2.04.2014

A Charming Lady's Whiskey Primer

I'm not really a whiskey person. At least not yet. The thing is, when I first started drinking, I pretty much stuck to blending strawberry margaritas, sweet white wine, and cosmos. Put any of those in front of my and I'll struggle to suck it down. Give me a dry red or beer any day; that's much more my style now. 

My husband is a serious whiskey fan. He'll drink it on the rocks or just on its own, as a manhattan or old fashioned, or maybe with a little water or bitters. I'll taste it every once in a while, but the taste is still pretty strong for me. I figured, however, that if I eventually acquired a taste for what I drink now, liking whiskey is only a matter of time. 

Even though I don't drink much whiskey these days (the exception is a good whiskey sour - so delicious!), I still know quite a bit. Robert is a hobby mixologist, and loves learning about liquors and alcohol, which means that I've absorbed a few tidbits of knowledge here and there too. 
Whiskey Basics
A whisky (Scotch or Canadian) or whiskey (American or Irish) is a spirit distilled from fermented grain mash. Each country of original has its own regulations regarding the production of whiskey, and there are a variety of sub-categories of whiskies, including bourbon and rye. 

Whiskey technically has only three ingredients: water, grain, and yeast. Once the whiskey has been fermented and distilled, it is aged for an average minimum of three years in oak barrels. Without the aging in barrels, whiskey is essentially just moonshine (no thanks!).

So, that's all great! But what about how to actually drink it. There are a few different ways, but there isn't really a wrong way to drink whiskey (just don't ask a whiskey snob). 

First things first! DON'T SNIFF WHISKEY like you sniff wine with your nose in the glass. Keep it further away from your face when you smell it, or it'll burn the capillaries in your nose.

You can DRINK WHISKEY STRAIGHT in a glass, with or without an ice cube. If you like it cold, go right ahead. Or, if you like it at room temperature, that's just fine too. TRY IT WITH A TEASPOON OF WATER to soften it, though you may want to drink Jack without the water. Whiskies at eighty proof have had water added already, so it may detract from the taste if you add more. 

There are quite a few cocktails made from whiskey, though a purist would tell you that Scotch shouldn't be used in any mixed drinks. If you aren't too sure about drinking whiskey straight just yet, try a mint julep (made with bourbon) or a manhattan (with rye). There's always a Jack and Coke, or if you're feeling especially adventurous, ask your bartender for a sazerac.

Traditional Old Fashioned
1 maraschino cherries
2 slices of orange
1 teaspoon sugar
Dash of angostura bitters
Teaspoon water
2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey

Lightly press an orange peel in a chilled rocks glass and add sugar, bitters, and water. Remove the orange rind and add the whiskey and ice; stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange slice.

Sources :: Primer Magazine // The Kitchn // Chow // Buzzfeed

12 comments:

Joelle Duff said...

Love this post! Ive been dabbling with whiskey for a bit now. The hubs has always loved it and when I had my first hot toddy I began to fall in love :)

Joelle Duff said...

Hot toddies are amazing! My husband made a few over the holidays, and I'm pretty sure that's when I knew I could like them too :) Have you tried one with Fireball? So good, just be careful...

Joelle Duff said...

I did try Fireball for the first time this winter.. agreed. a tad dangerous

Joelle Duff said...

Mehhh I'm not into whisky yet - I think it'll take a lottttt of time. But a whisky sour I think I can do :)

Joelle Duff said...

Thanks for the tips! I enjoy bourbon, but I think I want to branch out a little bit.

Joelle Duff said...

I honestly don't know that i could tell you the difference between bourbon and rye and whiskey etc. You should try this recipe and let me know what you think :)

Joelle Duff said...

Oh, you totally can. They are SO good!

Joelle Duff said...

This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Joelle Duff said...

I'm not much of a whiskey drinker either, but this was so very interesting!

Joelle Duff said...

You're very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it :)

Joelle Duff said...

You'll have to let me know if that changes ;)

Joelle Duff said...

If y'all can ever try it, Wathen's Bourbon is absolutely amazing! I was gifted a bottle of Wathen's and I love every sip of it...it is so smooth. I believe it's only sold in Kentucky and from what I hear it is a struggle to find it, but if you ever get a chance to look for it or have someone else look for it, it would be well worth the effort!