What is Whiskey?


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Getting into the delicious, smoky world of whiskey (or whisky) can be intimidating. Whiskey itself has many varied types, all with their own rules and regulations. This broad categorization of the spirit, with all the different brands, terms, ways to drink it and just general strong opinions surrounding it makes it seem difficult to figure out. But fear not, we’re going to give you the absolute basics here first.


Definition:

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-A spirit distilled from fermented grain

-Different grains, which may also be malted, are used to make different varieties of whiskey—such as rye and barley

-The overall uniting characteristics of these varied types of whiskey are the fermentation of grain, distillation, and then aging in wooden barrels.


A brief history:

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We can trace whiskey well over half a millennia ago when distillation was brought by monks from mainland Europe to Ireland and Scotland

These cold countries lacked the vineyards that continental Europe had, so the monasteries turned to grain instead, leading to the earliest distillations of what we know today as whiskey

By the early sixteenth century, the production of whisky was opened to the public, after Henry VIII of England disestablished the monasteries.

These newly independent monks turned to distillation to make a living. European colonists, particularly those of Irish and Scottish descent, brought the distillation process of whiskey to America and began to distill a variety of grain and mash


"Whiskey" or "Whisky"?

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So, what’s the difference with the spelling? Are they the same thing? No they are not.

The main difference between whiskey and whisky is where the spirit is produced.  

America and Ireland usually spell it with the added e. However, Scotland, Canada, Japan and elsewhere spell it whisky.


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The differences between other types of whiskey such as bourbon, scotch or rye are slightly more complex. We’ll discuss these tasty varieties in future posts. Thanks for reading and as always...

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City