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It is a point of debate on the internet how to properly purchase and enjoy bourbon. We thought we'd clarify with a simple user's guide on how to drink bourbon, which you should be drinking because bourbon is delicious, and fast becoming one of our nation's favorite alcohols to alcohol it up with.

A few tips from a pro

1. Buy some bourbon. You'll know it's bourbon because it will say "BOURBON" on the bottle. If you are not sure if the bottle you are buying is bourbon, ask the sad man in an apron stacking Glenmore Gin handles at the end of the aisle if the bottle is bourbon. He is a divorced man with $45,000 in student loan debt seconds from suicide, and is an expert on bourbons and crying.

2. You should start with a bourbon that is brown. Bourbons are supposed to be brown. If someone pours you a bourbon and it is clear, you should say, "This is not brown, and cannot be bourbon! I am an expert!" Then you should drink it, especially if it's a radioactive medical marker because it's not easy to steal those from the hospital and you should reward that person's hard work and generosity accordingly. For the record: most bourbons are not radioactive.

3. Open your bourbon. The first smell that greets the nose should be ALCOHOL. Alcohol is the key ingredient in bourbon, a poison that depresses the central nervous system, slows the flow of oxygen to the brain, and in large doses can kill you. If your bourbon does not have any, then you are drinking water that has been left to sit in a nasty wooden barrel for a decade. Seek medical attention if you are not already dead.

4. You may also taste and smell other things. Bourbon drinkers claim to smell and taste a wide range of flavors and scents in their bourbons. These may include:

  • Wood
  • Mud
  • Dirt
  • France
  • Burnt hair
  • Vanilla
  • Tacos
  • the sound of a Whig politician diving into a mudhole fleeing an angry mob
  • Ass
  • Old wood
  • Hammers
  • Money
  • Pennies
  • Butterscotch-flavored kerosene
  • Fur of a middle-aged hunting dog
  • Fritos

You never know what you'll taste in yours, so the only way is to try it yourself.

5. Ice. Ice is controversial but it is important to remember that this is your bourbon. A bit of ice can add flavor. A lot of ice can numb your tongue and mouth, and make the alcohol application process that much faster. You should probably put as much ice into your glass as possible to put as much alcohol into your system as fast as possible. Warning: this will dampen the important pennies and hunting dog flavors.

6. Pour bourbon into a glass. The glass is important. It should have only one hole at the top and none in the rest. You can also use a plastic cup if you are clumsy and know you are going to drop the glass. You may not drink bourbon out of a boot no matter how many Westerns you saw where this happened. Cowboys also ate straight off campfires, bathed in barrels, and pooped on cactuses. They had some serious problems matching objects with their proper use, a classic sign of pervasive low-level arsenic poisoning from bad well water. (People in the old West did not start drinking too early, but rather not early enough, allowing milk and water to poison their brains as children.)

7. Now drink your bourbon. Some may tell you to swirl the liquid around your mouth. These people do it not for flavor--this is a common misconception--but instead for hygiene, attempting to kill the germs inside your filthy, rat-infested disease-cannon of a mouth. Bourbon comes from Kentucky, where "Your teeth or your liver" was the only question on the state medical board until 1959. The correct answer was tricky: "Bourbon." Let the rich alcohol flavor wash over your tongue and facepiece.

8. Bourbon mixes and pairs with many things well thanks to its flavor profile, once described by someone we just made up as "a whole farm buried in a slag mine and then strained through the drawers of a werewolf." Try the following combinations, or experiment yourself:

  • Bourbon and ginger ale
  • Bourbon and ginger beer
  • Bourbon and cheese popcorn
  • Bourbon poured into the bottom of a Blizzard and taken into a children's movie
  • Bourbon and gummy bears <----A CLASSIC
  • Bourbon oh god there is really nothing else on in the world except Chopped it's on everywhere forever and why how did this happen bourbon
  • Bourbon and stale uncrustable found under couch=depression tiramisu

9. Continue to drink your bourbon. You should take time to savor the alcohol flavor and the wistful feeling one gets drinking bourbon. Imagine yourself on a porch in Kentucky watching the sunset, and the fireflies buzzing, and the heat of the day receding as you watch the night creep into the trees and the land around the house. Hear the shotgun cock behind you. See the owner of the house standing in their underwear, also drunk from bourbon's delicious alcohols, demanding to know who you are, and what you are doing on their porch drinking their liquor out of a boot. (You're not even supposed to do that!) Run, powered with the speed that only real Kentucky Bourbon can give you, knowing that you've just shared another special bourbon experience with a new friend, one who at this moment is running far faster than an overweight man in boxer briefs should be capable of, particularly when leveling a Mossberg shotgun at your running figure. Shit, did you remember a barbed wire fence being at the end of this driveway? And dogs? Oh, bourbon, you've done it again.

10. Don't buy Evan Williams. Everything else is fine. Evan Williams is made with Everclear and incinerated stray dog ashes.