In Partnership with Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel
Some call it the wine of wall street, others call it Whiskey. Regardless of how you refer to it, a little education on the rich history and a few facts behind the drink will go a long way. Impress business partners and dinner party guests alike with this brief 101 on America’s favorite brown spirit that will have you entertaining with fun facts like a true whiskey master.
What exactly is Whiskey?
Distilled throughout the world, this brown spirit is made from a variety of grains, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat. Whisky is most popularly distilled in Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Canada, and Japan.
Various styles of whiskey use slightly different distilling techniques, but almost all whiskey is barrel-aged for a minimum of a few years bestowing their oak and wood flavors, darkening the liquor, and settling out the harsh alcohol. Typically, whiskey is bottled at 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 80 proof) or slightly higher however some undiluted barrel-strength whiskeys may reach 140 proof.
How did whiskey come to be?
The distilling techniques we know today were brought over by traveling monks between 1100 and 1300 from mainland Europe into Ireland and Scotland. At the time, whiskey, a Gaelic word meaning “water of life” was utilized for medicinal purposes; as an internal anesthetic and external antibiotic.
What is so special about Tennessee whiskey?
Aside from a starring role in many Country music songs, Tennessee whiskey has its own special process and unique history. Tennessee whiskey is defined as 51% corn, matured in new charred American oak barrels, distilled at 80% and cannot be put in the barrel above 62.5% ABV and cannot be bottled below 40% ABV.
However, before Tennessee whiskey is barrel-aged, it must undergo a filtration process called the Lincoln County Process. The most famous of the Tennessee whiskeys is from pioneer brand Jack Daniel’s who spearheaded this process and is based in historic Lynchburg, TN. Read their compelling story here.
What is the best way to enjoy whiskey?
There is no right or wrong way to drink whiskey. Premium whiskeys are often enjoyed straight, or neat. On the rocks or with a splash of water are also popular ways to drink whiskey as it opens up the notes and flavors, especially in high-proof styles. Whiskey is also a main ingredient in many cocktail recipes, from mixing with soft drinks to more sophisticated classics, to sours, creamy or fruity drinks, and is favorite for hot drinks. Here are some of this season’s top recipes [LINK TO JDSB article on Craft Cocktails to Make @Home].
How long can you keep your special bottle?
Well, theoretically if a bottle is stored in the right conditions, whiskey can last for quite some time. UV light is the catalyst for the breakdown of the organic compounds inside the whiskey. Therefore, if kept in a cool dark place, the drink can be an heirloom for centuries to come, like Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Personal Collection program, which allows you to hand pick and personalize a batch made for you.
The Beauty of Brown
Generally speaking, brown spirits get their beautiful brown color from wooden containers. As alcohol is a solvent, it extracts flavor and pigment compounds from the wood it matures in. Whiskey’s au naturel color comes from new charred oak barrels, added sherry or possibly other additives depending on the origin. And the longer a whiskey spends in a barrel, the darker its color.
And now with a back-pocket full of information, make your way to the bar (within Covid compliance guidelines of course), order with ease, raise your glass and toast like a true whiskey connoisseur.
Celebrate winter responsibly; written in partnership with your friends at Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel.