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A boulevardier cocktail on a wooden table

What is bourbon?

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Our drinks expert Miriam Nice stirs up a classic boulevardier. Plus, get all the details on bourbon from industry aficionado Luke Comer.

Miriam Nice is a published author and illustrator. She has written more than 350 recipes for BBC Good Food @miriamjsnice.


Luke is UK drinks marketing manager at Samson & Surrey, representing FEW Spirits, Widow Jane and Brenne. He also owns Mother Mercy in Newcastle. @FEWspirits @mothermercybar

Bourbon know-how

Drinks expert and bar owner Luke Comer explains all you need to know about bourbon.

What makes a bourbon?

Bourbon has to be made in the US (95 per cent of bourbon is produced in the state of Kentucky), use at least 51 per cent corn (maize) in its mash bill (recipe), and must be aged in new, charred oak barrels.

How should it be served?

In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to serve bourbon. Great bourbons are versatile, and lend themselves to all ways of drinking. If you want to understand the liquid better, sampling it neat, or with just a splash of water, will give you the truest reflection.

Why is bourbon good for cocktails?

Bourbon can be mixed with a number of different flavours. There are some amazing innovations happening in the bourbon industry, which lend themselves to exciting mixed drinks.

Whisky cocktail in glass with cherry

What cocktails would you recommend for spring?

As we escape from the colder months, it’s a good opportunity to enjoy lighter drinks, like hi-balls or juleps. A julep made with fresh mint and lots of ice is superb, and showcases bourbon in an interesting way.

Can you recommend a bourbon cocktail to serve with food?

Bucks are great – cocktails made with bourbon, fruit, lemon and ginger beer. Strawberries work well, as does pineapple. After dinner, I like coffee and neat whiskey. I like our FEW Spirits Cold Cut bourbon, which goes from cask to bottling strength with cold brew coffee. It’s incredible, and ticks both boxes!

Boulevardier recipe

A classic – much like a negroni, but made with bourbon in place of gin. It’s often a more harmonious blend than the gin version.


See more bourbon inspiration...

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Bourbon, black cherry & bacon brownies


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