Whiskey, the king of spirits
There are various stories about its origins, and even about its spelling in the English language. It is said that the first whiskey was made in Ireland, at the end of the 11th century. However, the first written reference to its production in Scottish records dates back to 1494. Moreover, the spelling “whisky” refers to Scottish or Canadian whiskey, whereas “whiskey” refers to Irish or American whiskey. The word, however, appears to have Celtic origins and it comes from the word uisge beatha, which means the water of life.
Nevertheless, no matter how anybody spells it (or drinks it), with or without ice, whiskey is undoubtedly the king of spirits. Even though the Irish and the Scottish are claiming the lead, it is said that both of them learned the art of distillation from the Arabs and the Chinese, around the beginning of the 6th century A.D.
As with other alcoholic beverages, there are various categories of whiskey. Whiskey is made from fermented grain mash (usually barley, corn, wheat, rye or rice). Whiskey is matured in wooden casks and divided according to type.
Malt whisky is made at a single distillery and consists of malted barley, yeast and water. When different types of grain are used, then the whiskey belongs to the grain whiskey category. The third category, blended whiskey, refers to the whiskey that results from mixing the first two types; malt and grain whisky. Single malt is made at a single distillery, distilled twice and left to mature for years in oak barrels. Blended malt or pure malt is made from malt whiskies from different distilleries. Bourbon comes from America and is made from malt of various grains, primarily corn. Cask strength is a term used to describe the best types of whiskeys, which are bottled straight from the barrel.
Scotch whisky is produced exclusively at one distillery, but contains barley as its main ingredient. Irish whiskey is considered to be milder, made in a similar way as Scotch, although it is triple-distilled. American whiskey, in contrast to Scotch, is primarily made from corn, while the Japanese follow the Scottish way of aging and distillation, mainly using barley. While talking about whiskey, many imagine pairing it with a high-quality cigar, perhaps because of American movies. However, more and more people dare to enjoy their whiskey with food. In fact, in Scotland people pair it with haggis; A Scottish national food which contains minced lamb, oatmeal, onions and plenty of pepper.