Frankie’s Uptown bourbon basics – a short tutorial of bourbon, its origins and where the industry currently sits. When it comes to whiskeys and bourbons, there are a few things we will cover in this article. However, there is one simple fact to learn: All bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbon. The whiskey tree includes types such as Scotch single malt, rye, Canadian, Irish single pot still, and many others. Bourbon is just one of the branches.

Bourbon can only be made in America because in 1964, Congress declared bourbon as “America’s Native spirit.” While you have heard of bourbon mostly made in Kentucky, it can be made in any of the 50 states in the union. Currently, you’ll find bourbon made in a majority of states in the Union.


The mash bill refers to the grain makeup in a whiskey. Corn must comprise at least 51% of the mash bill to be called bourbon. In fact, you can use 100% corn to make bourbon. If not 100% corn, the other grains are referred to as “flavoring grains” where wheat or rye is used.

A few of the wheated bourbons are Maker’s Mark, W.L. Weller and Pappy Van Winkle.
A high rye bourbon, which is bourbon using 18% or more includes Old Forester, Four Roses and Basil Hayden’s.


A traditional bourbon recipe uses 70-80% corn, plus wheat or rye and then some barley. The traditional recipes include brands like Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace and the pretty popular Elijah Craig. As Jim Beam has been around a while, they sell over 4 million cases annually.

While there are no basic requirements for length, bourbon must be aged in barrels with a few exceptions. Straight bourbon requires at least two years of aging and a few other restrictions for more sophisticated batches.

When undertaking the proof process, bourbon cannot be distilled over 80% alcohol-by-volume (ABV). For some types of whiskey, you are allowed to distill up to 95% ABV but not bourbon. The higher proof you distill at, the less flavor you retain.

We hope you enjoyed Frankie’s Uptown Bourbon Basics. If you have any questions or comments, come on over and let’s talk about it.