Americans. We’re a bit loud.
Perhaps a slight ego.
Generally friendly people.
Our government can be a bit less so.
That’s a whole other can of worms though.
Currently, I think a lot of the cockiness, comes from us stepping into World War II and kicking unholy amounts of Nazi ass, and in the process totally saving England, France, and everything east of it from the fascist plague of German techno and industrial music. This only adds to the fact that we were originally born a bit cocky after defeating the damn red coats in the American Revolution, and sending them across the pond. (So really, they should be EXTRA thankful that we saved their asses from the Nazi’s, right?)
What’s really unfortunate, is how popular the above mindset really is in a subconscious-cultural-rah-rah-fireworks-merica kind of way. A lot of people seem to believe that we single handedly kicked King George’s men out of here using guerrilla warfare that we learned from the Native Americans, or as we liked to call them, “savages”.
In all our self-back-patting and ego stroking, we seem to conveniently forget that the only way, literally, we were able to defeat the British forces was with the massively generous help from, god, I seriously hate saying this, the French.
It is unfortunately the truth. It’s kind of astonishing how much shit Americans give the French, considering that we not only owe a large part of our sovereignty to them, but we also use the french lady they gave us as a present, as our symbol of that freedom that they, again, are responsible for us having. Ironic?
If you’re an American, you might not believe me, but that’s just because your hometown public school system failed you miserably, for which I am truly sorry. Not because it’s my fault, but because I just feel genuinely bad for you. That said, here are a list of reasons that the U.S. owes our freedom to the French:
- While not the first to recognize the U.S. as a sovereign nation (Morocco, Netherlands, amongst others) France began secretly financing the American Revolution very early, and after American victory at the battle of Saratoga, Louis XVI formally acknowledge the U.S. as a nation and began publicly supporting the war effort.
- Of course, the French’s support was not entirely selfless. France really hated the British and did not want to see their empire grow. France spent about 1.3 billion livres (in modern currency, approximately thirteen billion U.S. dollars) to support the Americans directly, not including the money it spent fighting Britain on land and sea outside the U.S.
- When all was said and done, France acquired very little for themselves, aside from a victory against the U.K., and some crippling national debt. Not exactly a win win.
That said, even if modern day Americans don’t show much gratitude to the French for their part in defeating the Queen, our forefathers sure did. Let’s take Virginia as an example. During the revolution, Kentucky was actually just a part of a very large Virginia colony, literally called, the Kentucky District of Virginia.
After the war, America was populating, and spreading west, and Virginia began dividing the Kentucky District into smaller chunks. As these chunks were broken up, some of them got names of locals/americans such as Lincoln (after revolutionary war General Benjamin Lincoln) Madison (after Virginia’s native son, James Madison), and Jefferson after Sally Hemming’s sugar-daddy. Other counties were named after French heroes, like Fayette, it’s name coming from famous French general, LaFayette. His full title, if you’re interested, was Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette.
Anyway, another county at the time, was named after the royal dynasty that held power in France (as well as several other nations at the time, and current day Spain and Luxembourg): The House of Bourbon.
This process of dividing into smaller and smaller parts as the U.S. kept literally fucking our way to manifest destiny, lead to “Old Bourbon” County getting split into many different pieces, one of them to this day is still known as Bourbon County, KY.
Immediately after people moved into these counties and harvested their first crop of corn, they started distilling excess crop into whiskey. Bourbon County had a port on the Ohio River, and was probably shipping Bourbon County Whiskey down to New Orleans as soon as possible. Regardless of what county it came from, over time the distinct flavor of the corn whiskey getting shipped from “Old Bourbon”, likely caused the spirit to become known as Bourbon Whiskey. Simple as that. No single person invented it. No one picked the name. It was colloquial and that’s just the way it is.
All you really need to know is that it’s tasty and you’re going to drink it.
I covered the definition of bourbon last season, but as a quick refresher, to be called bourbon, a whiskey must be:
- made in the United States.
- fermented from at least 51% corn.
- distilled to no more than 80% abv.
- barrel aged at no more than 62.5% abv.
- aged in a new charred oak barrel. (that word, “new”, is important. It means that a barrel can only be used to make bourbon once, after that, any product made in it cannot be called bourbon. For this reason, other whisk(e)y makers, such as those in Scotland, will often purchase bourbon barrels to age their whiskies).
- Any bourbon that has been aged more than two years, and is unmixed with any colorings or flavorings, may be called StraightBourbon.
HOW TO DRINK BOURBON
Due to the fact that bourbon is made in freshly charred oak barrels, it benefits from lots of sweetness imparted by the caramelized sugars in the wood. For this reason, bourbon can be exceptionally smooth to drink, especially in the case of a brand like Maker’s Mark, which uses soft winter wheat as it’s secondary grain. Other grains, like rye, make for a slightly spicier bourbon. Don’t confuse Rye Whiskey for Bourbon. They’re both delicious, but they are not the same thing.
Bourbons are very good by themselves (Neat).
They can be enjoyed over ice (On the Rocks).
Or chilled with ice and then strained of ice before drinking (Up).
Bourbon is far less ritualistic when compared to scotch whisky. Mix it however you wish. You can pour soda on it if you want. It doesn’t make you a terrible person.
Though people may mistake you for a college freshman.
...I actually don’t know that there is one this time around. I think it might just be bourbon.
Chinese Take-Out. Or Japanese, or whatever. Same thing.