Whiskey is a real man’s drink, sophisticated and manly, and it is served neat or on the rocks with a little soda water. Some like it mixed with some sweet vermouth, but whiskey is whiskey, even with these different variations. Although, some say that true whiskey drinkers don’t mix their whiskey with ice or anything for that matter, because ice lowers its temperature and then the taste is weaker.
The original spelling is “whisky” and it means “water of life” in Gaelic. Americans and the Irish added the extra “e” in the name after the 1800s to distinguish it from the whisky produced in Scotland and Canada and to indicate its higher quality.
Today, this extra letter doesn’t mean higher quality, as the Scotch, the Canadians and the Japanese have amazing whiskies now, and are considered to be among the best ones internationally. There are 7 regions where whiskey is distilled, and those are Scotland (Scotch Whisky), Ireland (Irish Whiskey), Kentucky (Bourbon), Canada (Canadian Whisky), Tennessee (Tennessee Whiskey), Japan (Japanese Whisky), and New Zealand (NZ Whisky). The last two entries on our list are often disputed.
- Kentucky bourbon is made of corn, and it tastes slightly sweeter than other whiskeys. This is one of the best whiskeys, but it is produced in a county where selling liquor is illegal.
- Irish whiskey is triple-distilled and pure-malted barley is used in the process of production. There are stories about Irish monks being the ones who created the first whiskey ever. It is a little smoother than Scotch and it ages for 3 years until it is ready to be enjoyed.
- Scotch or Scottish whisky started being actively made around 1707 after the Act of Union and at the time most of the distilleries were operating illegally.
- Canadian whisky uses malted rye as the grain and it is the spirit most imported into the U.S., followed closely by vodka.
- Tennessee whiskey is a straight bourbon (but the producers will never classify it as bourbon) and it has two major brands of whiskey – Jack Daniels and George Dickel. You have surely heard of the first one.
A good whiskey usually needs to stay in an oak barrel for a minimum of 2-3 years, and the older it gets the more valuable it becomes. The level of alcohol in this drink is significantly higher than in the strongest glass of wine, and it isn’t easy for everyone to drink. It’s like caviar, you really need to have an acquired taste for it. But once you learn to like it, it becomes wonderful and it pulls you into a world of diversity and subtle flavor varieties.
Unlike wine made from grapes and other distilled drinks, whiskey is, as it was already mentioned, made from grains.
If you look at the process of production, it resembles beer. But the difference between the two drinks is that beer brewers add hops to help control the sweetness and flavor. Whiskey doesn’t need hops as it stays in oak barrels where its flavors are balanced and the whiskey is preserved thanks to the increased alcohol levels during the distilling process.
Drinking whiskey is considered as one of the arts of manliness.
This drink was first made to serve for medicinal purposes, but it soon became the drink of choice. After the colonization of States, when whiskey was brought across the Atlantic Ocean, George Washington liked indulging in whiskey frequently, and he even admitted that it was his favorite vice. He liked whiskey so much that he opened a distillery at Mount Vernon which is still operating. These days, when you think about a man and his masculinity, you probably have a strong person in mind, holding a glass of whiskey in one, and a cigar in the other hand. It is unclear when did this ‘stereotype’ begin, but it is a fact that for centuries men have been enjoying this liquid pleasure. Some of these men were Winston Churchill, Clark Gable and Mark Twain, all of them perceived as very strong and masculine.
When it comes to the price of whiskey, the ones that have aged longer will always be the more expensive ones, and those are smoother and don’t give you the feeling of burning as much as the cheaper ones.
Besides that, there aren’t many differences in the taste of whiskey that costs 20-35 dollars and the one that costs 35-100 dollars, if you are not a passionate and experienced whiskey drinker. However, after a while, you will be able to make a difference between an aged and young whiskey, and even determine whether it is single malt or blended. You will also be able to notice its geographical origin and alcohol content.
Finally, if you’re drinking whiskey – drink it right, from a glass made especially for that purpose. Those are usually lowball glasses that can hold around 8-10 oz of whiskey. You can also get a tulip-shaped glass which will allow you to really smell the whiskey, as the vapors and taste will be concentrated inside and give you the real experience and the feeling of sophistication.