Up your whiskey game with this spirited primer on the booze that has St. Louis talking.
Whiskey is at once simple and complex: It’s essentially grain, water, yeast and some time spent hanging out in a barrel, but this trending spirit encompasses a wide variety of styles and expressions. Whether your tastes tend toward bourbon, scotch, rye or Irish, every good whiskey drinker should be in the know about what they’re drinking and what it is that draws them to the style. To help out, here’s a guide to the five most popular types.
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH Single malts have lots of high-class cache, but sometimes their innate peatiness keeps would-be imbibers at bay. Lismore is a Speyside single malt that’s not only ridiculously affordable but also has plenty of heather and honey to mitigate the peat. It makes for a tasty wee dram in its own right and mixes well to boot. Blood & Sand Downtown uses it to fine effect in its eponymous cocktail.
RYE WHISKEY Often confused with bourbon, ryes must be distilled from 51 percent or more of their namesake grain. As a result, ryes generally tend to be spicier and a bit drier than their corn-based cousins. A primo version to keep handy is Rittenhouse Rye. At 100 proof, it’s a bit boozier and stands up well in cocktails. Gamlin Whiskey House in the Central West End incorporates it in The Knot, along with grapefruit, sage and honey.