Chow Town

Surge in American whiskey sales means juleps will abound in KC this summer

Dominic Petrucci, bartender, pours whiskey into a glass while making a traditional julep cocktail with Buffalo Trace whiskey at Julep Cocktail Club in Westport.
Dominic Petrucci, bartender, pours whiskey into a glass while making a traditional julep cocktail with Buffalo Trace whiskey at Julep Cocktail Club in Westport. The Kansas City Star

America is a whiskey nation.

But bartender Beau Williams of Julep Cocktail Club in Westport says Kansas City is a whiskey town.

Domestic sales of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey surged to 18 million cases worth $2.4 billion in 2013, a 35 percent jump from a decade earlier, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. That doesn’t even include exports — they topped $1 billion for the first time last year.

That means more of us will be sipping traditional mint juleps, sampling a variety of boutique whiskeys and trying to make our own whiskey-based cocktails at home.

Anne Brockhoff, The Star’s award-inning Spirits and Cocktail columnist, offers a whiskey primer, with tips on how to properly strain with a julep or Hawthorne strainer, 5 premium whiskeys to taste, a glossary of terms and recipes for a traditional mint julep and a peachy variation that is perfect for summer sipping.

What’s your favorite way to drink whiskey?

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