Whiskey is a well-known, aged spirit that has been produced for centuries. It is a popular alcoholic beverage that is appreciated globally and is created from various grains — including barley, corn, rye and wheat — and is typically aged in wood barrels for years. Learn some of the basic facts about whiskey and its history.
Whiskey is made of a mixture of fermented grains, typically aged in barrels. It is a long, rigorous process that has evolved over time as distilleries continue to experiment in creating new flavors, textures and tastes in their whiskeys. It can be a hard drink that takes an acquired taste due to its high alcohol content, but when appreciated, whiskey has a rich and diverse set of aromas and flavors.
Whiskey is created and distilled with the same ingredients found in beer. It is simply a more pure, potent alcohol spirit that takes longer to ferment and distill. There are many different kinds of whiskey that you may be familiar with. One way to think about whiskey is to consider it a more general, umbrella term for a wide selection of spirits. For example, all bourbon and scotch is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon or scotch. The difference in name primarily lies in legal definitions of the alcohol, mixture of grains, or geographic location.
The most popular whiskey distinctions are:
Scotch whisky: Scotch must be made in Scotland and is typically distilled from malted barley and aged for at least three years. No additives are allowed with the exception of water and caramel coloring.
Irish whiskey: Irish whiskey must be made in Ireland and aged for at least three years in wooden barrels.
Bourbon whiskey: Bourbon is made in the USA and must be at least 51% corn and aged in an unused oak barrel.
Other well-known whiskey blends are Tennessee whiskey, American rye whiskey and Canadian rye whiskey.
Whiskey has a long and interesting history across the globe. The term “whiskey” or “whisky,” as it is written in Scotland, derives from a Gaelic phrase meaning “water of life.” Myth says that whiskey was first developed by Irish monks who traveled to the Middle East and saw their methods for making perfume and applied that practice to create a medicinal concoction. Evidence of whiskey distilling first seen as far back as the 12th century. Whiskey was originally distilled in apothecaries and monasteries to be utilized as a medicine.
The whiskey distillation process was brought to the United States by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Whiskey didn’t become popular in the USA until the 18th century when it was used as a currency among farmers in the Revolutionary War and commonly shared in taverns. It grew in popularity after the rum trade was stunted due to the English blockade that stopped sugar and molasses from entering the country. Whiskey was a cheap alternative that relied on grains that farmers had ready access to.
Whiskey grew to become a very popular drink throughout the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Due to unreliable water sources, it was a common drink of choice at meals. Popularity declined after the Civil War. It wasn’t until after the prohibition, whiskey popularity returned with the development of a distinctly American whiskey, bourbon.
Whiskey is a liquor that is slowly sipped. It can be served neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water. Water is commonly added to distill the high alcohol proof so the drinker can better smell and taste the aromatic flavorings.
Whiskey is a liquor with a long history that has spawned distinct regional flavors and distillation processes. For cigar pairing recommendations, simply ask any of our employees in BLEND Bar with Davidoff Cigars® and we’ll be happy to help. We have a great collection of bourbon, scotch, irish and rye whiskeys. In addition to commonly found whiskeys, we also carry rare blends that have been bottled exclusively for BLEND. See a full bar list on our website.
BLEND Bar with Davidoff Cigars® is Indianapolis and Nashville’s premier cocktail lounge and cigar bar. BLEND’s selection of premium cigars is second to none, and our walk-in humidor is one of the largest in the US. BLEND is the only appointed merchant for Davidoff cigars in Indiana, so cigar aficionados are sure to find what they are looking for.