George Bernard Shaw captioned it perfectly when he described whisky as liquid sunshine. Just like its sunny counterpart, a glass of it makes you cheery and warm to your fellow humans. The drink makes you sociable yet distinguished-looking. The ones who drink this are less likely to have hangovers than those who prefer other alcoholic beverages. It is the go-to swills of those who prefer hard drinks over different kinds. It is why several areas across the globe have at least one whisky distillery.
The first mention of whisky (or whiskey to the Irish and American drinkers) appeared in 1494. It has gone through a lot of processes, but the malt-and-spirit balance of a good bottle remains the same. What you would see in a whisky distillery is the fermentation of grains, such as barley, rye, corn, or wheat. The taste may be reliable, but the health benefits outweigh the tanginess. It slows ageing, fights cancer, an excellent weight-loss tool, and lowers the risk of dementia and heart disease. And would you believe that hot toddies (a potent combination of lemon, honey, and whiskey) claim to cure cold symptoms? These are just some of the reasons why whiskey remains one of the most popular swigs for young and old alike. And there are several types, four of which are mentioned below in detail.
As the name suggests, Scotland is the sole provider of genuine Scotch whiskey. The distilleries use either grain or malt. The smoky liquor needs aging for three years in a new or used oak barrel as required by law. (Yes, Scottish whiskey-makers take distilling very seriously.) The volume should have at least forty per cent of alcohol, and there should be an indicated age statement for the drinker to know the age of the spirit. People prefer this drink after dinner, to remove the aftertaste of steak and salad.
The Irish also have their own set of whiskey standards. This smoother type also needs distilling and aged for a minimum of three years in used wooden casks. But these can only be distilled by using a combination of malt mash and cereal grains grown in Ireland. You can either drink it straight-on-the-rocks or as an addition to cocktails.
Bourbon is a type of American-made whiskey and mainly distilled from corn. A big chunk of the world’s supply comes from Kentucky, although a lot of other states also produce them now. If it is not American-made, it is not bourbon as per federal standards. Unlike its Irish and Scottish counterparts, it is made from around fifty-one per cent of corn. It is also stored and aged in new, charred oak barrels with no other additives.
Rye or Rye Malt Whisky
Compared to barley, rye is a complicated drink to process. The rye malt whiskey needs ageing for three years with completely dried virgin oak casks from America. The flavours are varied. Think floral and lemon tinges, or orange and butterscotch with woodsy tones, with a forty-six per cent bottling strength.
Indeed, whiskey has gone a long way from being used as an instant antiseptic in the war zone. A moderate and responsible drink goes a long way for a longer lifespan and a more relaxed you.