The Geography of Whiskey
Whiskey is not something consumed for intoxication, but rather for savoring the taste. Once seen as the pastime of corporate executives, whiskey consumption has greatly risen amongst all demographics across many different countries. As the enjoyment of this fine spirit increases, we think that so should the public’s understanding of the different kinds of whiskey. Today we’ll take a tour of one of our favorite cocktail ingredients.
American whiskey is usually less smoky and more sweet due to it barely being smoked with peat. Usually, American whiskey is under 80 proof; however, brands like Maker’s Mark are paving the way for high-quality, high-ABV whiskeys. When it comes to aging, American whiskey’s are aged in a new charred oak barrel versus their European counterpart which usually uses barrels that were used in previous batches. This creates more consistency in taste for American whiskeys. These whiskeys include Bourbon, Tennessee, Rye, Wheat, and American Single Malt. Signature drinks with American Whiskey, particularly Bourbon, include the Old-Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, and a Mint Julep.
Japanese whiskey has taken over as the new kid on the block. In the 1960’s, lighter drinks had become more popular in America, making American whiskey producers to focus their marketing emphasis elsewhere — Japan was a surprising success. The Japanese took what was already made with whiskey and combined it with their culture’s discipline and obsession of perfection. The result was a whiskey smooth and delicate, sometimes with a dash with honey to add sweetness. A perfect example of an exceptional Japanese spirit is Suntory Toki. A ssunignature Japanese whiskey cocktail is the Maneki-tini.
Scotch is whiskey made from Scotland. But it’s so much more than that. This small country has been perfecting their art of whiskey making, making some of the most famous and expensive whiskey, Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label arguably being the most well-known. Like wines, the regions of Scotland produce unique varieties and flavors. To receive the honor of being called Scotch, the drink must be made from malted barley, be aged for no less than three years and made in Scotland. Signature scotch cocktails include the Rob Roy and the Blood & Sand.
30 miles away from the coast of Scotland lies another whiskey epicenter of the world — Ireland. While varied, a general descriptor would be light, fruity and much less peaty than its Scottish counterpart. Traditionally, Irish whiskey is triple distilled in a copper pot versus the double distillation popular in Scotland. Whiskies in Ireland are divided by classification: single malt, grain, single grain, blended, and single pot still. The most famous Irish whiskey, and preferably our favorite, is Jameson Irish Whiskey. Signature cocktails for Irish whiskey include the infamous Irish Coffee and the Irish Car Bomb