Know Your Drink: The 6 Types of Whiskey

To understand the different types of whiskey, you have to first understand what distinguishes one type from another. The main differences are the method used in distillation, the ingredients, and the country or region of origin. The preparation period is another major distinction which can affect the grading and the taste of the end product.

  1. Bourbon Whiskey. The United States is the major producer of this spirit. The production of this drink uses the sour mash process and contains more than 51% corn. To be considered straight bourbon, the drink should be aged at least two years.
  2. Tennessee Whiskey. This drink is prepared in the state of Tennessee and follows all the major steps used in the production of Bourbon. The Tennessee whiskey passes through filtered charcoal which makes it different from the other spirits produced in the United States. The most famous variety of Tennessee whiskey is Jack Daniels, which is served at virtually all of the U Street bars.
  3. Rye Whiskey. This drink originated from Canada, but it has spread to other places such as the east coast of the United States. This spirit does not have to be made purely from rye, as it can also include corn. In Canada, as long there is a proportion of rye in the final drink, then you can label the drink as rye whiskey. In the United States, however, federal law demands that the mash must contain at least 51% rye in order to be labeled as American Rye. Just like Bourbon, this drink should also be aged no less than two years to qualify as straight whiskey.
  4. Scotch Whiskey. Scotland is the major producer of this type of drink which is also known as the malt whisky. Malted barley is the primary ingredient of this drink which distills in different pot stills. It is served at Takoda and several other bars in the United States. Due to the different ingredients, it has a very distinct taste compared to the American varieties of whiskey.
  5. Corn Whiskey. For a drink to qualify as corn whiskey, 100% corn must be used in its production.
  6. Blended Whiskey. These types of spirits are produced mainly in Ireland and Scotland. A mixture of malt and grain is used in predetermined proportions to prepare this drink.

A lot of countries are now producing whiskeys that originated in other parts of the world. Even though some whiskeys have been categorized based on the country of origin, what matters most are the ingredients and the mode of production applied in the preparation of the final drink.