A Splash Of Orange Juice Is The Surefire Way To Temper Strong Bourbon

Orange juice is a bartender's best friend. A classic screwdriver cocktail or tequila sunrise wouldn't be the same without this favored citrus. Even Martha Stewart puts a fresh spin on her whiskey sour with orange juice. Its acidic nature makes it the perfect mixer for a myriad of alcohols and cocktails, including bourbons with a higher proof. 

Bourbon drinkers love the rich notes of vanilla and caramel that are synonymous with this alcohol, but the strength of this alcohol can vary depending on its barrel proof. Barrel proof or cask bourbon, which is simply bourbon that has been bottled directly from the barrel without the addition of water to dilute the alcohol content, generally has a higher alcohol by volume of between 50 and 75% compared to non-cask bourbon's 40% ABV. The difference can be too strong for some, making it difficult to drink straight bourbon. When you add orange juice to bourbon with a high ABV, the sugars will not only tame the harsh or overwhelming strength, but it will also enhance the overall experience of sipping on it. 

A little orange juice goes a long way

Adding store-bought orange juice to your glass the next time you pour from a bottle of Maker's Mark or Jim Beam is going to add sweet and tangy notes that complement the warmer flavors of this liquor. But it is also going to change the texture, making for a thicker sip. 

If you like the idea of adding orange juice, but the consistency is a turnoff, you can dilute it with water or squeeze an orange straight into your bourbon. This is going to cut both the thick nature of this fruit juice as well as the amount of added sugar to your bourbon. In fact, you can swap lemon juice with fresh-squeezed orange juice for your next whiskey sour. That said, it doesn't take a lot of orange juice to temper bourbon, and if you add too much, it may have you feeling like you are drinking a classic sidecar. You still want to enjoy the true nature of this amber spirit, so don't be too heavy-handed with this addition.