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Honestly, who doesn’t love a good stiff glass of bourbon? Perhaps the only more universally beloved thing is get-togethers with good friends. So it would stand to reason that at the confluence of good bourbon and good friends stands the true meaning of life.
Enjoying bourbon with your friends can lead to a deeper appreciation of both the drink and the company with whom you imbibe. As the world returns to normal, people are eager to get back together. Why not invite all your friends over for a lovely evening of bourbon tasting?
A tasting event can be organized in many ways, but there are some important guidelines to remember.
The first thing to consider is limiting the guests – this builds an atmosphere of intimacy and ensures that everybody will get ample premium bourbon.
The second rule is to limit your bourbon selection to between four and six barrels. This will ensure that everybody will get enough bourbon without getting too much. Also, people will be able to appreciate the complementary flavors of the four-to-six bourbons without being overwhelmed. If you are a social butterfly and must invite more than 10 people to your bourbon-tasting, try to maintain this four-to-six bottle per ten people ratio. If you have twenty people, get two bottles of each four-to-six different variations you choose, so everybody will be able to taste each of the delightful bourbons you supply.
The next thing to consider is glassware. At any classy bourbon tasting event, certain standards must be maintained. You can opt for either the Old-Fashioned glasses, or the newer Copita glass, also known as a tulip glass. The Old-Fashioned glasses are a timeless classic with a wide physique that allows it to be filled with ice and muddle the ingredients. A copita glass, with its long stem, makes it easier to keep the smells of your hands away from the bourbon, allowing you to waft the purest possible aromas from your delicious beverage without any interference. Furthermore, the curved nature of the glass makes it perfect for swirling your delicious beverage. If you are not a fan of stemware, the Glencairn is a great alternative, serving as sort of a middle ground between the two more classic types of glassware.
P.S. You don’t need new glass for each new bourbon you taste, simply rinse out each glass with water before moving onto the next flavor!
Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics to consider before planning your bourbon tasting event, let’s get into the details!
Hosting a Bourbon Tasting Party
There are many things that must be considered and planned for before the big night arrives. First things first: the theme.
This “theme” in this sense is not for what costumes people are going to wear to your bourbon tasting party. Rather, you must decide on the “bourbon theme” you are going to showcase at your party. You can opt for a simple theme where you’ve picked the traditional bourbon made with barley, rye, and wheat. Comparing all of these is a good start.
If you wanted to go outside the box, you could choose bourbons from the same distillery that are of different ages or proofs, you could try different brands that are the same age, try different brands that are the same age but different proofs, the options are endless. However, there should be some common theme connecting all the bourbons shared at your party so you and your friends can have an intelligent discussion about the subtler notes, aromas, and flavors.
Side Note: You’re going to want to send out classy invitations to your bourbon tasting party! We recommend sending them out several weeks in advance, so your friends have time to RSVP and get excited for the big night!
Have Plenty of Water!
Preferably, you will have bottled water to serve to your guests. Water is a good palate cleanser, as well as serving to open the flavor profile of bourbons. Every guest should have a swig of water between different bourbons, to clear their tastebuds and be fully prepared to appreciate the next bourbon.
Also, it never hurts to mix in water when drinking alcohol!
You should provide all guests with a pencil and small notepad to write down their thoughts and observations of each bourbon they are tasting. These notes will serve as a great keepsake for your friends to remember this incredible night. These notes will also serve good future reference for your friends when they are trying to remember which bourbon was their favorite. Furthermore, the notes will help when discussing the bourbons after everybody has finished the tasting.
Add Some Food to the Mix
To refresh everyone’s palates between tasting sessions, you ought to provide your guests with some food. The foods that pair best with bourbon are typically cheeses, fresh fruits, ham, chocolates, or olives. You don’t need all of these food items, just picking a couple of them will do fine. Consider your friends favorite tastes and also don’t hesitate to discuss with whoever is supplying your bourbon to see which flavors go best with each bottle or brand.
A way to quickly class up your party is by laying out a nice charcuterie board. These boards are truly delicious, and can also be crafted in such a way to make them aesthetically appealing and supplement the overall look of your classy party.
If you smoke, a nice cigar goes great with bourbon as well!
Make sure your planning accounts for the time required to serve, identify, appreciate, and discuss each glass of bourbon. Ideally, every glass should be given 15 to 20 minutes for a group of 6 to 10 people, a little more if you have a larger crowd. It is critical to not rush the process and ruin the vibe! Patience is a virtue, you must be patient and give each glass of bourbon the time to expose its full flavor profile in order to make the most of your bourbon tasting party!
We cannot impress upon you enough the importance of having fun! That is what it’s all about, after all. At the end of the day, bourbon is a drink distilled to be enjoyed with friends. A bourbon tasting party is one of the best ways to enjoy, learn, and explore the world of bourbon!
You can follow up the tasting sessions with a classy dinner to have more time to discuss the delicious bourbons you and your friends just consumed!
By following the steps enumerated above, you can give yourself the best chance of success for your bourbon tasting party. There are few things in the world that can compete with a classing bourbon tasting party with old friends.
At Rocky Mountain Barrel Company, we know how important and special a bourbon tasting can be! If you aren’t part of our family yet, we suggest you give us a call! No matter what your barrel-related query, we would love to help you solve it!
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