For National Bourbon Day: The Perfect “Old Elk” Old Fashioned

My go-to drinks tend to be single malt whiskeys if I want something neat, or various cocktails if I’m in a more social setting. Today’s National Bourbon Day, though, so I cracked open some of the bourbons that the team at Jeptha Creed Distillery kindly sent me. In case you’re not up on the nuances, whiskey (and whisky) can be made from any grain, while a true bourbon must be at least 51% corn as the fermented grain. There are a lot of these on the market too, and if you loop in rye too, well, you can pick from hundreds of variations on the theme.

Bourbon has some other requirements too: it must be made in the USA, distilled to no more than 160 proof, barreled at no more than 125 proof and bottled at no less than 80 proof. 80 proof is 40% alcohol. Bourbons are aged in new (not used) charred oak barrels and “straight bourbon” is aged at least two years whue “bottled-in-bond” are aged at least four years. Got it?

jeptha creed and old elk bourbons

Here’s what they sent me. The Old Elk brand is quite popular in bourbon circles and the little guy is a straight bourbon, while the larger bottle in the middle is a wheated bourbon. The differences in taste are subtle, but I’d say that the wheated is a bit more smooth while the straight is a bit more spicy and more aggressive on the tongue.

The Jeptha Creed is a special bottle that’s aged 5 years, making it more mellow and the best option for a sipping bourbon in my opinion. But I started by pouring some of the straight bourbon over ice, my preferred serving:

old elk straight bourbon over ice

As with whiskeys, the bit of water opens up the flavor of the bourbon and allows you to taste all of the various flavors. If it’s a bit sharp for you, waiting a few minutes for the ice to melt just a little bit can help further smooth out the taste.

THE PERFECT OLD FASHIONED

Rather than just sip ’em, I decided that the perfect drink for National Bourbon Day was the classic Old Fashioned. Basically bourbon + a sweet add-on to round out the flavor, the recipe I used included Angostino Bitters, fresh orange, water, a sugar cube, ice, and a maraschino cherry.

ready to make a bourbon old fashioned with old elk

The easy way to assemble the drink is to toss the sugar cube into your glass, add a few dashes of Bitters and a splash of water. Then stir that until the sugar’s dissolved (which can take a minute or longer). Add 2oz of bourbon (about a shot), squeeze the orange rind (or, if you’re lazy, the orange itself), toss in a few ice cubes as desired, and give it a gentle stir.

Perfect. Optionally add a maraschino cherry. Here’s the result:

perfect old elk old fashioned in a glass

Quite tasty. I made one with each of the different bourbons and have to admit that while the Old Elk is tasty, the mellowest of them was with the 5 year aged Jeptha Creed bourbon. Result: I’m going to go chill out with a book. Thanks for reading and I hope you celebrate National Bourbon Day responsibly, maybe by taking the opportunity to try a new bourbon like Old Elk or Jeptha Creed.

Disclosure: Jeptha Creed Distillery sent the various bottles of bourbon so I could taste them and share my experience. The Old Fashioned recipe is my own.

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dave taylor vertigo film swirl backgroundPlanet Dave is run by Dave Taylor, who has been writing about film, cars, games, and his lifestyle for many years. He's based in Boulder, Colorado and assures readers he's only occasionally falling into a gravity well or temporal distortion field.

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