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Drink More Whiskey


Drink More Whiskey
Everything You Need to Know About Your New Favorite Drink
by Daniel Yaffe

Chronicle Books, 2013

This guide to whiskey is for a new generation of drinkers venturing far beyond the staid whiskey sours and Manhattans of their grandfather's day.  It is a book for urbanite men and women eager to experiment, try new things, and play with their taste buds.  
Drink More Whiskey

"The 1970s and 1980s were marked by a surge of vodka consumption because people didn't want to taste their alcohol," claims author Daniel Yaffe. "Things are changing."




Today, the universe of flavored liquors - including vodkas and whiskeys - is exploding. The Big Bang of fine spirits is circling the globe and seeping into nightclubs, bars and private homes everywhere.

Yaffe's book briefly explains the differences in blends, single malts, pot still, rye and single grain whiskeys. And it offers a primer on how to make, taste and buy whiskeys. Individual chapters cover the distinctive natures of Irish, Scotch, Canadian and Japanese whiskeys as well a good old American bourbon.

Recipes for classic drinks and cocktails are scattered throughout the volume along with a little history.


Peat

The flavor of peat or "peatiness," or the lack thereof, defines and differentiates Scotch whiskys. This taste is created by using burning peat moss to smoke the barley that's used in making whisky.

"The bigger the percentage of barley smoked with peat, the more intense the smoky taste will be in the final whisky," Daniel Yaffee explains.

Islay, part of the Inner Hebrides archipelago off the coast of mainland Scotland, is where the most peaty, briny and smoky whiskys are made. Highland and Speyside whiskys from the northern reaches of Scotland are less peaty and tend to have a richer fruit and floral flavor than those from the coastal areas. 

Canada Eh?

Canadian whisky is the bestselling whisky in North America. It introduced Americans to smooth, easy drinking but lost some of its fame to an even smoother and easier drink with the advent of vodka. Although it took a while, Canadian whisky is back on the map.

Creativity is flowering in the land of the Mounties, but the whiskies don't often trickle out to other countries... U.S. brands like Whistlepig are bying Canadian-rye flavoring whiskies to mix and bottle in Vermont. With renewed interest in single malts and craft products, a blizzard of new bottles will show up in the next several years.






Whiskey Tasting

There's a lot of talk about what glass to use when tasting whiskey, and it's a valid (if geeky) conversation. Just going for a drink? Use anything that holds liquid. If you're out to taste whiskey, the shape, material, and size of the glass will make a difference. You can easily do a taste test with some friends by putting the same whiskey into three differently shaped glasses to smell and taste how the shapes can affect the experience. 

Crystal Whiskey Tasting Glass
 Crystal Whiskey Tasting Glass
A whiskey from a shot glass will taste slightly different from the same liquid in a wine glass or a whiskey snifter. Depending on its shape, the glass with hold the alcohol and aromas in distinctive ways, and because smell is a large part of how we taste, the glass affects the entire whiskey experience.

In general, your best choise is a tulip-shaped glass designed specifically for whiskey tasting. It will help to concentrate the aromas precisely where you stick your nose into the glass.



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Jack Daniels - Sippin Whiskey Tin Sign
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Photograph of recently dug peat blocks drying on the Isle of Islay, Scotland by Mark Boulton
Photograph of recently dug peat blocks drying on the Isle of Islay

by Mark Boulton

Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Tasting Glass
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