Field of Science

What should bourbon taste like?

An advertisement caught my attention for cherry, spices, and honey tea flavored bourbon.  Having struggled to control my gag reflex, here's my take on this.  In some sense the Phactor understands flavored vodkas.  Ethanol is a colorless, flavorless, clear liquid that mixes totally in any proportion with water, another colorless, flavorless, clear liquid, so adding some sort of flavor to vodka makes a little bit of sense.  On the other hand bourbon tastes like bourbon, and some taste better than others, and some are better values than others.  Now if you do not like bourbon, fine, but apparently the whole point of flavoring bourbon is to get people who don't like bourbon to drink bourbon, and the assumption must be made that if the bourbon was any good to begin with, people would drink it for the bourbon flavor, not some other flavor.  And when it comes to flavored spirits, the Phactor doubts that these flavors are subtle. 
Great minds must think somewhat alike because over at the Garden Rant, someone is also in a tizzy about cocktails and what has happened to them when they become too, too fashionable.  We are on the same page; they call it an old fashioned cocktail that because it is, so don't mess around with some infusion of orange blossoms and cucumber slices. 
So this makes two problems to deal with.  First you have spirit makers trying to cater to a generation that grew up on sweet, fruity drinks, and then you have overly fashionable cocktails.  How the Phactor hates ordering a margarita and then being asked if it is to be frozen, sugar or salt rimmed, or on the rocks.  A margarita is served on the rocks with a salted rim.  Anything else is another drink which is why they call frozen margaritas frozen margaritas.  It's a different drink.  But some purveyors do get it.  One of the best small, locovore, farm to table, creative restaurants in our area always features a couple of classic, we-didn't-mess-with-it cocktails. 

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