No problem drinking good bourbons

Published 1:10 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2024

By Steve Stricker


Son and best friend, Stephen is a medical oncology professional and as a hobby has his own Bourbon Blog., “Bourbon Script.” Casually drinking beer and wine, several years ago suggested I try bourbon and sent me three bottles – Four Roses, Makers Mark, and Eagles Rare to drink “neat,” just the bourbon – loved them, changed my life!

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“Steve.” “What solid black cat who adopted, owns and trains me, Jag (Jaguar)?” “What is your favorite bourbon?” “Swell question Jaggy and I answer by the unknown person who said, “There is no bad bourbon…only better bourbon…”

To be a bourbon requires it to be made with at least 51% corn in the mash bill; aged in charred new oak barrels; made in the United States; distilled to a maximum of 160 proof (80% ABV, i.e.., Alcohol By Volume); barreled at a maximum of 125 proof (62.5% ABV); bottled at a minimum of 80 proof (40% ABV) and a maximum of 150 proof (75% ABV).

I truly like some of the lower shelf bourbons, Evan Williams 100 proof, middle shelf like Wild Tukey 101, 101 proof, and on special occasions Christmas or my birthday, May 10, will splurge for top shelf – Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door, 61.95$% ABV, 123.9 proof, around $60 for 750ml that is remarkably smooth. Guided to Oxford’s High Cotton Warehouse by friend, Angela Atkins (great call), now friend, Aron Herrington, Law Degree from Ole Miss, co-owner of High Cotton which has to be the best stocked liquor store in Oxford from which I get my bourbon is an encyclopedia of all things in the store and has really helped by guiding an answering my many questions. If one of my favorite bourbon’s isn’t available, no worries as there is a remarkable selection to choose from including his awesome barrel picks that are world class, love them…just can’t always afford them!

As an artist, I like to create a scene of my current bourbon with kit car from Kroger or whatever I have and post on Facebook. Am sure friends think I have a drinking problem, but in reality as Midland lead singer Mark Wystrach sings, “I’ve got no problem drinking at all…”

A bourbon glass is wide at the bottom narrow at top so one gets the “nose” of the bourbon before sipping – filled to just below the logo on the glass, not even halfway. My bourbon glasses are made by Glencairn’s in Scotland, ordered from them, and favorite glass has “Scotland” engraved on it to salute my then Scottish fiance, would be family and homeland.

My bourbon is especially helpful to me writing these Oxford Eagle columns, sitting many hours at a time before this computer taking the numbness from my bones and providing energy to press forward – about a wee glass per hour- and for other boring tasks such as paying bills, balancing my checkbook, and clearing out email posts.

However, just as bourbon takes the edge off my tension, it also tends to loosen my normally guarded introverted tongue causing me at times to make uncharacteristic smart-ass comments on Facebook some of which I deleted the next day and apologized for shaking my head…sorry y’all.

Rather like Joe Nichols song, “Tequilla Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” “She don’t mean nothing, She’s just having fun. Tomorrow she’ll say, “Oh, what have I done?” Her friends will joke about the stuff she lost. Yeah, Tequila makes her clothes fall off.”

Knowing bourbon can be a carcinogen, I don’t drink more than three wee glasses at a time, perhaps four on long column due days, hour between each, lots of water, and nothing three days a week to allow my liver, kidneys, lungs to recover monitored by hero Dr. Mona Castle every three months. I do not drink because I have issues…but because I really like my bourbon. Thanks, Stephen – Cheers!


Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on the Ole Miss Campus, and received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology
(Counseling) from The University of Mississippi.