Last Updated : Nov 04,2017
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Whisky or Whiskey refers to a broad category of alcoholic beverages that are distilled from grains and then aged in oak casks. The grains used vary from barley, rye, wheat to corn, malted rye, malted barley etc. Most whiskies are sold at or near an alcoholic strength of 40% alcohol by volume. Whisky gets the maximum flavour from the casks used in ageing process. The ageing of whisky happened between the time of distillation and bottling. Thus, one can understand how important is the quality of cask used which imparts taste and flavour.
Malted and plain barley are largely used in the production of whisky. In view of this, the different types of whisky are as follows:
Bourbon whiskey is American whisky in which at least 51% fermented mash is "corn". Nearly all bourbon produced comes from the state of Kentucky, and many people hold that only corn whiskey from Kentucky can truly be referred to as bourbon - though a few exceptions seem to belie this statement. Bourbon is aged for at least 2 years in a white oak barrel before being bottled. Bourbon is enjoyed straight or on the rocks and it may also be used to make cocktails such as Manhattan, Old Fashioned etc.
Whisky made entirely from malted barley and undergoes pot distillation in onion shaped pot stills.
Single Malt Whisky: Malt whisky from single distillation. Different batches are not blended together.
Vatted Malt Whisky:
Malt whiskies blended from different distilleries. It can also be labeled as "blended malts", "pure malt" or just "Malt".
Made from malted and unmalted barley along with grains. It is distilled in a "coffey or patent" still.
Blended Whisky: Whisky which is a blend of malt and grain whiskies. Famous examples include Scotch whisky, Irish Whisky etc.
Scotch whisky: Traditional Scotch whisky, also called as Scotch, is distilled in Scotland and has to be matured for a minimum of three years. The basic Scotch varieties are made with malt and grain which is combined to make blended whisky. Most prized Scotch whisky's are single malts which are very expensive.
Traditional Irish whisky is produced in Ireland, distilled thrice in pot stills usually and aged in wooden casks for more than three years. It is generally made from malted barley or a combination of malted and unmalted barley. Blended whiskeys from Ireland may also include corn or wheat alcohols mixed in with a blend of barley.
Canadian whisky has to be produced in Canada, distilled from a fermented mash of cereal grain, which is usually malted rye and aged in wooden casks for minimum three years. Because of rye, Canadian whisky is smooth, has a full flavour and feels light to the palate.
They are distilled from a fermented mash of cereal grain. The various whiskies famous in America are Bourbon (mash that contains at least 51% corn), Corn (mash that contains at least 80% corn and aged for around 6 months), Rye (mash that contains at least 51% rye) and Straight (mash that contains lesser than 51% of ay one grain).
How to select
Since there are a variety of whiskeys to choose from, choose wisely. Check for the authenticity seal and the "years of ageing" before purchasing. The name of cereal and grain used will be mentioned on the bottle, so one can recheck before purchasing.
· Whisky is best had neat, on the rocks or in classic cocktails. Some famous cocktails using whisky are Whisky Sour, Rye Manhattan, Smoky Scotch Martini, Rob Roy, Rusty Nail etc.
· Irish coffee, a famous flambé beverage is made with Irish whisky, coffee decoction and Baileys Irish cream.
· In food, whiskey is used in marinades for sushi, grilled meats etc.
· They can act as a flavour addition in soups and other savouries.
· Bourbon whiskey can be cooked with sausages and can be glazed with ham, pork and spare ribs.
How to store
Whiskey should be stored in a cool, dry place since bottled whiskey will lose some colour and flavour under direct sunlight. Whiskey can be stored upright or on its side, depending on the age of whiskey.
· Whiskey, when warm, can be consumed to help induce sleep.
· Whiskey contains compounds which protect the body's cells. These compounds come from oak barrels in which they are matured.
· It is believed that combining whiskey with honey and lemon can help soothe a sore throat.
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