Spirits Guide

Bourbon

Bourbon_FinalBourbon is a sour-mash whiskey that is aged in charred-oak barrels and has been produced since the 18th century. To be considered Bourbon, it must be made from at least 51% corn plus malt and rye. While it is made in other parts of the country, it is estimated that 95% of Bourbon is made in Kentucky. This is primarily due to the whiskey’s origins as well as the high concentration of limestone in the region.

Bourbon is often sipped “neat” or “straight up”– mixed with nothing at all and with no ice. Others consume it on the rocks or with water. Less experienced Bourbon drinkers are known to mix it with (Diet) Coke or 7-Up.

Bourbon is also used in a variety of cocktails, the most popular of which is the Mint Julep, known as the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Bourbon can also be found in Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and Whiskey Sours.

Scotch

Scotch is a malt whisky (whiskey is spelled without an “e” in Scotland) distilled from malted barley, wheat and rye. As the name suggests, all Scotch is produced in Scotland and its first known production dates back to the late 1400s. In order to deemed Scotch, it must have been aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels.

Barrel_FinalScotch comes in both single-malt and blended form. A single-malt Scotch comes from a single distiller while blended Scotch can be a blend of as many as 50 whiskies from more than one distiller. Blended

Scotch makes up 90% of the Scotch whiskies worldwide.

Scotch is a big drink and is not intended for the timid drinker. It is typically consumed “neat” with a few drops of water or one large ball of ice to properly bring out the flavor. Although, some Scotch connoisseurs believe that adding ice actually freezes the flavor.

There are more than 2,500 brands of Scotch sold worldwide. 

 

  

 

Standard Vodka

Vodka is a high proof alcoholic beverage made from the distillation of fermented substances including potatoes, corn, wheat or rye. Vodka stems from the Northern, Central and Eastern European region known as the “Vodka Belt” but is most often associated with Russia.

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In the US, it is most commonly consumed in cocktails such as Screwdrivers, Greyhounds, Martinis and Bloody Maries or simply mixed with tonic, soda or Sprite and garnished with a lime.

In the last decade, flavor infused vodkas have made their mark including anything from bacon and iced tea to cucumber and raspberry. Whatever your flavor of choice, there’s a vodka for you.

 

 

 

Speciality Vodka

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 A premium line of vodkas has also surfaced in recent years. While less expensive, standard vodkas are typically mixed in cocktails, specialty vodkas are often served straight or with little water, chilled and sipped. Specialty vodka is also used in simple drinks, such as martinis, where the flavor is paramount.

 

 

Gin

Martini_FinalGin is a dry alcoholic beverage distilled with malted barley, rye or maize and flavored with juniper berries. Its origins are most notably tied to the Dutch and then later became extremely popular in England. The name Gin is a derivative of Geneva, a Dutch-Gin that is still a popular high-concentration alcoholic beverage in Holland.

Gin is typically consumed in mixed drinks such as Gin and Tonics, Slow Gin Fizz, Gimlet and Tom Collins. Probably the most popular way to drink a Gin is in a Martini. The Martini includes such variations as Straight Up, Dirty, Dry, Perfect, or in the forms of a Manhattan or Cosmopolitan.

 

 

 

Tequila

Tequila is a Mexican liquor made from the fermentation of the Agave plant and is typically unaged. It is primarily made in the area surrounding Tequila, Jalisco in Mexico due to the high concentration of red volcanic soil that is optimal for Agave plant growth.

Margarita_FinalTequila comes in a variety of types including, Tequila Blanco, Joven, Reposada, Mixto Gold, Anejo and Extra Anejo. Higher quality Tequilas are often consumed neat in a tall, slim shot glass or snifter. Probably the most popular way to drink Tequila is in a Margarita. Other well-known drinks are the Tequila Sunrise and the Tequila Slammer as well as the Tequila Shot that is rimmed in salt and chased with a lime.

 

 

 

Brandy

Brandy is made from the distillation of wine or fermented fruit juices and first appeared in the 12th century. The name Brandy stems from the Dutch word brandewijn or, in English, “burnt wine”.

Brandy is primarily consumed as an after dinner drink served neat in a snifter at room temperature or on the rocks. Brandy is also a popular food flavoring often added to desserts, sauces, deglazes and soups.

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While Brandy is made around the world, two of the most popular Brandies are Cognac and Sherry. Cognac is made in several regions of France and is the most well known type of Brandy. Sherry is a Spanish Brandy that is made in bodegas located in and around the area of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

 

 

 

Cordials and Liqueurs

Cordials, also known as liqueurs, are base liquors, such as brandy or whiskey, with the addition of sugar, spices, nuts, herbs, fruits or cream. Since most are sweet liqueurs, Cordials are typically consumed after dinner and often in place of dessert. Many people feel that these “after dinner drinks” serve to tie together flavors from the entire meal. Liqueurs can also be used as flavoring agents for mixed drinks and coffee.

The following table represents some of the most popular cordials and their associated flavors:

Spirits Table