A fine bourbon whiskey, Maker’s Mark comes in a bottle with a distinct look. Now the good news is, it is available here beyond the airport duty-free shops

For a sparkling wine to be called champagne, it has to come from Champagne in France. For a Bourbon whiskey to be labelled so, it has to be from the United States, precisely Bourbon County, Kentucky. Like these brews, there are so many examples to cart home the point that there is certainly a lot in the name in the distillery business.

One such name is Maker’s Mark, a fine bourbon whiskey, which thankfully is now available in select outlets in Delhi and Mumbai outside the airport duty-free shops. Maker’s Mark calls itself a bourbon ‘whisky’, not how Americans usually spell their whiskey. Its Scottish spelling hints at its heritage, like I said so many brews bring their legacy with their name. But more interesting things first. Such as its distinctive look. You can’t mistake a Maker’s Mark for anything else as its squarish bottle comes sealed with a blob of blood-red wax that often spills down its slender neck. Born in 1954 at Burks’ Distillery, Loreto, Kentucky, it suitably gives that last-century look. Its first bottle was ready for consumption in 1958, a deep amber brew complete with a fruity honey wood vanilla aroma.

Maker’s Mark is produced in small batches; each bottle is tipped with the wax not by a machine but by a human hand. A great taste, perfect colour and look and, yes, the ‘human touch’ contributed to its popularity through the ’60s and the ’70s.

The tradition of hand-tipping each bottle continues till date, turning it into a prized part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a trademark programme run by Kentucky Distillers’ Association to promote the local bourbon industry. The Maker’s Mark distillery was also the first in America to be recognised a National Historic Landmark (in 1980).

As to making cocktails from this full-bodied bourbon, no one can quite say who first did it, but worldwide Mint Julep, a concoction made from it, features in bar menus and has been bringing a good-hearted smile to a bourbon drinker’s face for years together.

And this weekend, let it be your turn to sip and smile it. Below is not just the recipe of Mint Julep but two other yummy and easy-to-make cocktails made of Maker’s Mark — The Red Head and Maker’s Mark Peach Tea. Let’s begin with Mint Julep.

Fill half a tumbler with finely crushed ice and add Maker’s Mark (45 ml). In a cocktail shaker, add 2 tbsp of any syrup (you can choose your flavour) and a few mint leaves. Muddle it and pour into the glass. Mix well and top it with more crushed ice. Before serving it with a straw, sprinkle a dash of powdered sugar on it and thrust a sprig of mint as garnish.

To create The Red Head, fill half a rocks glass with cubed ice. Add Maker’s Mark (60 ml), soda water (20 ml) and a splash of cranberry juice and stir it well. Garnish it with a lime wedge and its ready to sip.

Making Maker’s Mark Peach Tea is simple too. Fill a tall glass with ice. Add Maker’s Mark (30 ml) and Peach Schnapps (45 ml). Top off with unsweetened iced tea (45 ml). Garnish with a slice of peach and enjoy!