Want a good excuse to down a peg of your favourite poison in the middle of the week? Here you go - it's International Whisk(e)y Day today. Whether it's a Jack Daniel's on the rocks you favour or a large pour of Ballantine's, one thing's for sure - there's no better day to pay tribute to this fine spirit.
However, there comes a moment in every whisky lover's life, when they are advised to try the 'superior' bourbon or scotch instead. Usually, the advice comes from an elegant snob. But being the steadfast whisky loyalist that are you, you can't ignore such a suggestion either.
So what exactly is the difference between scotch, bourbon and whisky? Let's answer that and a few other questions in our very own 'Know your whisky' guide.
What is whisky?
Whisky is any spirit that has been distilled from fermented grain mash. Various kinds of grains may be used, such as wheat, rye, barley, and corn. The spirit is then allowed to rest in white oak casks for aging it.
Is bourbon whisky?
There are many specifications for a whisky to qualify as bourbon. But the main distinction is that it's made in America and from 51% corn. Bourbon has to be stored in charred-oak barrels.
Is scotch the better whisky?
Perhaps, if you like the smoky aftertaste of malted grain (originally only barley but now also rye and wheat). Scotch must be produced in Scotland and aged for at least three years in oak barrels.
Tip: Have your Scotch neat, with a few drops of water, or on the rocks to enjoy its flavour thoroughly.
What is blended whisky?
Most branded whisky is blended as every manufacturer wants a different kind of flavour. Spirits from various distilleries come together to form one blend, rather like a branded red wine that blends red wine from two or three varieties of grapes.
What's a single malt?
A single malt is a type of scotch, made from a single distillery and only with malted barley. However, some addition of caramel colouring is permitted. You can think of it as the snootiest type of scotch! India got its very own single malt with the launch of Amrut in 2004.
Other types of whisky
The variety in whisky doesn't end here. There's also whisky manufactured in Tennessee, whisky made from rye and rye malt, single cask whisky and even buckwheat whisky.
Whisky or whiskey?
Whisky is accepted worldwide but the addition of the 'e' is usually observed in the United States and Ireland. Nevertheless, neither spelling is wrong.
Ruthless Whisky Cocktail
If you're lucky enough to have a mini bar and basic cocktail making equipment at home, try this whisky cocktail by Errol right away:
To make the cocktail, simply blend 45ml whisky, cranberry juice and 60ml lychee crush. Garnish with mint and lime and voila - a bartender is born!