Being so far from the Southeast, Arizonans are as acclimated with America’s rich history with bourbon as they are with the sting of tequila. However, just for a day, we ask you to put down that margarita and consider the beautiful amber spirit that has been all but tattooed across Uncle Sam’s heart.

About 95 percent of all bourbon is produced in Kentucky, where the 4.9 million aging barrels of bourbon actually outnumber people in the state. (This is not to be confused with “Tennessee whiskey” like Jack Daniels.) In 1964, Congress recognized bourbon (a type of whiskey) as a “distinctive product of the United States.” In 2007, the Senate agreed to let September be National Bourbon Heritage Month. And, for some reason, a bunch of people couldn’t wait for the fall so they made National Bourbon Day June 14.

In celebration of all things dapper, Mad Men and bourbon, Scottsdale’s Second Story Liquor Bar will host a two-hour Whiskey School class and tasting on June 14 at 2 p.m. for $40.

To whet your appetite, SSLB’s whiskey man John Christie shared his old-fashioned recipe:


2 ½ oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
2 sugar cubes 
Angostura Bitters
  • 2 lemon peels

Place 2 sugar cubes on black cocktail napkin over a double old fashioned glass and soak with Angostura bitters. Drop into glass, place 2 lemon peels, muddle peels with sugar, add two ice cubes, bourbon and begin to stir. Stir while adding ice to glass to achieve correct consistency.

The Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail: The first arguments over drink recipes and composition no doubt revolved around the presentation and delivery of this early cocktail. The longevity of this drink is under no debate. It was old fashioned back in 1895 when it appeared in Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds Of Cups and Drinks. His recipe called for dissolving a lump of sugar with a little water then adding Angostura bitters, a small piece of ice, a lemon peel, and a jigger of whiskey.

Historically, this is the correct way to make an Old Fashioned. Neither water nor soda water belong in an Old Fashioned. I repeat this again for those nodding off, NO water, charged or otherwise, belong in an Old Fashioned. The fruit salad question is also a sticky one, many people over the last 100 years have come to expect the introduction of an orange and cherry to their Old Fashioneds, but here at 2nd story we are sticking to the original recipe. Does that mean we can’t make a nice Whiskey Cocktail with fresh orange slices and Amarena cherries, of course not. But we don’t refer to this as an Old Fashioned at SSLB – just Buffalo Trace bourbon, sugar, bitters and citrus.

Visit to make a reservation.