National Bourbon Day commemorates America's Native Spirit every year on June 14. The drink, made with corn, limestone, white oak, and fire, was first made in the United States in the 18th century. The day also celebrates the global success of Bourbon whose international markets include Japan, Canada and The UK.
Bourbon is an American whiskey that is made from corn and aged in a barrel. The science of distilling was brought to America, more precisely to the territories that are now Kentucky and Virginia, by Scottish and Scots-Irish settlers.
How and where Bourbon as a whiskey drink originated is not very clear, because there are not many documents from the time regarding the conception of the drink. Consequently, there are many stories and legends of the possible origins of the drink.
A common but likely false story about the invention of bourbon credits Elijah Craig, a minister and distiller from Kentucky, as the mind behind the drink. Craig is said to have been the first person to age the drink in oak casks, which is what gives bourbon its distinctive color and taste. Most historians agree, however, that bourbon probably didn't originate with one single person, but was rather the product of several people experimenting with distilling and aging whiskey in barrels, a process that had existed in Europe for centuries.
The etymology of the name for bourbon is also disputed, with some believing that the name was given because of the drink's conception in Bourbon County in Virginia and Kentucky, and others arguing that the name comes from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, where bourbon was very popular as a cheaper alternative to cognac.
In order for whiskey to be considered bourbon, it has to follow some legal requirements, such as being made of at least 51% corn, aged in charred oak barrels and it must be produced in the United States.
What to do for National Bourbon Day
The popularity of the drink has led to it being available all over the world, and now Bourbon Day is also celebrated globally. Many restaurants and bars will offer bourbon at reduced prices to celebrate the day.
In Kentucky, many distilleries participate in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Urban Bourbon Trail, where participants go across different distilleries to try their bourbons and learn more about the process of making the drink.