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When we think of the term “spirits” many different things come to mind.
For example, one should always try to stay in good spirits through hard times. Or something cheerleaders are professionally obsessed with. The beings you negotiate with after you’ve accidentally moved into a haunted house.
But this page is not about either of those, you’re about to learn about bottles of power-packing alcohol.
Scotch whisky is generally made from malted barley or grain with the spirit aged in oak casks for more than three years. Entirely made in Scotland, Scotch is divided into five distinct categories that include single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain and blended scotch whisky. Scotch has an earthy and smoky flavour.
Bourbon is a distilled American whiskey, primarily made from corn and is stored in charred oak casks and does not contain any additives. A slightly sweet tasting whiskey, bourbon also is also a bit smoky and has a reddish colour due to fermentation in charred oak casks.
This whiskey is made in Eire (Republic of Ireland) or in Northern Ireland. It is made from yeast-fermented grain mash or a mash of malted cereals and takes about three years to age in a wooden cask. Irish whiskey has a smoother finish as compared to scotch.
Most Canadian whiskies are blended multi-grain liquors containing a large percentage of corn spirits, and are typically lighter and smoother than other whisky styles. When Canadian distillers began adding small amounts of highly-flavourful rye grain to their mashes, people began demanding this new rye-flavoured whisky, referring to it simply as “rye”.
Rye whiskey is primarily made in North America with a mash of at least 51 percent rye and is aged in charred barrels for at least two years. Rye is a type of grass that is a member of the wheat family. This whiskey has a slight fruity and spicy flavour and is great for making whiskey cocktails.
Tennessee whiskey is a type of whiskey produced in Tennessee in the United States. The difference between Tennessee whiskey and bourbon lies in the method of filtering. Tennessee whiskey is steeped in charcoal before going into the casks for fermentation.
Due to cheap, harsh-tasting versions of days gone by, white (or light) rum has suffered from a bad reputation – one that is now thoroughly undeserved. Distilled in white oak barrels then filtered to make it clear, white rum usually isn’t aged, resulting in an uncomplex profile with subtle hints of almond and vanilla.
Sometimes referred to as black rum, this is usually aged in charred oak barrels for longer than its lighter-hued counterparts. Vanilla and caramel overtones give way to a smoky, intense finish. The flavour is a little more robust, so it’s the ideal choice to match with equally punchy ingredients
Although the term ‘golden rum’ can refer to several different varieties, it generally indicates that the spirit has been aged in amber oak barrels. Flavour will vary depending on the distiller, but drinkers can expect distinct caramel and toffee notes with hints of toasted almond, banana, and, as you’d expect, an oaky finish.
Spicing rum is no longer cheap way of masking poor-quality spirits with overpowering flavours. And spiced rum has seen a well-deserved spike in popularity as a result. The possibilities for flavourings are endless, from fragrant herbs like rosemary to sweet caramel and citrus fruits, all of which compliment rum’s natural butterscotch tones
Coffee liqueur combines two of many people’s favorite drinks: coffee and alcohol. Plenty of sugar is added to balance out the alcohol’s sharp taste, usually. While Kahlua is the most well-known and widely sold, it is hardly the only option available. There are several other commercially produced options, and you can even make your own coffee liqueur at home.
In the early days of cocktail-making orange liqueurs emerged as the most popular ingredients, figuring in a vast array of cocktails. Today, Cointreau remains one of the most famous liqueurs in the world, while as long as there are margaritas there will be triple sec. The most famous producer of fruit liqueurs is Bols, a Dutch company originally more famous for its jenever and gin.
When considering the cream liqueur category, it is often difficult to see past its most famous exponent, the brand that first invented, and then became, the entire category. But these days, despite Baileys’ continued dominance, there is more choice available than ever before for those prepared to seek out the margins.
Liqueurs based on whisky have been around for longer than you might think – in Scotland, the locals have drunk ‘brose’, a traditional drink based on whisky, honey and oatmeal, for centuries. While the most famous (non-cream) whisky liqueur remains Drambuie, there are plenty of alternatives, such as Atholl Brose and Lochan Ora, for those seeking a change from the norm.
Herb Liqueurs are very popular, and there are many famous examples often made by Monks, and often made to age old recipes with tens, if not hundreds, of ingredients. Chartreuse and Benedictine are both Monastic liqueurs. A number of herbal liqueurs were first created for medicinal use!
A crème liqueur (not to be confused with cream liqueur) is a liqueur that has a great deal of additional sugar added to the point that it has a near-syrup consistency. Unlike cream liqueurs, crème liqueurs include no cream in their ingredients. “Crème” in this case refers to the consistency. This category includes crème de cacao (chocolate), crème de menthe (mint), crème de mûre (blackberry), and crème de cassis (black currant).