Bourbon is so potently popular these days that on a recent visit to Bluegrass Tavern (1500 S. Hanover St., 410-244-5101), Baltimore's corn-based whisky watering hole, we were informed that a few menu selections were temporarily unavailable because "Kentucky's running low." Luckily, Bluegrass isn't. On a bone-chilling evening, forced hot air isn't enough to warm the skin and soul—that takes bourbon. The restaurant offers about 25 kinds on any given day, ranging from $6 Jim Beam Rye to $17 Jefferson's Presidential Select, aged 17 years. Willett is a nice place for a novice to start. Smoky and dry, it's relatively smooth when sipped neat, as fine bourbons should be. (A few ice cubes are fine, if you must.) Significantly higher on the harshness scale is Booker's, barreled at its natural proof between 121 and 130. Bourbon now is made throughout the United States. Still, Bluegrass country is the true home of bourbon in Kentucky—and now in Baltimore.
Bluegrass Tavern whets the appetite for bourbon.
Issue date: March, 2011