Campari Wild Turkey Bourbon Masterclass drink alcohol barrel

Wild Turkey Bourbon rings in Thanksgiving at The Horse Sydney

Bourbon can be an intimidating drink: for many of us, we imagine it to be the drink of granddads and uncles, patrons of a Wild West-style saloon, or Bojack Horseman.

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Common belief would hold that we practically need a degree in chemistry and a spare ten thousand dollars to even afford, let alone appreciate, a bottle of the good stuff. But its a reputation that’s undeserved, because bourbon is as accessible as any other spirit out there, and just as drinkable – maybe even moreso.

To prove this, bourbon brand Wild Turkey hosted a series of Thanksgiving-themed pop-up events all over Australia. The final event was held upstairs at The Horse in Surry Hills, in a fantastically cool and airy little space that.

Campari Wild Turkey Bourbon Masterclass drink alcohol bottle

As part of the celebration, an ambassador of the Wild Turkey brand quickly encouraged us to forget all preconceptions we had about bourbon.

Contrary to what many of us may have experienced in our uni days, bourbon is actually really tasty, totally refreshing, and works well in a cocktail.

We sipped on Wild Turkey old fashioneds while we learnt a little about the brand and their obsessive attention to quality: every part of the distillation process is monitored and measured, right down to the kind of wood the bourbon barrels are made of.

Campari Wild Turkey Bourbon Masterclass drink alcohol brand mark

It’s another common assumption that a popular spirit that can be purchased at an affordable price might be lacking in quality, especially when it comes to dark spirits like bourbon, whisky, and scotch. Think about that twenty-year-old bottle of something-or-another that your dad has locked away in his study for ‘special occasions’ – could a bottle that someone like you or me actually afford to buy at our local bottle-o compare in quality?

Turns out, it can. The edge Wild Turkey has over many competitors, even the ones whose bottles retail for thousands of dollars, is that there are far fewer bottles made out of each bourbon cask. When the distillation process is complete and it’s time to bottle the product, a certain amount of water is added to refine the taste, but a lot of brands take that to the extreme and end up thinning out the bourbon. Not Wild Turkey: they get as few bottles from each barrel as possible, meaning that the end product is richer, warmer, and a whole lot tastier.

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We were also given a crash course in how to taste bourbon. Turns out, throwing it directly down your throat isn’t always the best option – who’d’ve thunk it?

By engaging your olfactory region (that’s your nose and mouth) prior to sipping, you pick up a head full of honeyed, oaky, golden scent that gives you the perfect idea of how the drink will taste as you swirl it around your mouth.

It’s a bit like wine tasting: nose in the glass, mouth slightly open, breathe in, appreciate how great it smells, and then have a little sip. Swirl it around on your tongue for eight seconds, we were told: after all, the bourbon sits in those barrels for eight years, the least we can do is give it as many seconds.

And there we had it: a Thanksgiving-themed introduction to the world of bourbon, and I didn’t even have to steal the key to my dad’s liquor cabinet. Cheers to that!

Campari Wild Turkey Bourbon Masterclass drink alcohol glasses

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