Whisky or whiskey is seen by many people as the only evidence available on earth that there might actually be a god (or many gods which share a knack for distillation). Invented by drunks exclusively for drunks, whisky serves as the sole inspiration of many Americans to get out of bed in the morning.
Whisky is created using distillation, a centuries-old process in which a bunch of crap (mostly organic) is put into a pot and turned into booze. This process was
ruined perfected by rednecks in the 19th and 20th centuries, and their refinements to the art of distillation are the only positive contribution that rednecks have made to society.
Whisky comes in many different varieties:
Either single malt or blended, the single malt being the only variety worth drinking and blended being what makes up crap like Dewars. Who drinks Dewars? Seriously? Cutty Sark? What the hell is wrong with you people. Single malt scotch is actually worth drinking so long as it's old and expensive. Young single malt is kinda like drinking sand mixed with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) and it tastes like the smell of squashed ants (formic acid). Expensive scotch comes in four varieties, "speyside", "islay", "highland" and "lowland"; while it sounds great that you can buy scotch made in the real-deal Scottish Highlands, in fact the stuff is all produced in the lowlands. The difference is only one of latitude: someone drew an imaginary line across Scotland; anything made north of it is classified as "highland". Islay scotch comes from the islands off the southwestern coast of Scotland and tastes like used gym socks. Speyside scotch comes from the northeast, and includes the typical bar stock of Glenlivet and, if you're at a bar worth going to, Glenfiddich. True highland scotch is lighter and less "dead animal matter" than most other scotches, and includes brands like Glenmorangie.
Irish Whiskey is a cheap way to get really drunk, really fast. God pretty much only invented Jameson to get cheap people and alcoholics drunk quickly with little investment. As a basic rule, cheap Irish is better than cheap Scotch but expensive Irish is only mildly better than cheap Irish while expensive Scotch is like manna from heaven.
Made from a process originating in Kentucky using corn mash and charred oak casks, bourbon is mellower than Scotch or Irish but god crap is it delicious (so long as it's mixed with water). It's also generally much cheaper than Scotch (in the USA) when comparing products of a similar quality level. There exists a myth that bourbon can only be made in Kentucky, but that's only halfway true. A bourbon can be made anywhere in the USA, but if you're going to call your product a "Kentucky Bourbon" or a "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey" (as Mr. Beam and others have been known to do) then it needs to be made in Kentucky. There's also rules about how many years it needs to be aged before you can call it a "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey" but we seriously don't have time to talk about bourbon all day.
Similar to bourbon and made from rye grains rather than corn mash. The result is whiskey that is far more bitter than most types of bourbon. Like bourbon, it's generally cheaper for the same relative quality level. The notable exception is Whistle Pig, which charges an extra $20/bottle for the fact that it used to be on a popular TV show.
More descriptively known as "woosie bourbon", it just doesn't have the punch of bourbon but can do in a pinch. One famous brand is Crown Royal, a Canadian blended whiskey whose purple bag makes a nice carrying case for your iPod or Harmon mute, but otherwise is nothing to write home about. Tabletop gamers have sometimes said that Crown Royal makes a great dice bag that comes with a free bottle of whiskey.
A lot of whiskey falls into easy to define categories, but there are others that simply do not. Jack Daniels, for instance: it's a Tennessee whiskey which almost resembles bourbon except for the fact that it is made using a different process and doesn't taste like bourbon (even though it and any other "Tennessee whiskey" could legally be called bourbon). Then there are bourbon-like concoctions such as Early Times which don't meet the qualifications to be sold as "bourbon" within the United States. These whiskeys are pretty much just a pain in the ass and should be avoided.
There are several companies producing whisky in Japan. Perhaps the two most well known are Suntory and Nikka. Both of these produce blended as well as single malt whiskies. Outside of Japan, Japanese whisky is usually not worth its price. There were reports in the early 80s that a Japanese company, Sato, known for its soy sauce and dried products, was producing a powdered whisky, to which you just added water, but nothing seems to have come of it.
The "whisky" made in India is actually mostly rum: neutral spirits made from sugar cane to which small amounts of Scotch whisky have been added in an attempt to make it taste like whisky. Prohibitive import tariffs make this an unfortunate necessity. The notable exception to this is Amrut Whisky.
How to drink Whisky
Get a rocks glass (or a tumbler if you've had a long day) and decide what kind of whisky you're going to drink. If you're drinking cheap whisky, put ice in the glass. If you're drinking expensive whisky, don't you dare fucking put ice in that glass. If you feel tempted to put ice into an expensive glass of whisky, give the bottle to somebody that isn't a whiny vagina and go get yourself a case of wine coolers. If you mix expensive whisky with cola
it's okay though heaven will open up and smite you. A little (fresh) water is okay though, as this "opens up" the flavours of the whisky and lets it breathe, or something. We're not chemists here. (Well, most of us, anyway.)
Once you have mixed this cocktail up (called a "whisky on the rocks" if you added ice and "whisky, neat" if you didn't add anything), drink it. When you're done pour another. If you have to drive home, just remember that doing cocaine in the bathroom of the bar will not actually make you sober enough to drive. Just call a cab.
- That's why they call it spirits.
- Two of them make a serviceable bra, certainly dressy enough for your local dive bar.
- "Japanese Ready Powdered Booze", 12 March 1981