With the possible exception of wine drinkers, whiskey has the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan base. Or at least, that's what we'd like to think. And we're happy to talk about it with anyone who will listen. Save face with your whiskey loving friends by brushing up on everything you need to know about whiskey. Let's start with the basics.What is Whiskey Made From?
Well, mostly fermented grain mash. Depending on the type of whiskey, the grain varies. Typical choices include barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Distilled and aged in oak barrels, whiskey often absorbs a woody flavor during storage.How Do You Drink Whiskey?
The better question, is how don't you drink whiskey? Drink it neat in a glass, on the rocks, in a cocktail, or even straight from the bottle. Whiskey is as versatile as it is delicious.What Are Some Popular Whiskey Drinks?
- Chances are good you've seen this one on TV. A Manhattan is made with whiskey, bitters, and sweet vermouth. It's mixed with ice, strained into a glass, and garnished with a maraschino cherry.
- Old Fashioned
- Aptly named, the Old Fashioned is a cocktail classic. Muddled sugar and bitters, combined with your favorite whiskey, topped with a twist of citrus.
- Whiskey Sour
- The traditional Whiskey Sour has been around since the 1800s. Typically made from Bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar, served straight up or on the rocks.
There are a wide variety of grains available to be fermented and turned into distilled liquor. Each one gives its resulting whiskey a unique flavor worthy of a unique name. Another way of distinguishing between different types of whiskey is by the geographic area it comes from. Most whiskeys hail from The United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Sound like a lot to remember? Never fear, we've got a break down of the seven most popular types of whiskey — including where they're made and what's in 'em.
- Made in the good 'ol U.S. of A., Bourbon is Kentucky's most celebrated contribution to American culture. The only exception being the Colonel's chicken. Bourbon is unique in that it is made primarily with corn, as opposed to a wheat or grain.
- Tennessee Whiskey
- Honestly, this is pretty much the same as bourbon. Mostly made with corn as well, the major difference is that it's made in Tennessee instead of Kentucky. They don't label their products as bourbon, and insist on maintaining the distinction. Whiskey heavy-hitters Jack Daniels are one of the biggest distributors of Tennessee Whiskey, so apparently the branding worked.
- Rye Whiskey
- A drier version of your typical bourbon. Also typically made in America, this bourbon's fermented grain mash has to be made up of at least 51% rye to qualify. Rye Whiskey is great for a seasoned whiskey drinker, and anyone who prefers the bold kick of whiskey to the sweet undertones. of bourbon.
- Irish Whiskey
- Made in, you guessed it, Ireland. Irish Whiskey is generally a blended single malt whiskey. It's pretty much the international Rockstar of the whiskey world. Smooth, sweet, and immensely popular, Irish Whiskey is a great beginner's choice.
- Although typically malted, Scotch can also be made from grain and hails from its namesake, Scotland. One of the key distinguishing features of Scotch is that it has to be aged a minimum of three years inside the barrel. The longer it's aged, the better it's considered to be. More time to absorb those delicious, floral, woodsy flavors. A drink for true whiskey snobs, Scotch is a unique and complicated whiskey worthy of it's own category.
- Like American Alcohol's little brother, Canadian whiskey is also typically made with corn. Although, it's definitely distinguishable from American bourbons. Canadian distilleries typically incorporate two or more grains in their mash, as well as adding some caramel flavoring. Canadian whiskeys are lighter in color and consistency, and are sometimes referred to as 'brown vodka' by whiskey connoisseurs.
- Despite what you may have heard, Japanese whiskey isn't made with rice. Most Japanese distilleries are actually producing a product pretty similar to Scotch. Mostly single malt and blended whiskeys with a Western influence, Japanese whiskey offers a crisp, clean, subtly sweet drink that can easily be enjoyed on the rocks.
Now that you know enough about whiskey to impress a novice bartender, check out some of the best Whiskeys on the market. Take it from us, you should be drinking these!
- Maker's Mark
- If whiskey is the “tough guy” of the alcohol world. than Maker’s Mark is Casanova. Smooth and approachable with an easy finish, this straight bourbon whisky is a stark contrast to contrast to hot, harsh whiskies that “blow your ears off.” Made slowly in small batches, and aged with warm caramel aromas, this Kentucky bourbon is sure to improve any cocktail.
- Pappy Van Winkle
- Pappy Van Winkle is one of the rarest whiskeys in the world. Most distilleries make millions of cases of whiskey each year. Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery only releases between 7,000 and 8,000 cases. If you can get your hands on a bottle, you've got to try this bourbon.
- If Japanese Whiskey sounds like your jam, then you've got to try the long-awaited new 12 -year-old blend from Hibiki. It's a lovely malt from Hakushu and Yamazaki, plus some aged grain. Partially matured in casks that were formerly home to Japanese plum liqueur, this whiskey is the epitome of Asian flavors beautifully blended with Western influences.
- Macallan is known for releasing some of the finest and most collectible whiskeys in the world. They even have registry for their whiskeys so you can ensure you've purchase an original, and not a bootleg. Pretty serious Whiskey business. You can grab a bottle from us starting at just $249.