Why Should I Try It?
I honestly believe there is a whisky for everyone. You just have to find it, or maybe it will find you. Don’t force it. It can be an acquired taste. When you do find the right dram, it just might change your life, opening your eyes to a wonderful new world of smells and tastes. Use this quick guide to help ease the process.
What is Whisky, or is it Whiskey?
Whisky, like beer, has a very simple base of grain, water and yeast. In fact, the first step to making whisky is making beer. That beer is then distilled into a higher alcohol spirit, usually around 70-80%. The spirit is put into a barrel and aged until the distiller thinks it’s ready to be bottled and sold. Whisky is made in Scotland, Canada and most everywhere else in the world. Whiskey is made in the US and Ireland. It’s really all the same category of spirit. One
more thing – don’t be afraid to add water or ice if you are drinking whisk(e)y straight. It’s all about your enjoyment!
America’s whiskey! I would start here. Bourbon is often known to be sweet and easy to drink. High amounts of corn in the mash (what makes the beer) along with aging in brand new charred barrels makes for the sweetness.
-Pair bourbon with your favorite chocolate. This circular taste sensation will soften the alcohol bite of the bourbon and simultaneously cut through the creaminess of the chocolate.
Another American favorite from Pre-Prohibition days is rye whiskey. Floral up front and spicy on the finish, rye has a lot to offer the imbiber. There are more assertive flavors here vs. bourbon, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find your prefect match.
-Rye is paired most perfectly with other favors, balancing those bright characteristics with sweet to bitter partners. My favorite is the Manhattan, one of the loveliest cocktails ever created.
This is the biggest, hardest to follow category. Malt whisky is made all over the planet, put into all types of barrels and aged in all kinds of climates.
Malted barley is the only grain. This big flavor and texture makes a very unique spirit that has many searching for new releases from an ever-growing number of producers. Don’t forget blends, which soften some of those big, malt flavors with lighter, elegant grain whisky. The timid should start here. Pair malt whisky with cheeses, especially creamy ones. One of my absolute favorites is creamy blues and peaty malts. They are both big favors that really compliment each other on my levels.