Whiskey 101: Different Types & Cocktails

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

WHISKEY & ITS TYPES

Whiskey is a spirit made from grain, typically from corn, rye, wheat, and barley. In order to convert the sugars in the grains into alcohol, yeast is added to the mixture (mash) . The spirit is then distilled and aged in wooden barrels, which is where it imparts most of its flavors and caramel color. However, whiskey can also be clear, and it's known as the "white dog". A white dog is the clear distilled spirit that has not been aged. There are many different characteristics to distinguishing whiskey - types of grain used, style, region, and age.

There are various different types of whiskeys from all over the world, but here's a breakdown of 4 of the most popular ones:

American
Bourbon
 
- Made in the US
 - Mash consists of at least 51% corn
 - Aged in new, charred oak barrels
 - Distilled to no more than 160 proof, or 80% alcohol by volume (ABV). 
 - Entered into the barrel for aging at a proof no higher than 125 (62.5% ABV).
 - Bottled at no less than 80 proof (40% ABV).

Rye
 - Made in the US
 - Mash consists of at least 51% rye
 - Aged in new, charred oak barrels
 - Distilled to no more than 160 proof (80% ABV)
 - Entered into the barrel for aging at a proof no higher than 125 (62.5% ABV)
 - Bottled at no less than 80 proof (40% ABV)

Non-American
Irish

- Must be made in Ireland or Northern Ireland
- Made from a mixture of malted and unsalted barley
- Must be aged at least 3 years in wooden casks
- Must be fermented only with yeast
- Distilled to no higher than 94.8% ABV

Scotch
- Must be made in Scotland from water and malted barley
- Must be aged at least 3 years in wooden casks
- May contain other grains, such as corn and wheat, but it must contain barley
- Must be fermented only with yeast
- Distilled to no higher than 94.8% ABV
- Bottled at at least 40% ABV

How to drink Whiskey?
Whiskey can be enjoyed in various ways. Whether it's neat or with a splash of water, on the rocks, or in a cocktail (my favorite), it's really up to you and how you prefer to drink it.
 

COCKTAILS & THEIR RECIPES

As mentioned earlier, a cocktail is my favorite way to enjoy whiskey. It can also be a gateway to introduce a person to the spirit. If you or your friend want to start drinking whiskey, I would suggest a cocktail. Nowadays, there's a myriad of whiskey cocktails crafted every day, but let's focus on the more traditional ones. We refer to them as the classics, and here are the recipes.

1. Old-Fashioned (traditionally with bourbon)

A well balanced cocktail, the Old-Fashioned is certainly
a favorite. It's the king of all whiskey cocktails.   View Recipe -->

 

2. Manhattan (traditionally with rye)

This cocktail is as popular as the one above. The difference is the Manhattan's sweetness comes not from sweet vermouth, and it's not built in the glass.   View Recipe -->

 

3. Whiskey Sour

Traditionally, a sour is made with egg whites, but this particular
one is as simple as a sour can ever be.   View Recipe -->

 

4. Mint Julep

If you're aware of the Kentucky Derby, then you must know this cocktail. As refreshing and delightful as a beverage can be, the Mint Julep takes the crown.   View Recipe -->


5. Boulevardier

Have you ever had a Negroni? The Boulevardier is a bourbon
drinker's version of that cocktail. Yes, you guessed it right,
bourbon replaces gin in this one.   View Recipe -->