The chica and I just came back from a two-week road trip that took us to the World's Longest Yard Sale, a hundreds-of-miles extravaganza of antiques, food, and rolling hills that I'll detail at length next week. We only did the stretch of Highway 127 from Frankfort, Kentucky to Chattanooga, Tennesse--a fortuitous choice for this column given we passed straight through bourbon country.
I loaded up on the sweet stuff, of course--some Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve, of course, along with others. But it was in Clarksville, Tennessee, where I happened upon Platte Valley Corn Whiskey (originally from Missouri, but now distilled in Kentucky--go figure). It's a great buy, if only for the jug with the silhouetted caricature of a hillbilly (more proof hillbillies are just fairer-skinned wabs)--but corn whiskey? Never had the less-evolved relative of my sweet, sweet bourbon so had to buy a bottle.
Since it's traditionally 80 percent corn and not aged as long as bourbon (which is usually 70 percent), the Platte Valley corn whiskey didn't have any nuanced deepness. But it's that clarity of mission that gives it a sweet, almost watery charm. It's strong at 80 proof, but goes down dangerously smooth--the other night, with amigos, I must've downed four double-shots with none of bourbon's warning signs but didn't wake up with too much of a hangover the following day.
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Of course Hi-Time Wine Cellars stocks it, so load up on them: after enjoying a bit of Americana, you're left with a bad-ass jug. Pass them along to friends, and voila! Automatic jug band--and, unlike lamely blowing into any other bottle, you won't come off looking like a fool when you try "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" for the umpteenth time.