Before we get started, let’s state the obvious: When it comes to Lux Row Distillers bourbon — Rebel Yell, Ezra Brooks, David Nicholson, Blood Oath — there’s no wrong way to drink it. We won’t even judge if you want to drink it straight from the bottle — responsibly, of course. (We’re looking at you, Rebel Yellers.)
But bourbon is a complex beast, with many facets to unlock, depending on how you choose to sip.
Here are the three best ways:
The simplest method, “neat” means bourbon on its own, unadorned. A clear, short glass is best, to showcase the whiskey’s amber color. About two ounces — or two “fingers” — is the just-right pour.
After you pour, tilt the glass and watch as the bourbon forms a slow trail. Savor the aroma as it curls towards you. The first sip explodes with complexity, with years of aging and blending crossing your tongue, leaving a radiant warmth in their wake.
Blood Oath Pact No. 4 is the perfect candidate for sipping neat. As a blend of three bourbons, including one that’s been aged for 12 years, it’s a multilayered whiskey that begs to be measured on its own merits.
With a splash of room-temperature water, the flavors of the bourbon become more discernable. A few drops will do, but you can adjust to taste.
Bottled or filtered water is preferred, as tap has compounds that can affect the flavor. But tap water won’t ruin your drink.
Lightly diluted, the drink retains all of the profound flavors of spice and charred oak, but in a buoyant manner that floats over your palate. Whiskey with water also makes the best pairing with food.
A spritz of water does a world of good in Ezra Brooks’ Kentucky sour mash. At 90 proof, this straight bourbon has a spicy profile that mellows ever-so-slightly when diluted, allowing you to better discern its notes of cinnamon and chocolate.
Ice and whiskey: When the two meet, it’s a mystical moment. The herbal notes fade, and the bourbon’s masculine qualities arise. The first sip is cold, yes, but then it heats up, allowing the whiskey’s sundry flavors — raisin, butterscotch, honey — to unfold.
A regular ice cube is fine, but you might take your cue from the pros and get a single large cube. It melts more slowly, for a drink that’s chilled but not watered down.
In the Lux Row Distillers family of bourbons, the storied David Nicholson 1843 begs for a dose of ice. This award-winning wheated bourbon boasts a touch of heat and spice that bends and yields to the icy chill, before unzipping its full potential.