it is particularly associated with one food or another, but it certainly does complement steak, pork chops, bbq or, for that matter, fried chicken. As others mentioned, using whiskey in a sauce or marinade is probably more common.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

07-10-2000, 22:02
Thank you all for your answers!
You see, I work for the retail monopoly in Sweden (like those in Canada) and we have (until now) had a policy of making people prefer wine to spirits, due to the health aspects. Well, in my opinion that's kind of putting your head in the sand. It's perfectly easy to get drunk of wine and to become a wine-alcoholic, you just have to drink a little more of the liquid... And in Sweden we have, as a result of this attitude, a lot of people who thinks that all spirits are the same, and all equal "dangerous" to your health.
But, the winds have changed, and we will now in a big advertising campaign, show people our tremendous sortiment of different spirit beverages. We've actually got about 700 different types, including about ten Bourbons, and we will show people that you can sip most of them, and why not with dishes?
So, to answer your question, mmason, Bourbon is not a big sector in our sortiment, and due to the price policy, it's even getting smaller. Since people doesn't care about the taste, they prefer the much cheaper Canadian whisky. My mission with my article is to make the reader wanna taste GOOD spirits, where of course Bourbon is one of them!
Personally I prefer a Wild Turkey Rare Breed with some fresh swedish water in it, to sip through a long September evening in front of the fireplace. A Booker or Basil Haydn would be fine as well...

Best regards,
Christina H, Stockholm, Sweden

07-11-2000, 16:24

Thank you so much for the feedback and for the work you are doing for the sake of Bourbon in Sweeden. You have chosen one of our best, Rare Breed is also one of my favorites, although I have not had Swedish water (would love to try it).

I also run into the wide preception that higher proof spirits are bad since they contain more alcohol. I suppose that if one were to mix vodka with fruit juice in order to blunt the taste and consume the maximum alcohol in the shortest time, this use of a spirit would be worse than beer or wine. In my humble experience, sipping Bourbon straight, or with a little water, allows me to relax and enjoy the experience with less alcohol intake than if drinking beer or wine. The more intense flavors and alcohol punch seem to satisify in small doses. So for me, drinking Bourbon is a more responsible, self limiting, activity. I always have a tall glass of water on hand and can easily drink two or three glasses of water during a night of sipping two shots of Bourbon. Drinking water is healthy, right? Only a couple of Bourbons have ever given me a headache, so I have not returned to them. Beer and wine give me a headache more often.

One other effect I am sure you are aware of is the body's natural valve between the stomach and small intestines. This valve closes when the stomach is exposed to posions or high alcohol levels. I do not know the exact alcohol percentage, but for me 12 percent wine or 19 percent port does not close this valve and I feel the effects of the alcohol much sooner as it is absorbed quickly by the small intestines. The amount of food in the digestive tract is a factor of course. A 40 percent Bourbon causes this valve to close, and the alcohol is absorbed much more slowly (through the thicker wall of the stomach?) Kind of ironic that I can regulate my alcohol absorption much easier with a higher proof Bourbon than either beer or wine.

Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas