BOURBON IS having a birthday. Kentuckians are celebrating 200 years of "The Only True American Spirit," their very own Kentucky bourbon created from a burned barrel by a reverend in this country's formative years.
As lore has it, the Rev. Elijah Craig accidentally set fire to some white oak barrels in which he was transporting corn whiskey. The Bourbon County resident, not being swayed by a little charring, sent the whiskey anyway. When the alcohol arrived in New Orleans, it had darkened to an amber color and quickly became the toast of the town.
The popularity of the whiskey spread like wildfire and by 1850 anyone with a barrel in Kentucky was burning it.
People curious for a closer look can visit the Whiskey Museum of History in Bardstown, Ky.
The red brick building which once housed a seminary and a college now displays a Victorian bar and various bottles. Included in the collection are bottles which contain the namesake of a 19th century Philadelphia liquor dealer, E.G. Booz.
There is flavor to be found among the tour guides as well.
A favorite prank of one of the distillery's tour guides is to invite a guest to dip his or her finger into a vat of liquor and have a taste. The guide herself will even demonstrate, smiling and licking her lips as she samples. Be warned, though, at that point, the liquor in the vat has the wrenching taste of buttermilk.
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A RECENT excerpt from the Frederick Post: "Jenell Rinehart of Carroll County was crowned the 30th Maryland Dairy Princess at ceremonies Tuesday evening in front of more than 200 attendees. 'I was ecstatic when they announced my name,' the newly crowned princess said. 'It's always been a dream of mine to be the dairy princess since I was little.'
" 'It's my chance now to give something back to the dairindustry for all they have given me,' Miss Rinehart said. 'I hope to promote the dairy industry to the best of my ability.' "
Lasting American values still exist, we are happy to see.
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STANFORD UNIVERSITY is up to its old tricks. After being accused of overcharging the government $200 million in research costs, Stanford is demanding federal research overhead costs that are almost as high.
Federal auditors say Stanford spent federal grant money on administration parties, yachts, and costs for a shopping center. Stanford's dean of research insists the university "rigorously followed the guidelines and attempted to be conservative in all [its] judgments."
If the august institution gets its way, does it mean a private jet for its president and diamond-studded diplomas for its grads? Stay tuned.