In theHoliday Spirit by David W. Brown Though its precise origin is unclear, what is known is that bourbon was born in America in the mid- to late- 18th century. It was a pioneer’s drink, made with sweet corn and Kentucky water fermented in white oak, and it found a fast following across the burgeoning young nation. Some say the spirit was named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a major port city from America’s earliest days and the place through which countless barrels and bottles would pass. Some suggest it was named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. Regardless of its name origin, the word “bourbon” soon became synonymous with any corn-based whiskey. It was a serious drink for serious drinkers. In more modern times, it was the distinct absence of bourbon that led eventually to its pronounced popularity. During World War II, American GIs in need of an up- lift were reduced to imbibing “ersatz whiskey”—mostly what are called “grain neutral spirits” that are made of just about anything that could be fermented and distilled. This worked out to bottles of “whiskey” that were essen- tially 80 percent vodka and 20 percent the good stuff. When the war ended, soldiers returning home were thirsty and understandably ready for some real whiskey. Post- war, bourbon exploded on the scene, but in satisfying the demand for the bourbon boom of the ' 50s, the industry overly commercialized its products, and bourbon lost its prestige. In satisfying the demand for the bourbon boom of the fifties, however, the industry overly commercialized and lost its prestige. “It was akin to selling Rolls-Royces for $25,000,” says Mark Brown, the president and chief executive officer of Sazerac Company, one of the largest spirit companies in the world. “It tends to mess up your image.” The American spirit invented this uniquely American spirit, and it was the same sort of tenacity and know-how that would ultimately save it. Master distillers rolled up their sleeves and began asking themselves what made bourbon great anyway? What made it distinctive? What advantages did it have over foreign liquors? Who made up its market, and what flavor profiles best suited both drink and drinker? “Pioneers like Bill Samuels Sr., his wife, Margie, and Elmer T. Lee then launched handcrafted bourbons like Maker’s Mark and Blanton’s, aimed at communi- cating that bourbon is expensive to make and a finely crafted product,” says Brown. Their artistry helped defined bourbon as being versatile enough for mixing in cocktails, while retaining the smoothness, subtlety and complexity necessary to be enjoyed neat. The work of these master distillers made bourbon particularly acces- sible; with a little time and reflection, even a drinker new to the liquor can learn to pick out such notes in its flavor as vanilla, honey and oak...

SARAH BAIRD Sarah Baird is the author of multiple books including New Orleans Cocktails and Flask , which was released this summer. A 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Saveur, Eater, Food & Wine and The Guardian , among others. Previously, she served as restaurant critic for the New Orleans alt-weekly, Gambit Weekly , where she won Critic of the Year in 2015 for her dining reviews. DAVID W. BROWN David is a regular contributor to The Atlantic , The Week and Mental Floss . His work also appears in Vox , The New York Times , Writer’s Digest and Foreign Policy magazine. He is a regular commentator for television and radio. ROMNEY CARUSO Romney is a Mandeville resident and has been a professional photographer for over 25 years. He has styled and photographed food for hundreds of local and national publications, and for several cookbooks. His portrait series of chefs and bartenders, titled “Shakers, Knives & Irons,” was displayed in New Orleans and Los Angeles. WAYNE CURTIS Wayne is the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails , which was updated and re-released in 2018. He’s written frequently about cocktails, spirits, travel, and history for many publications, including The Atlantic , The New York Times , enRoute , The Wall Street Journal , The Daily Beast , and Garden & Gun . He lives in New Orleans. JUSTIN A. NYSTROM Justin is the Peter J. Cangelosi/ BEGGARS Distinguished Professor of History at Loyola University New Orleans where he teaches

American History, Foodways, and Oral History. He is the author of the James Beard nominated Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture and New Orleans after the Civil War: Race, Politics, and a New Birth of Freedom. ROBERT SIMONSON Robert writes about cocktails, spirits, bars, and bartenders for The New York Times . He is also a contributing editor and columnist at PUNCH . His books include The Old-Fashioned (2014), A Proper Drink (2016) and 3-Ingredient Cocktails (2017), which was nominated for a 2018 James Beard Award. He was also a primary contributor to The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails (2015). Simonson won the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation's 2019 Spirited Award for Best Cocktail and Spirits Writer, and his work, which has also appeared in Saveur, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, New York magazine, and Lucky Peach , has been nominated for a total of 11 Spirited Awards and two IACP Awards. A native of Wisconsin, he lives in Brooklyn. LIZ THORPE Liz Thorpe is a world-class cheese expert. A Yale graduate, she left a "normal" job in 2002 to work the counter at New York's famed Murray's Cheese. She is the founder of The People's Cheese , and author of The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You'll Love and The Cheese Chronicles . MICHAEL TISSERAND Michael is a New Orleans-based author whose books include The Kingdom of Zydeco ; Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White ; and a post-Katrina memoir, Sugarcane Academy , about Tisserand and other parents persuading one of his children’s teachers, Paul Reynaud, to start a school among the sugarcane fields of New Iberia. Tisserand is a founding member of the Laissez Boys Social Aide and Leisure Club, a Mardi Gras parading organization.



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