'whisky' on Serious Eats

Behind the Scenes at The Glenlivet Distillery in Scotland

Welcome to Speyside, a beautiful region of Scottish countryside surrounding the River Spey, where the sheep and the shortbread outnumber the people. Beside those notable draws, what really attracts visitors is the high concentration of single malt whisky distilleries, such as The Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Aberlour, The Macallan, and Balvenie. It's a good place for Scotch lovers. During the recent Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, I had the chance to see a few different distilleries in action. First up for whisky cross-examination: The Glenlivet. More

The Serious Eats Guide to Blended Scotch Whisky

Until the 1800s, there was very little Scotch available for sale in cities such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, let alone London or New York. Scotch, at the time, was considered the equivalent of moonshine—a drink enjoyed by unrefined highlanders, aged in sheep bladders and filtered through tartan. No one of refinement drank the stuff; instead, urban elites enjoyed the finest European wines, along with sherry, port, and cognac. A number of factors converged in the latter half of the 19th century to change everything. More

What Is the Difference Between Single Malt and Blended Whisky?

Next week in this space, I'll be looking in some depth at the world of Scotch whisky, but first, I want to clarify a point of some confusion: the distinction between single malt and blended whisky. Consumers and even some bartenders have a misconception that single-malt scotch is not a blended whisky, but this is a myth. Single-malt Scotch is a blend, but it's a very specific type of blend. More

That's the Spirit: Johnnie Walker Double Black

Instantly recognizable from Kathmandu to Khartoum, the walking man on a bottle of whisky is seen as an international symbol of taste and quality. And for good reason—Johnnie Walker is the world's best selling blended Scotch whisky. Not content to rest on their laurels at the top of the booze chain, the folks at Johnnie Walker have been testing the market for what they describe as a pumped-up Black Label. More

That's the Spirit: Compass Box Great King Street Artist's Blend

While single malt scotches and single barrel bourbons dominate the dreams of most high-end whiskey drinkers, the vast majority of sales in the wide world of whiskey (and whisky) are of the humble blend. Taking its name from its ingredients—usually high quality straight or single malt whiskeys cut with grain alcohol—blends are typically less complex and therefore less 'interesting' than their big league brethren. You're probably familiar with some of the more popular suspects, such as Johnny Walker, Jameson, or the Famous Grouse. Blends vary widely in quality, but are typically held in somewhat low regard by the liquor cognoscenti. However, Compass Box Whisky aims to change all that. More

Coming to Terms with Scotch Whisky-Based Cocktails

My attitude toward cocktails based on scotch whisky can be neatly summarized: I like scotch whisky, and I like cocktails, but I (almost) never like scotch whisky-cocktails. But I'm noticing a few new drinks based on scotch whisky on bar menus around the country, and some of them are worth trying. Have you come across a scotch based cocktail that you'd add to the "keeper" list? More

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Clan MacGregor Scotch Whisky

It seems like I never shut up about Old Crow and Eagle Rare, which is why it was disconcerting to discover that I like Scotch a lot more than I'd ever admitted to myself. It will take months of rigorous research in other people's liquor cabinets to know for sure, but if the $12.99 liter of Clan MacGregor I picked up last week is any indication, the Scots might win this war. More

Two New Whiskies Rev Up Bourbon and Rye

For devotees of American whiskey, these are exciting times. Bourbon has brushed off its once tarnished reputation and has reinvented itself as a sippable, collectable spirit. And rye whiskey, only a decade ago mostly written off as an archaic relic, has seen its popularity surge and is now considered a staple ingredient in most craft bars. In the last couple of weeks, the selection of American whiskies has become a little more interesting with the debut of two new spirits from a couple of familiar names. More

A First Look at the 2010 Crop of American Whiskies

There's been a lot going on in the whisk(e)y world these past few years, with distilleries releasing cask-finished bottlings, new expressions and out-and-out experiments to a thirsty market. While much of the excitement has taken place in the realm of scotch whisky, American whiskey makers have been showing a little more creativity recently. Here are seven interesting American whiskies to look out for. More

More Posts