Whisky vs Whiskey

Is ‘whiskey’ just a variant spelling of ‘whisky’, or do they describe two separate groups of spirits? Eric Asimov of The New York Times tried referring to it as ‘whisky’ regardless of origin, only to spark a raft of complaints from serious Scotch drinkers. Adjustments were made, and American-produced varieties like bourbon and rye are now referred as ‘whisky’, while those from Scotland, Canada and Japan, ‘whisky’. Just think of it this way: extra vowels only waste valuable drinking time.

When drinking your whisky…

1) Adding water to your whisky doesn’t mean adulterating it. Water tames the harshness of the alcohol, releasing all the wondering aromas and flavours.

2) The correct kind of glass is important. Traditional nosing glasses like Glencairn help you capture and focus on the aromas, and that’s an important aspect of drinking whisky.

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3) Ice may put off some purists, as it tends to dilute the whisky more than necessary. But in this heat, ice can be a pleasant reprieve. Just use large whisky balls (you can find them at here) that don’t melt as quickly.

Vocab that could come in handy

Legs – Swirl the whisky around and notice the droplets that run back down the sides of the glass. These aren’t an indication of quality, but of the level of alcohol. The longer the legs are, the stronger your whisky is.

Dram – This technically refers to no more than a teaspoon of Scotch, but today, it’s widely known as a glass of whisky.

Angel’s share – That’s the romantic term for the amount of alcohol that evaporates from the casks during maturation. It is usually about two per cent, although it does get higher in warmer regions.

Hogshead – Derived from the term ‘hogges hede’, an English term from the 15th century, this is the 225-litre cask that the whisky matures in.

Quaich – A shallow double-handled drinking vessel from Scotland, in which drams of whisky are taken. Also believed to carry the blood of sacrificed humans, as practised by the druids of the Celtic period.

Lowlands – Of the four important areas for Scotch, the Lowlands is the bit beneath the Highlands. A Lowland malt is generally smooth and light, which explains the characteristics of whiskies like Auchentoshan.

Beading – The bubbles that appear when a bottle is shaken. The longer they last, the higher the alcohol content.

Beat that hangover

Olive oil – Take one teaspoon of this after a meal, before you drink. It protects the stomach and helps the liver along in processing the alcohol.

Milk thistle – This herb boosts the liver in metabolising alcohol and cell renewal. You can buy it in either liquid or tablet form. Consume one before and after a night of boozing.

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Coconut water – The more alcohol you take, the more you have to urinate. You lose plenty of potassium this way, and low potassium is what causes your hangover. Coconut water helps. It’s great for rehydrating and contains lots of potassium to help you recover.

Curious about triple distilled whisky?

Scotch single malts are usually distilled twice in pot stills, and while this is normally the case, Auchentoshan is the only distillery that does it thrice, using a wash, intermediate and spirit still. It is a time-consuming and costly process, and every time you distill, you increase the alcohol by volume as you’re putting the products of one still into another. As a result, the extra distillation takes the spirit to around 81 per cent, and that is higher than most other single malts in Scotland. Like a finely milled white flour, triple distillation is Auchentoshan’s strategy for smooth, delicate tasting whisky. The more you distill, the more heavy components like oils are left behind.

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If you’re on a date and out to impress,

Order yourself a glass of whisky and not some cheap hooch. Even if you like your reds, whisky shows class and taste without the snobbery that is sometimes associated with wine. Get something smooth like an Auchentoshan, and she might just order the same. Besides, women are drinking more Scotch these days. What better way to hit it off than over good whisky?

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