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Whiskey: The American Guide

Updated on January 31, 2013
Whiskey sour is a popular cocktail.
Whiskey sour is a popular cocktail.

The Quick Whiskey Guide

Planning to socialize or entertain but not sure of your bourbon or rye? Should you have it with a splash of water or on the rocks? What is a whiskey sour? (see photo). And if you are wondering just how much corn is used in these whiskeys, below is a quick guide to American whiskeys and how to enjoy them.

The Q and A list of American Whiskeys:

Where are these whiskeys made in the US?

Most are made in Kentucky and Tennessee. Kentucky is the home of Jim Beam whiskey and Tennessee is the home of Jack Daniel's. These two states are home to seven companies but newer companies are popping up in such places like Stranahan's in Colorado.

What are the government standards for these whiskeys?

- they must be at least 80 proof when they are bottled

- they must be made from grain mash

- they must be aged in oak barrels, unless it is corn whiskey

What are the 4 popular types of whiskey?

- Tennessee whiskey - made in the state from a minimum of 51% corn, then filtered through sugar-maple charcoal

- Bourbon - made from at least 51% corn

- Rye - rye whiskey is made from at least 51% rye grain

- Blended - has only 20% straight whiskey

What is single malt whiskey?

Single malt whiskey is made from 100% malted barley

How is bourbon aged?

Bourbon is aged in newly charred American oak barrels - usually for a minimum of 2 years. .

Note: Bourbon is uniquely recognized as "America's native spirit" by a 1964 act of Congress. It was first created in Kentucky where more than 95% of the world's bourbon is still produced.

What are the 3 ways to enjoy whiskey?

- With a splash of water - to open up the flavors of this high alcohol drink

- On the rocks - means to add ice cubes

- In a cocktail - A whiskey sour is a popular cocktail. Made with bourbon - it also contains orange juice. lemon juice, sugar, ice cubes - shaken vigorously, and garnished with orange slices and a cherry.

For more information about other beverages, see links below:


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    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 4 years ago from New York City

      Thank you khmazz - and I just came across an article about whiskey having one amazing health ingredients. Whaaa?...Now I can't find the article but I will keep looking so I can research the ingredient and write about it.

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 4 years ago from South Florida

      I have a soft spot for whiskey in my heart! I loved this hub!

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 7 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      You know,it's amazing how much we consume that comes under a general heading but is so very different, like whiskey and wine and bread and so on. Like now I don't ever want a whiskey made with corn so I am going to look for a single malt and probably not even a US label. To know that whiskey is filled with GM corn - Ewww!

    • GreenThumbLady profile image

      GreenThumbLady 7 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

      Wow..I was a whiskey gal for a few years...I went through a long phase. lol Kind of sounds good now after reading this!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      The idea of all that corn in American whiskey sickens me. Overwhelmingly USA corn is genetically modified. Ugh. Your list is very helpful because now I will go with a single malt, and never a blended. Those whiskey sours are pretty great.

      Thanks for the guide. Rated up!