Whiskey takes its name from the Celtic word uisqebaugh, which means "water of life."

With a few exceptions, whiskeys are grain-based and wood-matured spirits distilled in the United States and Ireland, whereas as whiskys are produced in Scotland and Canada.

Different grains are used to produce whiskeys, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. Irish whiskeys made from malted barley are called Single Malt Whiskeys, those produced from wheat or corn are Grain Whiskeys, and combinations of the two are known as Blended Whiskeys.

Whiskeys made from 100% barley are called Pure Pot Still Whsikeys.

How To Taste a Whisky

Native to Kentucky, but legally distilled anywhere in America, bourbon is a straight whiskey made from at least 51% corn grain mash and aged in new, charred oak barrels.

Rye Whiskey
An American icon once distilled by George Washington, whiskeys made from rye are less common than bourbons but distinctively robust and cherished by experienced drinkers.

Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
Similar to bourbon, these whiskeys are filtered through maple charcoal chunks in a process that gives them a smoky flavor of cigarette ashes or chimney soot.

Blended Whiskey
Less expensive than straight whiskeys or bourbons, blended whiskeys are approximately 80% neutral grain spirits and 20% straight whiskey. They are best used as mixers.

White Whiskey
Also known as moonshine, colorless whiskeys are a growing niche market for craft distillers in the United States.
The color of whiskey comes from the time it is kept in wooden kegs, generally two years at least. White whiskeys don't undergo that aging process, so they don't pick up the color, smell or even taste it provides.  Multiple distillations and removal of weak parts of the whisket - called "heads" and "tails" because of their physical placement -  are creating a finer grade of moonshine and fewer headaches.

"Grain to Glass"

The whiskey version of the foodie slogan "farm to table" implies a connection to fresh, local ingredients. The number of small craft distilleries attuned to  local crops and customs have grown in the U.S. from about 200 in 2008 to over 500 in 2013. These are not farmers making corn mash in a shed.

Craft distilleries have the advantage of being nimble enough to experiment with niche products and close enough to their customers to spot new trends.

The longest running whisky festival in the U.S. offers tastings of more than 250 whiskies from around the world (Scotch, Irish, Canadian, American, Japanese, Indian, and Australian); many of them rare and exclusive. Held annualy on separate dates in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, the event features whisky distillers, master blenders, and other whisky experts in addition to the spirits. Hosted by Whisky Advocate magazine.

Flavored Whiskeys

As with vodkas and rums, many whiskey distillers are now flavoring their spirits. Two of the earliest entries in American sweet whiskeys were Wild Turkey's
honey-infused American Honey and Jim Beam's cherry-flavored Red Stag  bourbon. Today's market includes Evan Williams Honey Reserve and Cherry Reserve, the hot cinnamon Early Times Fire, the apple-flavored Blind Archer, and Jack Daniels' Tennessee Honey.

From Canada, there's now a maple syrup Crown Royal, from Ireland a Bushmills Irish Honey, and from Scotland the Highlander Honey by Dewar's.

According to market researchers, flavored whiskeys are the fastest growing segment of the bourbon industry.


Shot glass of whiskey.
Chilled 3/4 glass of beer.
Drink shot and chase with beer, or drop shot into beer and drink.

Whiskey Sour
Tall glass of ice.
2oz whiskey
Fill with sour mix. Shake.
Garnish with cherry and orange.

Warm Whiskey Cider
1 cups apple juice
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 shots of Irish Whiskey
1 cinnamon sticks

Heat apple juice and spices in a pot on the stove. Just before boiling, remove from heat, give the juice a stir and let the spices infuse for 5 minutes. Add whiskey and reheat to serve.

Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Tasting Glass
Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Tasting Glass

Whiskey Gift Set
Bormioli Rocco Selecta 7-Piece Whiskey Gift Set
Whisky Stones
Whisky Stones
Whiskey On Water Glass
Whiskey On Water Glass

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

Whiskey Kit
Whiskey Kit

Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide by Michael Jackson

The Definitive World Guide by Michael Jackson

The Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned

An Essential Guide to the Original Whiskey Cocktail
by Albert W. A. Schmid

In Good Spirits
A man drinks a shot of whiskey every night before bed, but wife wants him to quit. She gets two shot glasses, filling one with water and the other with whiskey. After handing them to him, she pulls a worm from his bait box and says "I want you to see this." She puts a worm in the water it, and it swims around. She puts a worm in the whiskey, and the worm dies immediately. "What do you have to say now?" He responds: "If I drink whiskey, I won't get worms!"

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