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  • What Is whisky?
    Whisky is an amber-colored distilled spirit made out of fermented grain (most often rye, wheat, corn, or barley). Most whiskys are aged in wooden casks before bottling and have a minimum 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). There are many different whisky types, usually distinguished by their place of origin, types of grain, blending process, or the aging process. While each whisky type varies in flavor, the spirit is commonly described as warm, spicy, sweet, caramelly, or toasty.
  • What are the origins of Whisky?
    The earliest reports of distilled alcohol come from the thirteenth century in Italy, where they distilled alcohol from wine to create medicinal tonics. Distillation practices spread throughout Europe. By the late fifteenth century, countries such as Ireland and Scotland were distilling aqua vitae (literally “water of life,” the original term for distilled spirits) for medicinal purposes and recreational drinking.
  • What are the types of Whisky?
    Bourbon whisky: Bourbon is American whisky, often (though not exclusively) produced in Kentucky, that contains at least 51 percent corn in its mash bill or grain makeup. Bourbon must be aged in newly charred oak barrels if produced in the United States, which makes for a typically nutty flavor profile and a mellow, caramelized sweetness. Tennessee whisky: A subtype of Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal before it is aged. This filtering method is the Lincoln County Process, and it is what gives Tennessee Whisky its own unique flavor. Single-malt whisky: A single-malt whiskey comes from a single distillery and only contains one type of malted grain. A single-malt whisky bottle may include whiskey from several different casks—unless it’s a single cask whisky. Rye whisky: Rye a whisky containing at least 51 percent rye in its mash bill. Like bourbon, rye must be aged in newly charred oak barrels if produced in the United States. In general, rye is lighter-bodied than many other whiskys; you can identify it by its tingly spiciness. Irish whisky: A spirit must be produced from malt, cereal grain, and barley and distilled, aged, and bottled in Ireland to qualify as Irish whiskey. Irish whisky must be aged in wooden casks for a minimum of three years. The more muted, malt character of Irish whisky shines most when the spirit is aged in less conventional vessels like sherry casks or rum casks. Scotch whisky: Scotch must be distilled, aged, and bottled in Scotland. Scottish law mandates that scotch be aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years. Scotch malt whisky producers traditionally operate in five specific Scottish regions: the Highlands, the Lowlands, Campbeltown, Islay, and Speyside. Scotch receives its smoky character from peat, a dense moss that is lit on fire to dry out the malted barley used in distillation. Unless a recipe calls for a particular scotch by producer or style, a blended scotch will be your best bet for most cocktails. Use a single-malt scotch if you're drinking it neat or on the rocks. Canadian whisky: Canadian whisky must be produced and aged in Canada, have a minimum of 40 percent ABV, and be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels no larger than 700 liters. Canadian whiskey can also contain caramel and other flavorings or additives, leading to diverse tastes between brands. Japanese whisky: Whisky is bottled in Japan, but it isn’t necessarily distilled or aged there. Some Japanese whisky draws immediate comparisons to Scotch whisky, while other producers are continually evolving, harnessing the unique qualities of indigenous Japanese oak. Blended whisky: A blended whisky is a mixture of different whiskys, potentially produced by different distilleries.
  • What are the most common Whisky cocktails?
    Here are some classic whiskey cocktails that you can make at home: Boston Sour: A popular variant of a Whisky Sour, the Boston Sour includes egg white, bourbon whisky, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Boulevardier: The Boulevardier cocktail is equal parts bourbon whisky, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Serve a Boulevardier in a rocks glass over ice, and crown it with a fragrant orange twist. Hot Toddy: A popular cold-weather cocktail, the Hot Toddy is a combination of whisky, honey, lemon, and tea or hot water, typically served hot in a mug. Manhattan: Named for the New York City borough of its birth, the Manhattan is a cocktail made of two parts whisky (rye or bourbon), one part sweet vermouth, and a few dashes of aromatic bitters. Stir a Manhattan and garnish it with a brandied cherry or two. Mint Julep: A Mint Julep is a classic bourbon cocktail brightened with fresh mint and simple syrup. They’re traditionally served in a Pewter or Silver cup (often called a Julep cup), which is meant to be held by the rim to allow the cup to frost over. New York Sour: The New York Sour (also known as the Continental Sour or Southern Whisky Sour) is a combination of whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, sometimes egg white, and a fruity red wine float. Old Fashioned: The Old Fashioned, one of the original whisky cocktails, was once considered a simple way to elevate poor quality spirits into something palatable. You can make it with bourbon or rye whisky, Angostura bitters, and sugar. Garnish it with an orange twist or maraschino cherry. Whisky Highball: A Highball refers to various “tall” drinks containing one shot of a base spirit topped with a non-alcoholic mixer, served in a highball glass or a narrow Collins glass over ice. Make a Whisky Highball with a shot of whisky and a generous pour of ginger ale on top. Whisky Smash: A popular summertime cocktail, the Whisky Smash is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and mint leaves. Whisky Sour: A reliably satisfying whiskey cocktail, the Whisky Sour includes bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Garnish it with half an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
  • Whisky vs. Whiskey: What’s the difference?
    Throughout your search for Whisky, you might see some products spelled “Whisky” and sometimes “Whiskey.” Most people only know that there are two different ways to spell Whiskey, but that’s about as far as it goes. We’re here to answer why there are different spellings and what the differences are. Long story short, Whisky is Whiskey. Technically, there’s not a wrong way to spell it when choosing between the two options, but it definitely has some stipulations. Depending on where the Whiskey is from, the spelling will change. Here’s a breakdown to help make it easier. But why two spellings? The history and debate of the spelling goes all the way back to the birth of the spirit: Ireland and the British Isles. Both Scotland and Ireland were the first countries to take production of Whiskey seriously. It was originally called “uisge breatha” aka breath of life, but quickly gained the nickname of Whiskey (thank goodness, right?). Since the two countries have different dialects, that meant using “ey” for the Irish and “y” for the Scottish. Other countries that were introduced to the spirit typically took on the spelling of the influential country. Initially, the U.S. had both spellings floating around, not really able to choose just one; however, the high influx of Irish immigrants in the 1800s and the creation of American Whiskey in 1840 solidified the “ey” spelling.
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