All About Whiskey

Well. Here we are, the tip of the whiskey iceberg. It might not look like much from here, but there's a whole world to discover. Whiskey covers an enormous span of spirits, ranging from bourbon to scotch and from Japan to the U.S. At its core, whiskey is a spirit made from a fermented grain mash — but it's so much more than that.

A mash is simply a mixture of grains and water. Those grains are typically any mixture of corn, rye, wheat and barley. Altering the combination or leaning heavily on one will lend whiskeys different flavors and aromas. Whiskey is also aged, typically in charred-oak barrels, to bring out the flavor further. Depending on their grain and method of production, whiskeys can range from sweet to spicy and smooth to smoky. Try them all, and happy sipping.

Whiskey Versus Whisky:

Calm down. This will not be a battle to the death. If it comes from Ireland or the United States, it's spelled with an "E." If it's from Scotland, Canada, Japan or anywhere else, then there's no "E." It's as simple as that, so put down your fighting weapons.

Types of Whiskey:

Speaking of whiskeys from different parts of the world, let's look at a few of the most common types:

  • Scotch: As the name implies, scotch or scotch whiskey comes from Scotland. It's made from either malt or barley, and Scotch law regulates the fermentation and aging process. If you want to sound like a scotch connoisseur, ask for a dram instead of a shot when ordering at the local pub. You'll feel like a local instantly.
  • Irish: The Irish refer to whiskey as "water of life," and we understand why. Irish whiskey is smoother than the whiskeys produced in other parts of Europe, so it's a drinkable choice if you prefer less bite with your beverage. Just remember to keep count as the bartender pours — or don't; it's up to you.
  • Bourbon: Bourbon often comes from the great state of Kentucky, and the word bourbon is often used interchangeably to mean American-made whiskey. It can also come from Tennessee and other parts of the South, and take our word for it when we tell you that Southerners take their bourbon seriously.
  • Japanese: The Japanese took their distillery cues from the Scottish, so you won't find many taste differences between Scotch and Japanese whiskey. However, much of what Japan makes is of the single-malt variety, so expect quality all the way.
  • American: Many forms of American whiskey are considered bourbon, though that's not always the case. It's typically made from cereal grain, and you can find both blended and straight American whiskeys.

You might already be familiar with some of the more famous brands of whiskey, such as the following notables:

  • Bulleit: pronounced like the thing you put in a gun before you fire
  • Jim Beam Bourbon: A 200-year-old Kentucky tradition
  • Johnnie Walker: Black, blue — the color doesn't matter

Don't be afraid to try some of the unfamiliar brands, though. They might tickle your taste buds.

How to Drink It:

It depends on the whiskey you've got. Most whiskeys can certainly be enjoyed neat, and there is no shortage of delicious cocktails you could try. Figure out what type of whiskey you want to pick up; then go from there.

When you're in a hurry to enjoy your whiskey, feel free to shoot it — we won't judge. You can also sip it slowly as a nightcap, add a splash of your favorite flavored cola or mix it with carbonated water.

If you're hungry, grab a platter of cheese — preferably of the aged variety — or a few squares of delectable dark chocolate. You might also enjoy pairing whiskey with tangy fruits, Southern-style barbecue or — trust us — a slice of pumpkin pie.

So what are you waiting for? Buy whiskey online through Drizly at a great price and have it delivered directly to your door. Cheers.