Even though applejack and Maryland rye whiskey might be older, there are few spirits more connected to the American-spirit and psyche than bourbon. Bourbon is as American as the designated hitter, apple pie, and Uncle Sam wrestling a bald eagle wearing jorts. And though it technically doesn’t even have to be distilled and aged in Kentucky, its homegrown roots are impossible to deny.
Just because bourbon is pretty much America in a bottle doesn’t mean that every drinker is born a rabid fan of the juice. It takes time to develop your palate and feel out your favorite bottles. Of course, you have to start somewhere. That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to bourbons for novices.