Few topics have flared tempers in pubs more than the question: Who invented whiskey? Was it the Irish, the Scots, or someone you'd least expect, like the Chinese or Arabs? Whisk(e)y is sunshine in a glass. Uisge baugh, or water of life in Scots Gaelic, and uisge beatha, water of life in Irish Gaelic. It's the cure for what ails you, and the Celt's gift to the world. It's now distilled and bottled on nearly every continent, with a variety of regional grains.Interested in attending a Whiskey Tasting? The origins of distillation are pretty murky. Some say it first started with ancient Babylonians, or possibly ancient Greeks, or maybe it was the Chinese... at this point in my research, I'm willing to say it was anyone but aliens... The origins of whisk(e)y are just as obscure. The Irish claim that they have been making whiskey for anywhere between 1000 and 1600 years, depending on who you ask, and frankly, who are we to argue? Excuse me, sir, can you tell me if the Vikings invented whisk(e)y? One story tells of Irish monks bringing the secrets of distillation back to Ireland from the Middle East. Another story claims that the Vikings had learned to distil while raiding in Greece or Syria, or possibly Turkey and brought the technique to Scotland when they built villages on the West Coast of Scotland. I could go on because there are many more stories of the origin of whisk(e)y. So many more stories... So, we're left to draw our own conclusions, dear reader, at least until someone smarter than I, with access to some arcane tome that definitively sorts this matter once and for all. I, for one, conclude that just as the Irish and Scottish histories, people and culture are intertwined, so are the origins of whisk(e)y. Maybe we should just be content not to know and just enjoy the magic that is whisk(e)y. Slainte! Check out The Whiskey Cowgirl's videos here.
Whiskey neat is perfect. Warm, liquid sunshine with no frills, no distractions, no garnish, but sometimes, when the weather is steamy or when you're feeling fancy or maybe you're looking to impress someone, it's nice to have a cold Manhattan or an Old Fashioned, and show the world that you are a civilized, distinguished, adult connoisseur of whiskey. So I thought that I'd give you some suggestions for Whiskey Cocktails that will rock your world and give your life more meaning. ...ok, maybe that was a bit too far, but nevertheless, you should probably learn to make some grownup drinks. I encourage you to mix it up and try any of these with your favorite whiskeys. Why not try a Manhattan with Irish whiskey? It's called an Emerald and it's delicious!
A Manhattan -This whiskey cocktail combines sweet vermouth and bitters to bring out the character of your whiskey. If made with Scotch, it's called a Rob Roy. With Irish Whiskey, it's called an Emerald. In a shaker or large glass, combine:
- Ice cubes
- 2 ounces quality whiskey of your choice
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
Whiskey Sour (From Thrillist.com) -Sours have nothing to do with "sour mix," the neon liquid you get in cocktails at karaoke bars, (which are special in ways other than their ingredients). Sours are a category of drink that hit all the right flavors: boozy, sweet, and tart. They follow a 2:1:1 ratio of two parts spirit, one part sour, one part sweet. Any whiskey will do for this simple shaken classic. A mellow, not-too-smoky blended Scotch does the trick nicely, too.
- 2 ounces whiskey
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup (or honey, or agave)
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from about two limes
- Ginger beer, chilled
- Garnish: lime twist
- Ice Cubes
- 1 ounce Irish whiskey
- 1 ounce Chartreuse
- 1 ounce Italian Vermouth
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce whiskey
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
What is a Whisky Ambassador? According to insidejobs.com "A Whiskey Ambassador is a smooth talker who specializes in promoting hard-hitting liquor. The job of a Whiskey Ambassador is to serve as the public face of a whiskey brand." However, with the ever-increasing popularity of whisky and whiskey around the globe, Whisky Ambassadors are in high demand, and whether they are simply hobbyists with a passion for liquid sunshine or travelling spokespeople for a brand, Whisky Ambassadors need to be trained and certified in their field. That's where the Whisky Ambassador programme comes in. The Whisky Ambassador programme is the only accredited training course direct from the UK about all things whisky. It is a fun and interactive one-day training programme covering history, distillation, distillery locations and areas of Scotland, nosing and tasting, mixers and cocktails, other world whiskies with a practical and written exam. The Celtic Ranch is an official training facility. All exams are sent to Scotland for grading and successful applicants will get their whisky ambassador license from Scotland. A great day of learning about one of America’s new favorite pastimes! So, if you have a passion for whisky and would like to impress your friends or maybe pursue a new career path, we're your only local, accredited training location. If you are interested in this one-day training and testing event, we'd love for you to join us. We have two dates open at the moment, July 23rd, 2016 and October 15th, 2016. 7/23 Whisky Ambassador 10/15/16 Whisky Ambassador
Whiskey...the magical elixir that is sunshine in a glass. Is it any wonder the Irish, whose island is notoriously damp and grey, created their own sunshine? They have, in fact, become one of the world leaders in whiskey production, exports of Irish whiskey have increased 220% since 2003. The Irish import to 77 countries, and 28% of beverge imports from Ireland are whiskey. Wow! The worldwide excitement over Irish whiskey has grown by such leaps and bounds that in 2014 the Irish Whiskey Association was formed to "represent the rapidly expanding Irish whiskey industry...." Their goal is to expand the market for Irish whiskey export and tourism, creating jobs and economic growth throughout the island, while maintaining the quality and integrity of this much beloved beverage. Irish Whiskey Association Recently the Irish Whiskey Association laid out their goals in their "Vision for Irish Whiskey", a 52 page document (found here) detailing how they plan to increase the number of distilleries by 26 (there are now 8 major distilleries), to ensure that the supply meets the demand; to increase whiskey tourism from the current 600,000 to 800,000 in the medium term (think 5-8 years or so); and increase global market share to 12% from the current 4%. Statistics and numbers are all well and good, but what does this mean for the consumer? Y'know...those of us who drink the stuff? It means everything. More tourism centres, in more places in Ireland mean maybe someday you'll be able to travel the entire Island sampling the finest whiskeys they have to offer. It also means that the variety will increase, with new blends and distillations to tease our palates. Best of all, we won't run short. Yes, with all this growth we can be sure of an adequate supply (is there such a thing as an adequate supply of whiskey?) to the U.S. and other countries, insuring the legacy of the Irish lives on. Irishtimes.com "Distillers second golden age of whiskey"[/caption]
Is it whiskey or whisky? Two different spellings? What gives? Whiskey is a spirit distilled from a mash of fermented grains. So whiskey/whisky is part of a major food group (grains are on the food pyramid, so clearly whiskey/whisky is good for you ). But I digress...the different spellings depend on what variety you are drinking. Fortunately for us there are many ways to include whiskey/whisky in your diet (nutrition!). Irish whiskey (e): Distilled in Ireland, typically a mix of grains, although there are single malt whiskies available. Tends to be lighter and smoother than a Scotch whisky, although there are some fantastic peated whiskies that are reminiscent of the peatiness of a Scotch. Use the "E" or the fairies will get ye! American whiskey (e): The distillation process bears more of a resemblance to the Irish distillation process, and is typically a blend of grains. America had different grains than Ireland, so modern versions of American whiskey bear little resemblance to their Irish heritage, but nonetheless are a fine tribute to their forefathers. (I'm talking to you, bourbon) Scotch whisky (no e): Made typically from barley, which has been dried with peat rather than wood. The flavor profile depends on the type of peat used, as well as the drying time. DO NOT PUT AN E IN THIS. You don't want to annoy a Scot. Offending a large man in a kilt who can toss (hurl) a caber is unwise at best. Lagavulin Scotch Whisky[ Canadian whisky (no e): Bears more of a similarity in design to Scotch whisky, use the "e" or the Canadians will send a mountie to correct your spelling. Politely. Japanese whisky (no e): Again, more of a Scotch design, distilled typically from barley. Again, the lack of "e" is important. I'm not sure what happens if you include the "e" in the spelling, but it probably isn't good. For more information on the Japanese whiskys go read this nifty article on the whisky exchange website. Other references include: Master of Malt, The Kitchn, and Whisky For Everyone (a concept we can get behind). Regardless of its spelling, the derivation of both words is Gaelic, and means "water of life". Grains are an important part of our diet, and I can't think of a better way to get them.