Landlords can infuse their own Bourbon

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Changing face: the Bourbon category has evolved in recent times (picture credit: Good Free Photos)
Changing face: the Bourbon category has evolved in recent times (picture credit: Good Free Photos)

Related tags Bourbon whiskey Drink Cocktail Bourbon

Revolution and diversity has helped boost the Bourbon category, according to Maker's Mark producer Beam Suntory.

Maker’s Mark prides itself on its family tradition and heritage, which has been part of various changes throughout the decades it has been trading.

The spirit brand recently hosted a multitude of bartender engagement programmes, ‘The Makers’, which aimed to celebrate bartenders as the true craftspeople they are.

The series of workshops explore the four key elements of Maker’s Mark – wood, wax, wheat and paper.

Maker’s Mark diplomat for the UK Amanda Humphrey told The Morning Advertiser ​at the wax workshop, how the Bourbon industry has evolved over the past decade.

She said: “We are in a massive boom with American whiskey. If you look at the category 10 to 15 years ago, there wasn’t much variety, there were limited styles and finishes but that has all completely changed.

“There are more distilleries opening up and those new sites are becoming really innovative. For example, with Maker’s Mark, we are using wood finishes.”

Humphrey also showcased how the American company is giving pubs and bars the opportunity get immerse themselves into the spirit through its Private Select system.

Using innovation

Maker's Mark
(Picture credit: Craiglduncan)

(Picture credit: Craiglduncan​)

She said: “Maker’s Mark Classic variety ages for five to seven years but, after that, bars get to finish the recipe off.

“With Private Select, bars can insert 10 staves into the barrel with a plethora of different finishes on them. Some are infrared seared (to release specific flavours in the wood), some are slow-convection oven-cooked.

“Depending on how they are cooked and how long they are cooked for, the staves release different characteristics and flavours each time.

“This means by using 10 different staves inside the barrel, bars can create 1,001 combinations of taste profiles.”

Using this innovation means the spirit can be adapted to a particular season or taste, relevant to day.

Humphrey added: “This means you can create liquid seasonality. For example, in the winter, you could draw out flavours of chocolate, coffee notes and tobacco tastes.

“In the summer, it may have more citrus notes or vanilla and toffee notes coming through and that’s where we are with Maker’s at the moment.”

Thanks to the innovations of distilleries, Bourbon has changed to become more relevant to a wider audience, according to Humphrey.

Eclectic mix

“There’s a real eclectic mix of drinkers in the Bourbon category now compared to a decade ago,” she said.

“Some 10 years ago, people were drinking Bourbon in Whiskey Sours, Old Fashioneds or straight.

“Now, bars are playing around with twists on classics. The drinks involving Bourbon have a lot of technical elements behind the scenes and the preparation uses rarer ingredients but a cocktail can still look like an Old Fashioned.”

However, Humphrey also noted that there is another rising trend in the Bourbon cocktail category – a lighter-in-strength option.

She added: “When you think of Bourbon cocktails, you tend to think of the stronger drinks but at the moment, bartenders are bringing other drinkers into the category with Bourbon spritzers – a lighter option.

“Drinks with fruits, Champagnes, fortified wines, which all really open the category up to different drinkers.”

The brand launched latest innovation, Maker’s 46, which it describes as a bold, complex Bourbon but just as approachable and easy to drink as other products, to the UK last year.

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