Stonehenge NYC Whiskey Guide
November 14th, 2018
It’s getting cold outside and one great way to fight the frost is with a glass of something warm. For some of us it’s coffee, tea and hot chocolate, but for others it’s a nice glass of whiskey. The popularity of whiskey is growing, and a responsible nip of the good stuff can really hit the spot. New to the whiskey game? Not sure where to start? Separating the good whiskey from the bad, and knowing the difference between them is key to finding a whiskey you’ll like. Stonehenge NYC is here to explain everything you ever wanted to know about whiskey, and we’ll even recommend the best cocktails you can make with them too! Malt VS Grain: You’ve probably heard the words malt and grain thrown around by whiskey lovers. These terms simply refer to what is fermented to create whiskey. A malt whiskey is made from a mash of barley. Grain whiskey is made from a much more diverse selection of ingredients including corn, wheat and even rye. Bourbon: Bourbon is one of the most popular whiskey types around. True bourbon is made in America, usually in the south. It’s made from corn and aged in charred oak containers which give it its distinctive taste. It can easily be enjoyed neat (on its own), on the rocks (with ice), or mixed into a cocktail. If you want to try some bourbon, we recommend you stick with a classic like Maker’s Mark. It’s one of the most popular and solid examples of a true American bourbon. Which Cocktail Should I Make? Bourbon is the ingredient of choice in a Manhattan, which is, for obvious reasons, one of the most perfectly named cocktails. Simply combine two ounces of bourbon, one ounce of sweet vermouth and a few dashes of angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir until chilled and then strain into a coup glass with a garnish of a cherry or an orange twist. Rye Whiskey: Rye whiskey is a close cousin of bourbon. It’s typically made in the United States or in Canada. Rather than being made from corn, rye is--as the name suggests--made with rye. Like bourbon it is aged in charred oak barrels, but you can expect the taste to spicier and fruitier. Where bourbon is sweet, rye is spicy. Old Overholt is a classic (and surprisingly affordable) example of a good rye whiskey. Which Cocktail Should I Make? Rye is perfect when making an Old Fashioned. There are many variations on the Old Fashioned but here’s our favorite: Dissolve a sugar cube with several dashes of angostura bitters. Muddle with a slice of orange and then add two ounces of rye whiskey. Add some ice. Stir until cold and enjoy. It’s that simple. Scotch: Scotch, as the name would suggest, comes from the great country of Scotland. Scotch has long been associated with the upper caste of society. Due to its lengthy and refined production process, Scotch generally has a higher price point. If you want to feel like a multi-millionaire, you drink scotch. Scotch is usually made from malted barley and is barrel aged for at minimum three years. It often has a peaty or smoky flavor. We don’t recommend you start with cheap scotch because bad scotch might scare you away from this excellent drink entirely. Instead, go to a whisky bar and try something like Lagavulin or Macallan. Scotch should be enjoyed neat. Once you find one that you like, invest in a bottle. Which Cocktail Should I Make? Scotch is expensive, which means you really shouldn’t mess up its flavor by using it to make cocktails. However, you can water it down into a refreshing Scotch and Soda, which is just 1 part scotch and two parts carbonated water, usually served over ice with a garnish of a lime wheel. Irish Whiskey: Irish whiskey obviously comes from Ireland. In fact, the word ‘whiskey” has its roots in the Gaelic words meaning ‘water of life’. Irish Whiskey is made from yeast-fermented grain mash or a mash of malted cereals and aged 3 years minimum. Although similar to Scotch in many ways, Irish Whiskey has a much smoother finish. Jameson is a staple brand of Irish Whiskey and is also one of the most popular whiskies in the world. It can be found in almost any liquor store. Which Cocktail Should I Make? When it comes to Irish Whiskey it’s best to keep your cocktails simple we recommend the ever-popular Whiskey Ginger. This cocktail is comprised of 1 and ½ ounces of Irish whiskey and about 5 ounces of ginger ale. Garnish with lime a lime and stir over ice for a refreshing Irish treat. Japanese Whiskey: Japanese Whiskey has been in the game since the 1870’s but it’s popularity in the West only now starting to really grow. It’s original producers took inspiration from Scotch, so you’ll find that most Japanese Whiskeys are single or blended malt whiskies. Scotch drinkers once turned their noses up at the prospect of a Japanese whiskey but in recent times have realized the exacting nature and attention to detail of Japanese producers has created an arguably superior product. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, start by trying bottle of Yamazaki whiskey. This is one of the most popular brands of Japanese whiskey and is well worth it’s higher price point. Which Cocktail Should I Make? Like Scotch, Japanese whiskey is best enjoyed neat. Still, a Japanese Whiskey and Soda would probably be pretty darned good.