Jim Beam

Jim Beam

Jim Beam has been a staple of many a bar for many a year now, so much so that they themselves have the tag ‘The World’s No. 1 Bourbon’ stamped on every bottle. But how does a brand come to call itself that? A brand that, from my knowledge, not many people know much about? Well lets dive into the history of this supposed number one and see what comes out the other end.

Our journey starts in 1740 and the migration of the Boehm family from Germany. Translate the surname and you get the worlds ‘hell’, so a change to ‘Beam’ started the etching into bourbon history books. In 1788, Jacob Beam settled in Kentucky and set about experimenting with the corn and grains that grew on his farm. This blend of ingredients were run through a still, aged in barrels and eventually became bourbon, possibly named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. 1795 saw the year of the first ‘Jim Beam’. David Beam took over his father’s responsibilities in 1820 at the age of 18 and during his reign, America was undergoing an industrial revolution. With the country expanding itself and finding new and innovative ways to not only communicate and travel, but transporting of goods, technology such as the telegraph, steam-powered ships and the opening of waterways and railroads aided the expansion and distribution of the Beam’s family bourbon.

David M. Beam was handed the reins to the family business in 1850 and four years later, in order to be near Kentucky’s first railroad, David M. Beam moved the distillery to Nelson County. Three years after civil war broke out, David’s son James B. Beam came into the world and the family, with a real dislike for his name. Apparently a man who liked to keep things simple, he introduced himself as Jim Beam. After taking over the business from his father, the business thrived.  Once the end of Prohibition in the US in 1933, Jim Beam wanted to carry on the tradition of the original recipe from the days of Jacob Beam, so he built and moved to a new distillery in Clermont, Kentucky taking 120 days. From this point forward, the bourbon was called ‘Jim Beam Bourbon’. Son Jeremiah Beam joined the company at the same time as the opening of the new distillery and earned the title of master distiller. With his passion, he travelled the world to share his knowledge of bourbon and the Beam family legacy. After the death of his father, Jeremiah continued to grow the business, opening a second distillery in 1954 near Boston, Kentucky, which is still in use today.

Jim Beam’s grandson Booker Noe maintained the Beam family’s commitment to quality. As the Master Distiller Emeritus at the Jim Beam Distillery for more than 40 years, Booker introduced his own namesake bourbon in 1988 – Booker’s. Booker’s was the world’s first uncut, straight-from-the-barrel bourbon, and the first of the legendary Small Batch Collection. Upon the death of Booker Noe, his son Frederick Noe took over the reigns of the Master Distiller and is still in the position today.

Since the birth of Jacob Beam, the Beam family legacy has influenced 60 different bourbon brands in three countries.

Not bad. And it’s great to see after all these years, the brand is still within the family. But with longevity comes consistency, and consistency means a rigorous check of the production method. The following is taken directly from the Jim Beam website as I found that the process would be better understood as they have written it.

Start With Sweet, Sweet Water

Much has been said about Central Kentucky’s water. It’s famous for making fast horses, pretty women and good bourbon. (We’ve also heard it as:, pretty horses… but the good bourbon never changes.) Because we’re sitting on top of a limestone shelf, our water has a natural filter. This creates an iron-free, calcium-rich water that’s perfect for making bourbon. Perhaps that’s why 98% of all bourbon distilleries are located here.

Jim Beam MapleThe Secret Is Yeast

Our jug yeast is a closely guarded family secret. It’s the same strain of yeast we’ve used in our bourbon-making process since prohibition ended. It’s more than 75 years old—and it ensures the same Jim Beam® bourbon consistency in every bottle. So the bottle of Beam® in your granddad’s hand in that picture from his fishing trip in 1953? Same DNA as the bottle you can buy right now just about anywhere in the world. Our yeast is so important to us that Jim Beam used to take some of it home with him on the weekends, a tradition that continues today with Jim Beam’s great-grandson and seventh generation Beam family distiller, Fred Noe. We put the jug yeast in a tank and feed it a hearty diet of ground up grains to create “dona yeast.” We use this yeast in the fermentation process once we’ve cooked our mash.

Mix, Mash & Cook

Hammer mills grind our “mash spill”—our top-secret mix of corn, rye and barley malt. Milling breaks it down for easier cooking. The mash spill feeds into a 10,000-gallon mash cooker. Here we add some of that pure limestone-filtered Kentucky water, along with some “set back”—25% of the old mash from the last distillation. This is the “sour mash” part of our bourbon-making process—ensuring the same Jim Beam® Bourbon from batch to batch.

Fermenting Cooked Mash

From the cooker, the mash heads to the fermenter. We cool the mash down to 60-70°F and add our 75-year-old yeast strain to the mix. And the yeast eats. And eats and eats and eats, feeding on sugars in the mash, heating the fermenter as it eats and multiplying as it goes. The upshot of all this activity? Carbon dioxide and more importantly for us, alcohol. This transforms the mash into “distiller’s beer.” Because it looks, smells and tastes like a rich, light beer.

Distilled Twice. So Nice.

The beer travels into our 35-foot-tall column still. We heat it to about 205°F, which is hot enough that the alcohol turns into a vapor that rises up the still, but not so hot that the beer boils. As the vapor cools and falls, it turns back into a liquid. This “low wine” is 125 proof (62.5% alcohol) of strong-willed goodness. From the column still, the low wine flows into the doubler for a second distillation in our pot still. It gets heated and condenses into “high wine”—at a paint-peeling 135 proof (67.5% alcohol).

Barreling And Aging

After distilling the bourbon, we tap the high wine into brand new charred American oak barrels. We like our barrels to have what we call “alligator char”—that is, they’re fired enough that the insides take on the scaly, bumpy look of a gator’s skin. Each barrel holds about 53 gallons (more than 500 pounds) of what will be the the world’s finest bourbon. The loaded barrels are rolled to rest in one of our airy hilltop rackhouses. As the seasons change, Kentucky’s climate expands and contracts the barrel wood, allowing bourbon to seep into the barrel. And the caramelized sugars from the gator-charred oak flavor and color the bourbon. Throughout the bourbon making process, a fair portion of the 53 gallons of bourbon escapes the barrel through evaporation or stays trapped in the wood of the barrel. We call this the “angel’s share” or “Booker’s share.”

Jim Beam bourbon ages for at least four years—twice as long as the U.S. government requires. 

So there we have it. A fascinating history, one that I myself have only realised has influenced so many bourbon distilleries and brands to this day, and a production method that creates such a varied range. I’ve been lucky enough to try a couple of the range lately, therefore below I give to you my tasting notes –

Jim Beam Original – 40%

Aged for 4 years. Light vanilla notes on the nose with a sweetness slowly appearing. Vanilla carries onto the palate, mixed with a little spice that leads to a lengthy finish. Slight touch of oak lingers.

Red Stag Black Cherry – 40%

Through a slow infusion process, four-year-old Jim Beam Bourbon infused with natural flavours. Sweet, ripe dark cherries on the nose with a sugar ladened palate of cherry on the palate with a cinnamon spice to finish. Amazingly long, and a little dry at the very end.

Jim Beam Maple – 35%

Created using 4yr Jim Beam, slowly infused with maple and aged in oak barrels.
Subtle nose of maple syrup, following onto the palate nicely with plenty of bourbon, oak and a rich, sweet maple finish that lingers.

Jim Beam Black Label – 43%

Aged for 6 years. Soft vanilla on the nose with hints of orange lingering. Smooth on the palate with a hint of spice, honey and toffee creating a long finish.

Jim Beam Signature Craft – 43%

Aged for 12 years. Plenty of red fruit, smooth on the nose with hints of cherry near the finish. Rich on the palate though, with a slight spice but a long, bold finish with a little dryness. A couple of sips makes this a cracking dram.

Jim Beam Double Oak – 43%

Launched in April 2016, this expression is first matured in new charred American white oak barrels before being transferred into a second freshly charred oak barrel for a further period of ageing.
A nose of vanilla and caramel blended with freshly cut wood. Rich notes of oak, followed by scorched wood, vanilla and intense red fruits that leads to a long, slightly dry finish.

Jim Beam isn’t just for a great sip, it can also be housed within a cocktail –

Jim Beam - Double Oaked Fashioned
Jim Beam Double Oak Fashioned

Jim Beam Double Oak Fashioned

Glass –

Old Fashioned

Ingredients – 

50 ml Jim Beam Double Oak
4 dashes bitters
2 sugar cubes
1 orange
1 lemon

Method –

In an Old Fashioned glass, add the sugar cubes and bitters along with a little bourbon and ice. With a bar spoon, muddle and stir the liquid so the sugar starts to dissolve – repeat until complete. Then, cut a thin slice of peel from the orange. Pinch the orange peel and rub around the rim of the glass to coat with citrus oils. Repeat with the lemon. Garnish with the orange and lemon twists

or maybe this,

Man O' War
Man O’ War

Man O’ War

Glass –

Rocks

Ingredients – 

20 ml Jim Beam Bourbon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
12.5 ml water
10-15 large fresh mint leaves

Method – 

Combine all ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

But sometimes the best way to involve Jim Beam is within food –

Jim Beam Bourbon Whisky Cake

Ingredients – 

1 pound candied cherries
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 pound golden raisins, halved
6 eggs, separate yolks
2 cups Jim Beam Bourbon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces butter
1 pound pecans
2 cups sugar

Preparation – 

Soak cherries and raisins in Jim Beam Bourbon overnight. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line with brown paper or parchment. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Sift flour and reserve 1/2 cup. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add soaked fruit and the remaining liquid, 4 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg, and baking power to butter mixture. Stir to combine. Beat egg whites by hand or with an electric mixer until they just barely hold stiff peaks. Fold into batter. Toss nuts with 1/2 cup reserved flour and fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 3 to 4 hours or until cake tests done. Remove from oven, cool slightly and turn onto rack to cool completely. To store when thoroughly cool, place in tightly covered container. Stuff centre hole with cheesecloth soaked in Jim Beam Bourbon. Drink any extra Jim Beam®. Wrap in heavy wax paper. It isn’t necessary to soak the cake in Jim Beam® Bourbon as it will be moist and flavourful. Keep very cool, in refrigerator if necessary. Makes 15 servings.

So not only is Jim Beam rich in history, it also shows off with its range as well as its versatility within both cocktails and food. What more can you ask for? It really does prove some valuable points for Jim Beam’s statement of being ‘The World’s No1. Bourbon’. See for yourself.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Jim Beam and Coke pre-mixer

I’ve always thought of these pre-mixed alcoholic drinks as i bit of a cheaters way, takes the fun out of making it and generally just not seeing it as being like the real thing, however, Jim Beam and Coke, i’m pleasantly surprised!

Now i’ll admit right now that Jim Beam is near the top of my bourbon list so i wasn’t expecting to dislike this product, and first smell of aromas doesn’t give you that fresh Jim Beam & Coke that you would get if ordered at a bar. My initial reaction to the first taste was – wow. We’re not talking ‘hold on to your hats!’ kind of wow but it genuinely surprised me how well the coke isn’t the centre piece to this drink. You definitely get all the Jim Beam flavours coming at you, albeit i’d probably say you’re looking at a 25ml shot for 1 can so it’s not too strong (they do have the can saying 4.6% vol). The low carbonated coke doesn’t have you feeling full of air either which helps and the mouth-watering after-taste just confirmed my taste buds wanted me to finish the can – which i did, and damn i’d buy it again.

Overall, pleasantly surprised. Not as good as the real thing but a very good substitute if you ever fancy a quick throw together you can keep in your fridge.

24 Days of Christmas Cocktails – Day 19

On the home stretch now! And to celebrate, Jim Beam have served up a rather simple punch that could even attract the ladies of the group!

Sparkling Ruby Punch

Day 19 – Sparkling Ruby Punch – Jim Beam

Glass –

Champagne Flute

Ingredients –

1-3/4 cups Jim Beam Bourbon
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 bottle (750ml) sparkling raspberry juice, well chilled

Method –

Combine Jim Beam Bourbon and cranberry juice cocktail in a large pitcher. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Just before serving, slowly pour in sparkling raspberry juice. Stir briefly and gently.

Makes 5 cups.

 

Each day for the next 6 days their will be a different christmas cocktail added to the site, so sign yourself up to be the first to find out! Make sure you follow me on Twitter (and the hash tag #24daysofchristmascocktails) or Facebook for instant updates.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Briton’s Protection Review

The Briton's Protection

Classed as Manchester’s best bar for whisk(e)y, The Briton’s Protection has got it all. On the corner of Great Bridgewater Street, the outside decor gives it a traditional pub feeling, and with hanging baskets from every window, it oddly doesn’t look out-of-place nestled in Manchester. Once you step foot inside you enter the long bar area where your greeted with a smile by both barman and customers. On my most recent visit, I of course opted for a whisky, but they do have other varieties available including Guinness, Staropramen, Strongbow and Carling on tap, and a range of spirits including the new Kraken spiced rum and Monkey Shoulder. Wines are available as well as ales including Tetley, Beartown and Angel Tears.

The Whisk(e)y range

As mentioned, my most recent visit I opted for a whisky. You are handed the whisk(e)y menu (something that has never happened to me before!) and can browse through their quite stunning selection. You can scan there backbar that includes the Scotch Glenfiddich range and Johnnie Walker, the Irish Jameson’s as well as American Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Knob Creek but the menu indicates some little gems that you can miss. Their selction also includes a Czech and Welsh whisky which im going to have to go back and try. I went for a Dalmore 15yr (check out my tasting notes on the Dalmore 15yr here – https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/dalmore-whisky-masterclass-review/ )

Whilst sipping on The Dalmore, I couldn’t help but notice they have a certificate hanging predominantly on the bar with the words ‘Whisky Bars of the World 2011’. I couldn’t agree more! With nearly every whisk(e)y available, you will surely find something that will take your fancy, and if not, the barman seem more than capable in offering you their advice which although probably mandatory in the job description, always makes you feel a more welcomed.

If your ever in the Manchester area, this is one of the must-see places on your to-do list and when you can pick up a Glenfiddich 21yr for just £7.50, even Jamie Milne, the Glenfiddich UK Ambassador, is pleasantly surprised!

 

Jack Daniels & Coke / Ginger Pre-mix

I found myself purchasing another pre-mixed drink in the form of Jack Daniels and they’ve released two versions – Coke and Ginger, both £2.12 from Sainsburys.

Jack Daniels & Coke

Jack Daniels & Coke

Now the nearest competitor around is Jim Beam & Coke and having already tried the latter I was expecting high hopes, however, I was disappointed at not smelling a stronger smell of the Jack Daniels (at 6% you expect to sense something). It was there don’t get me wrong, but compared to the Jim Beam, you had to hunt for it. Now that aside, the drink itself isn’t too bad. A low-carbonated cola is used so you can drink it quickly, but it won’t make you too bloated, and you do get that refreshing taste afterwards. The down side? You feel like your not drinking a JD & Coke. It’s not got that freshness about it like the Jim Beam did, and it sometimes put me off finishing the can. But finish it i did, which can I only be a plus as im sure, like most of you, you wouldn’t finish something if you didn’t like it.

 

 

Jack Daniels & Ginger

Jack Daniels & Ginger

I followed the Jack Daniels & Coke with its other variety – ginger. After looking over the can, it doesn’t mention if it’s ginger beer or ginger ale (not being a lover of ginger ale, I was hoping for the former) but then I thought that Jack Daniels could have used ‘actual’ ginger, and I was right. I’ve personally rarely come across a drink as simple as Jack Daniels and mixer to have the sole ingredient as ginger, yet could see it working rather well.

Upon opening, there’s an immediate aroma of ginger, and hardly a scent of Jack Daniels. Give it a few seconds though and you do slowly get that unmistakable JD wafting through your nostrils. The taste is rather the same as the smell, with the whiskey taking a back-seat to the raw ginger, yet creating a pleasant slow mix of the two flavours in your mouth. It leaves a slight sweet taste in the back of your mouth as it makes its way through which resulted in me drinking this can quicker than the JD & Coke (the sweet tooth in me took over!). Again at 6%, you do expect to see more of the Jack Daniels coming through as you drink but it just doesn’t seem to happen.

Out of the two I would recommend the Jack Daniels & Ginger for 2 reasons –

1. It’s unique. When was the last time you had a whiskey with just ginger? And I can guarantee it would taste even better fresh.

2. On a summer’s day, a Jack Daniels & Ginger sounds like a hell of a drink to have, a chilled one at that.

A Jack Daniels & Coke? You can have that any day of the week at any place that sells alcohol. JD & Ginger? Your high-end expensive bars would charge you 4x as much as the £2.12 you could get it for.

Pre-mixed Malibu & Cranberry Tasting Notes

Malibu & Cranberry pre-mixed

I promised Malibu on there twitter feed I would try out some of their pre-mixed drinks that they offer so on a recent trip to the supermarket I bought a can of Malibu & Cranberry (£1.49). Having tasted my first pre-mixed drink only a few days ago (Jim Beam & Coke), I had high hopes for this version and at 5% it comes stronger than the JB too.

After opening the can you get the instant strong smell and aromas of Malibu and the cranberry sneaking in later, and with pouring into two glasses (i shared it with a friend to get a females perspective on what to me is seen as more a lady style drink) an intense red/purple colour, not your traditional cranberry colour. Once in the glass the aromas we had when i first opened the can were nowhere to be seen, which was a bit disappointing, but it may also be due to the fact the open glass releases a lot more than a can would.

The taste was surprisingly ok, not as strong as i thought it might have been but you could definitely tell the Malibu is there. Unfortunately, after the first few tastes my palate got used to the taste of Malibu a little too quickly and  i finished it wondering if I’d drank all the Malibu at the beginning. Don’t let that put you off though, a refreshing mouth-watering aftertaste will get you finishing the can fairly quickly and I would recommend for a pre-party drink due to the price and the attraction of you can drink it quickly due to it being still instead of carbonated.  If your thinking of having it in a glass i may recommend adding some fresh limes like your traditional Malibu and mixer drink.

Now to try there pre-mixed cocktail pouches, an eye catching find in the pre mixed section!