"The first drink of the day . . . you hear the ice hiss, smell the fallen-apple sweetness of it. You may wait for a moment in an homage to abstinence, then hoist it like a cornerstone, and in a moment or two, you're drinking and the world becomes a haven, the floor bears you up in quiet triumph, and there's a sense of accidental pause, as at the top of a Ferris wheel, and you look out and the world is full of such amazing possibility." Not me speaking but good old F. Scott Fitzgerald's words--they might have been an homage to America's whiskey. Bourbon
I highly recommend doing the Bourbon Trail in the Great State of Kentucky as an educational and satisfying bit of history and imbibing. The distilleries, who proudly tell you that their Elixir is a distant cousin of moonshine, since corn is the basic ingredient, are unique and have long histories. Bourbon making is covered by law: It must be made in the US, must be aged in wooden barrels used for the first time (charred of course), and needs a minimum of four years in those barrels to be called Bourbon. What evaporates is called the Angel's Share, although I think it needs another name.
Distlleries are situated about 45 minutes apart, and with the limited amount you can taste (1 ounce), careful planning and two drivers can get you from place to place safely. The Louisville Marriott is a great place to stay, excellent suite accomodations offered (without asking and Bourbon Cholocates arrived as we checked in.
Others like Maker's Mark are also wonderfully convenient and make a really smooth Bourbon.