For National Whiskey Day, we’re here to provide you with some background, tasting tips and a couple cocktail suggestions to enjoy your favorite or an undiscovered whiskey. I’ll start with the difference between Rye Whiskey and Bourbon with the main difference being the mash bill of grains used. To be a bourbon, the grain bill must be 51% or more corn that contributes sweet tasting notes like honey and vanilla. A Rye Whiskey is 51% or more rye grain that provides spice similar to cinnamon and pepper.
When tasting whiskey, we recommend taking the first sip to acclimate your palate to alcohol, wait 30 seconds and then nose the whiskey with your mouth slightly open. This allows you to pick up tasting notes without having the alcohol burn your senses. Drink the whiskey, let it sit in your mouth for a couple seconds before drinking. Using a whiskey tasting wheel (available to view online) will help identify different nose, palate and finish tasting notes like specific fruit, wood, grain and sweet notes. Enjoy whiskey neat (no ice), on a large ice cube or with multiple cubes. Ice will dilute the whiskey and reduce the proof to open up new tasting notes.
Because its National Whiskey Day, an Old-Fashioned cocktail feels like the most appropriate cocktail to enjoy. You’ll need a mixing glass and bar spoon or a pint glass and regular spoon will work. To start fill the glass with two ounces of whiskey – we recommend a Rye Whiskey because the spice will compliment the sugar in the cocktail, but this cocktail has historically been made with bourbon. Add 1/4oz of simple syrup and two dashes of bitters. Angostura bitters are traditional but you can also be creative with orange, chocolate, walnut or other bitters. Add ice and stir until the outside of the glass is chilled. Strain on top of a large ice cube in a rocks glass and enjoy!
Scott Yeates is the Founder and President of Mythology Distillery located in North Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. Mythology has been named Colorado’s top distillery consequentially and their whiskey and gin have won more than 50 domestic and international awards. Their whiskey and gin is available at most Colorado liquor stores and their tasting room is open daily for tours, cocktails and food.