I have a new go-to drink and it’s whiskey. In my 62 years, I remember trying it once and thinking it was nothing special. Then I had the opportunity to visit Denver, Colorado, and go on a whiskey tasting tour.
I got a history lesson but more importantly, I learned there is a special way to drink it to get the full experience and taste. Science is actually involved and a chemical reaction is required to bring out the flavor but more about that later. All I can say is I am hooked.
Why is it a women’s drink?
- No Fat
- Low Carb (Standard shot contains .04g in the form of sugar which is transformed into energy as soon as it enters the body.)
- Antioxidant (contains ellagic acid)
- Delicious taste
- A certain cache or aura of sophistication is added when ordering a whiskey!
What is Whiskey?
Whiskey is any booze distilled from fermented grain mash with the exception of corn, which does not need to be aged. There are five ingredients; water, grain, yeast, oak barrels, and time. Whiskey is distilled at a minimum of 40% and a maximum of 94.8% alcohol by volume (ABV).
There are different types of whiskeys:
Bourbon – is made in the US, 51% from corn. After being distilled, the spirit must be stored at no more than 125 proof, for a minimum two years
Tennessee Whiskey – most famous is Jack Daniels, same as bourbon, but put through a charcoal filtering process
Scotch – must be made in Scotland, from malted barley, aged in oak casks for no less than three years, typically 4 years, ABV less than 94.8
Rye – Canada distills rye and has since the country was first settled. It is produced with varying corn-rye ratios as there are no rules in place regarding the minimum amount of rye mash. Alberta Premium is 100% rye.
Irish Whiskey – from the republic of Ireland or Northern Island distilled to 94.8, aged in wooden casks for three years.
My Two Favorite Denver Whiskeys
Stranahans Single Malt : It is the number one American single barley malt whiskey in the US. It uses Rocky Mountain water to cut to 94 proof. Handcrafted in a non-chill filtered system.
A.D. Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon: Bottled at 95 proof, aged minimum three years in new oak barrels, it marries corn and Colorado wheat, rye, and barley. Won 2016 Silver Medal at San Francisco’s World
You Don’t Drink Whiskey, You Experience It
- Pour the whiskey into a tulip glass.
- Slowly roll the glass at a forty-five-degree angle and then stand the glass straight up.
- Look for thick runs (legs) of whiskey down the inside of the glass. The thicker the run, the lower the alcohol content
- Move the glass 6 inches away and breathe 3 times through the nose and mouth. This is the top-shelf whiskey and prepares your mouth for the taste of the whiskey.
- Then do the “Chattanooga Chew”: Take a small sip and “chew” the whiskey for 3 or 4 seconds. Swallow, feel the heat, and experience the strong spice kick!
- Next, add two drops (yes, drops) of water. Water is the most important ingredient. As the alcohol and water combine, the water causes an exothermic reaction. The liquid temperature initially increases by about 2°C/3.5°F causing the liquid to “open up” and release more of the volatile aromas. This also creates a cooling effect on the tongue and makes the palate more receptive to salty and fruity tastes, rather than sweet and spicy. If you swirl it again, you will see an oily sheen on the top.
This video covers different types of whiskey in depth.
The History Of Whiskey
Whiskey is Ancient!
Whiskey is the product of the distillation of fermented grain. The first records of the process were found in the archeological digs of millennia BC Babylon and Mesopotamia. Initially used for the creation of perfumes and aromas, distillation 2nd slowly spread across the ancient civilizations where it received numerous adaptations and improvements, finally finding its home behind the walls of the European Christian monasteries.
Which Came First, the Scottish or Irish?
Well, history tells us that they both had firsts that contributed to the rise of whiskey drinking.
- The first written recording of whiskey in Europe was in 1494. Scotland’s Exchequer granted malt to Friar John Cor to make 1500 bottles.
- In 1608 Ireland’s Old Bushmills Distillery became the first licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
Whiskey On to North American Soil
1775 saw whiskey used as a form of currency in America.
During the Old West days, the saying here (in Colorado) was “whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.”
Then Prohibition (1920 – 1933) came and decimated the industry in the US. It forced the making underground into the arms of organized crime. It reduced the expansion and technological advancement of the industry. Even with the end of prohibition in 1933, it took until the ’70s for the industry to regroup and move forward. It also helped to raise the profile of the Canadian rye variety.
Check out this excellent site www.whiskeyfacts.com for more information.