I had the opportunity to attend the Seven Lions Bourbon 101 class on Wednesday March 9th. There were several highlights from the event that are worth sharing with my readers.
Seven Lions is a great venue located right across the street from the Chicago Art Institute. The train station and Millennium Park are only a few feet away. This is a high traffic area of Chicago with plenty of parking garages nearby. The restaurant atmosphere could be characterized as comfortable and welcoming. This is a great place to people watch from the window booth.
The Bourbon 101 class was presented by Mark Gruber. Mr. Gruber is a spirits specialist and educator. To say he was a subject matter expert would be an understatement. I can’t imagine there are too many people on this planet that know more about Bourbon than he does.
He began the class by defining the term Bourbon. To be legally labeled a ‘bourbon’, whisky must meet the following criteria:
1. Must contain at least 51% corn and another grain such as rye or wheat.
2. Must be distilled at less than 160 degrees.
3. Must be aged for a minimum of two years.
4. Must use NEW (never used) white oak charred barrels.
5. If no age is stated, Bourbon is at least four years old.
The question some of you may be asking yourself is: Why is Bourbon so popular today?
Some experts suggest that Japan has to be given credit for the popularity of Bourbon today. Thirty years ago, bourbon was dying a slow death. The general consensus back then was that bourbon had to be inexpensive and was primarily for consumption in the American South.
During that same time period (mid 1980’s), Japan’s middle class was growing and they had a love affair with anything ‘American Made’… think Levi’s and Bourbon.
American Bourbon producers began marketing exclusivity and age to Japan and the rest of the world. Japan’s appetite for Bourbon soon spread to the rest of the world.
In the U.S. you will find literally hundreds of bourbon labels… some single barrel while others are small batch. You can find good bourbons across the price spectrum from $20 to $200 per bottle.
In the class we sampled 5 different bourbons. Each of these were spectacular in their own rights with their own unique flavor and texture. I would recommend any of these to my friends.
- Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon
- Basil Hayden Bourbon
- Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
- Elijah Craig Bourbon
- Larceny Bourbon
Be sure to check frequently on the Seven Lions website as monthly events are being offered and you will not want to miss any of them! Well worth it!!
130 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Please follow Michelle on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with food reviews, business news and features, celebrity news, best of, parenting ideas and travel tips.
Click the SUBSCRIBE at the bottom right-hand corner to receive e-mail updates of new articles from Michelle Guilbeau and MichelleGuilbeau.com .