Liquid Gold

Recipes for imbibing bourbon.

Mulled Over

Photo by Andrew Kavanaugh

The history of bourbon in Virginia dates back to 1620 in Jamestown when corn was first used in whiskey mash. Production later experienced a growth spurt in the late 18th century with George Washington’s distillery at Mount Vernon. Washington recorded his recipe:

“Into each cask or hogshead, throw nine gallons of water heated to ninety degrees of Fahrenheit’s thermometer, to which add forty pounds of Indian corn meal; agitate the mass briskly, and let it stand two hours, that it may open and prepare the grain for dissolution; now twelve gallons of boiling water are added, and briskly worked with the oar, then suffered to stand fifteen minutes—on the top of this, four gallons of luke-warm water are gently poured, and ten pounds of malt gently worked on the top, so as not to intermix with the corn meal, which is in that state suffered to stand thirty minutes, then fourteen gallons more of boiling water are added to the mass, and worked as before: this in that state is suffered to stand sixty minutes, then forty pounds of rye meal are now added, and worked well, and just as before the whole mass is suffered to stand from two to four hours, in proportion to the state of the weather: the calculation is, when cold water filled to within six inches of the top of the cask, will bring down the whole mass to seventy-five degrees. It is now yeasted … covered … and left until fit for the still.”

If bourbon already in the bottle is more your speed, check out our favorite cocktail recipes from bartenders around the state.

Photo by Fred + Elliott

The Silver Queen

Rachel Sargent and Kim Hartman, Maple & Pine, Richmond

1 ½ ounces bourbon

¾ ounces fresh lemon juice

¾ ounces honey simple syrup

fennel pollen for garnish

Combine bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup in a rocks glass with fresh ice and stir. Garnish with a dusting of fennel pollen.

Mulled Over

Andrew Kavanaugh, Black Hen and Bar Blue, Blacksburg

1 brown sugar cube

2 dashes apple spiced bitters

1 ½ ounces Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

¾ ounce Asian pear shrub

2 ½ ounces mulled cranberry juice

Muddle sugar cube and bitters. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Serve hot or on the rocks.

Photo by Adam Ewing

The Traveller

Deanna Meade and Thomas Burke, The Georges, Lexington

2 ounces Lexington bourbon

½ ounce Domaine de Canton

ginger liqueur

1 ounce simple syrup

1 dash orange bitters

ginger brew, your choice of brand, to fill

Build in a highball glass packed with ice. Garnish with lemon peel.


For more on the history of bourbon and the best places to imbibe in the Commonwealth, check out our article Booze Cues” in the October 2018 issue, on newsstands now. Plus, look out for more spirits stories in our inaugural Drink issue, making a splash on newsstands in November.

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum