I have a new go to drink and its whiskey. In my 57 years, I only remember trying it once. “Oh, this drink is overrated.” was my reaction and I never tried it again. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Denver, Colorado and I went on a tasting tour.
Thanks to Rick at Centennial Specialty Tours I not only got a grip on the history of whiskey, but way more important I learned how to drink it. 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 are transformed into energy as soon as it enters the body.)
- Antioxidant (contains ellagic acid)
- Delicious taste
- A certain cache or aura of sophistication 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). Thank you to http://www.realmendrinkwhiskey.com/
There are different types of whiskeys:
- Bourbon – made in the US, 51% from corn, once distilled the spirit must be stored at no more than 125 proof, no minimum aging period but typically 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. There are no rules in place that it needs to be comprised of a minimum amount of rye mash and is produced with varying corn-rye ratios. 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 Whiskey
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. Hand crafted 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 Spirits competition.
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 called the top shelf whiskey. This 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.
Thank you Highland Park Whiskey. Not Exactly the Method I Learned But Such A Sexy Accent!
What is the History?
Whiskey is Ancient!
It is made via distillation of fermented grain and first records of that process was found in the archeological digs of millennia BC Babylon and Mesopotamia. Initially used for 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 which contributed to the rise of whiskey drinking.
- The first written recording of whisky 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 whisky 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 70’s 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.