Call it a "spirit revival" or call it "getting back to basics", but bourbon has gained immense popularity in the past few years.
Although it's commonly referred to as Kentucky bourbon, the spirit does not have to be produced in Kentucky. In 1964, Congress declared the whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States, and the Federal Government also has standards for straight bourbon whiskey. Bourbon must be produced in the USA, and be made from a grain mix of at least 51% corn. There can be no additives or flavorings (except water), and the bourbon must be aged in new charred white oak barrels, and aged for a minimum of two years. That truly makes bourbon our "American spirit."
Celebrities have long had a love affair with bourbon. Chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali take pictures of their Pappy Van Winkle stash and Frank Sinatra was said to have been buried with a bottle of his beloved bourbon.
To celebrate this spirit and their fifth anniversary, the spirit's industry magazine, the Bourbon Review has compiled a list of America's 55 best bourbon bars -- and Yardbird Southern Table and Bar has been named one of them.
According to Justin Thompson of the Bourbon Review, the chosen bars "needed to showcase bourbon in a very proud manner, by educating their patrons about bourbon and either providing them with a superior selection or a combination of a great selection along with having a reputation for showcasing bourbon in their cocktails."
In a list complied mainly of bars in Louisville (like the famous Old Seelbach and Brown Hotel bars), New Orleans, New York, Nashville, and Charleston, Yardbird is the only place in Florida to achieve this honor.
It's no wonder why Yardbird was chosen. The restaurant's bourbon program, led by beverage director Allegra Angelo, features bourbon flights like the "Kings of Wheat" ($37), which features tastings of Maker's Mark, William Larue Weller, and Pappy Van Winkle 12 year. The restaurant curates an extensive collection of the spirits, including the elusive Pappy Van Winkle line, and creates bourbon cocktails like the blackberry bourbon lemonade. It's also one of the few places in Miami to get a really good mint julep, served in a pewter chalice.
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The Bourbon Review has partnered with Four Roses Bourbon for a nationwide toast in the bars' honor. On August 28, each bar will have a ceremonial "raising of the glass" (time TBA). Drinkers are encouraged to tag their favorite bar and use hashtag #55Toast.