How Whiskey is Made
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Whether it’s enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in a mixed cocktail, whiskey is a classic liquor preferred by many. And at Long Wongs AZ Famous Wings (a sports bar in West Phoenix) we not only pride ourselves on our pizza and wings, but also on the creative and classic cocktails we mix—including those made with whiskey, which is our subject at hand in this blog post. Describing how whiskey is made isn’t as easy as it may seem. That’s because whiskey is a broad category of liquor that comes in many shades of color and subtle flavors. Let us explain.
Whiskey in Its Many Variations
There’s some confusion surrounding whiskey, and rightly so. Depending on who you talk to, you may hear the words whiskey, scotch, or bourbon used when describing your beverage: and you thought your order was straightforward! Most easily explained, whiskey is an umbrella term under which scotch and bourbon fall. A key difference between scotch and bourbon is one of geography: scotch is whisky (spelled without the “e”) made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the U.S.A. and traditionally, in Kentucky.
But this attempt to generalize breaks down at some point, because there’s also Tennessee whiskey such as Jack Daniels, Irish whiskey such as Jameson, Canadian whiskey such as Crown Royal, and the list goes on. There’s also rye whiskey that may or may not even contain rye, depending on the variant. And there are single malt scotches and double malt scotches! Let’s just say, whiskey is a term that is intricate and versatile. For that reason, in this post, we’ll cover the basic differences between bourbon and scotch.
Bourbon whiskey gets its name from an area in Kentucky. It is distinct from scotch, in that it’s made primarily from corn. Bourbon must be aged in charred oak barrels and cannot contain any additives. While seasoned whiskey drinkers can tell the difference between scotch and bourbon, to the untrained palate the two are quite similar in flavor profile. The quintessential bourbon cocktail is, of course, the Old Fashioned.
Scotch, on the other hand, is made from mostly malted barley and should be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years. (The number following the name of a bottle of scotch whisky tells you the length of time it was aged.) Traditionally, scotch is consumed neat or on the rocks and can be enjoyed with a few drops of water, which will help enhance the body of flavor. Scotch has a unique smokeyness that lingers at the tail end of a sip and distinguishes it from bourbon.
There you have it, a basic introduction to how whiskey is made. If you are new to whiskey drinking, our bartenders at Long Wongs AZ Famous Wings would love to offer more insight and would be happy to help you discover which variation of whiskey you might prefer most. Come and grab a drink at our full bar, and watch the game while you’re here!
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