Some call it the true American Spirit, an authentic representation of tradition and an honest product of good old-fashioned hard work. Known simply as bourbon, it is one of the most revered spirits in the world.
An amber-colored whiskey, bourbon is distilled and aged for two to seven years, which gives it its rich flavor and deep color. Because its primary ingredient is corn, it has a slightly sweet character that isn’t present in other grain whiskeys.
Bourbon is originally from Kentucky, where it is still made via the traditional distillation process. Now made by more than 2,000 distilleries in the country, bourbon has undoubtedly made its mark in the global liquor industry.
Of course, owning a bottle of quality bottle of bourbon entails some degree of responsibility in caring for it properly. This includes storing it in a manner befitting such a revered spirit.
Whether you plan on purchasing a prized bottle or a crate of your favorite brand, you owe it to yourself to learn how to store it in a way that preserves its best qualities. Here are some tips on how to keep bourbon so that you can enjoy it to the fullest when you finally crack the seal.
Tips for storing your newly-purchased bourbon
Keep your bourbon at room temperature. It might seem like a good idea to keep your bourbon in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. But most experts agree that storing it at room temperature is the best option.
Why shouldn’t you refrigerate bourbon? Keeping spirits in extremely cold environments can alter its flavor considerably. If you want to preserve the taste as the distiller intended it, it would be best to keep the bottle on a shelf, cupboard, or in a liquor cabinet.
Keep the bottle upright. Some wines are best stored horizontally or at an angle. Not so with bourbon, which is best kept standing upright. Laying your bottle down on its side will drench the cork in the fiery liquid. This will eventually melt the natural wax and impart unpleasant flavors to the spirit.
Store the bottle in a cool, dark place. As with all spirits, it is advisable to keep your bourbon away from heat and sunlight. Again, this will preserve the taste and color better, so you can enjoy your drink to the fullest when the right time comes.
Storing opened bottles of bourbon
Of course, you can hardly be blamed for wanting to get a taste of your prized bottle of bourbon, even if you don’t necessarily plan on finishing off the entire bottle. What is the best way to preserve the rest of the liquor? Here are some suggestions:
Don’t wait too long to finish the rest. Ideally, you will want to consume all the bourbon within a few months after opening it. Like all spirits, bourbon continues to oxidize after you open the bottle. If you let it sit for too long, it will lose a lot of the flavor and color that makes it so special.
Replace the cork. The cork that initially came with your bottle of bourbon generally does a great job of preserving the spirit’s quality. But it’s another matter entirely after you crack the seal.
To ensure the continued high quality of your liquor, consider replacing the cork with one of those stoppers commonly used with wine bottles. They won’t crumble and disintegrate like cork and won’t add any weird flavors to the spirit.
Putting your bottle of bourbon on display
Some bottles of bourbon are so beautiful and striking that they are almost works of art in their own right. If you are one of those bourbon enthusiasts for whom the look of the bottle is just as important as its contents, you will probably want to display your cherished spirit flatteringly.
A glass case or a traditional wooden display cabinet is a great way to show off your bourbon and other spirits. Depending on how valuable your bottle is, you may even want to fit the case with strategically positioned spotlights.
Whatever you decide, it would be best to keep your bottles out of reach of young children and pets. Make sure that any shelf that holds spirits is high enough so that kids can’t bump into it or reach the bottle.
Of course, the same basic rules for storing spirits apply. Keep the bottles away from direct sunlight and temperature extremes. It is also advisable to dust the case periodically so that your bourbon always looks as impressive as the day you took it home.