Whiskey is distilled all over the world, and most popularly in Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Canada, and Japan. There are several styles of whiskey, and they can be used in numerous cocktail and shot recipes

What is whiskey made from?

Whiskey starts out just the same as beer with a mash of grains, such as barley (could be malted), corn, rye, or wheat. The grains are mixed with water and yeast for fermentation, which converts starches to sugars that become alcohol. Then the mixture is run through a pot still or continuous column still, which heats the liquid into a concentrated vapor. This comes out the other end as a high-proof liquid distillate that is clear.

How is it aged, barreled, and bottled?

Barreling and aging are some of the most important aspects of whiskey production. Barrels or casks used for aging determine the flavor of this beverage – aging typically lasts for few years. This imparts oak and wood flavors absorbed from the barrel or cask, darkens the liquor, and mellows out the harsh alcohol. The longer the whiskey is aged, the more intense its flavor will be.

After barreling, whiskey is then blended with other barrels or different styles of whiskey and often diluted to bottling strength. It is generally bottled at 80 proof of 40% alcohol by volume. Some barrel-strength whiskeys, which are not diluted, may reach 140 proof.

What does it taste like?

Every style of whiskey and each brand within the style have different flavor characteristics. It usually has grainy, woody, oaky taste with notes of caramel, vanilla, fruits, and spice. The alcohol burn can range from harsh to smooth.

Every style of whiskey and each brand within the style will have different flavor characteristics. In general, though, whiskey has a grainy, woody, oaky taste with notes of caramel, vanilla, fruits, and spice. Some whiskeys have a harsh alcohol burn while others are exceptionally smooth.

Common types of whiskey

Blended

As is evident from the name, it is a blend of several whiskeys that have already aged – it includes whiskeys distilled from different types of grains.

Single Malt

This term is used to distinguish a whiskey that is produced at a single distillery using a single malted grain.

Scotch

It includes single malts made from malted barley, along with blended whiskeys (grain whiskey too). The signature taste is a smokiness that is imparted by drying the malt over a peat-fueled fire.

Bourbon

This style has to be produced in the United States, and is one of the most tightly regulated beverages. must be made from at least 51 percent corn, distilled to no more than 160 proof, barreled no higher than 125 proof, and aged in new, charred oak barrels.

How to enjoy whiskey?

Higher end whiskeys like specialty bourbons and old scotch are often drunk straight. You can drink it on the rocks or add a splash of water to open up the aromas and flavors. Whiskey shots are also quite popular. You can experiment with many whiskey cocktail recipes.

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