I couldn't tell you when my alcohol taste changed and I switched to drinking whiskey. I have always enjoyed a good glass of whiskey. However, now it is all I drink. And because of that, I rarely taste the burn of the ethanol. Allowing those rich flavors to come through. Now occasionally I will have Vodka or Rum, but usually, you can find my ass parked at the bar with a glass of whiskey. Or at my computer.
So what whiskeys do I drink? I love a good Irish or Scotch whiskey. But some of my favorites come from right here in the United States.
Out of Tennessee, you got, Straight Whiskey.
Quick lesson, whiskey produced in Tennessee is legally classified as a bourbon whiskey, although the Tennessee makers do not list their whiskey as a bourbon. With that said, they are made with the same ingredients, and most meet the criteria to be called a bourbon.
Some of the brands of whiskey that hail from Tennessee include:
JACK DANIEL'S - Lynchburg.
GEORGE DICKEL - Tullahoma
BENJAMIN PRICHARD'S - Kelso
COLLIER AND MCKEEL - Nashville
TENNSOUTH DISTILLERY - Lynnville
NELSON'S GREEN BRIER DISTILLERY - Nashville
Here is a tidbit of information for you. Just because a whiskey is produced in Tennessee, does not automatically make it a Tennessee whiskey. WTF? To be considered a Tennessee whiskey, it must be aged. Those whiskeys not aged are classified as a corn whiskey, and they are marketed as Moonshine. It's the length of aging and what they are aged in that give whiskeys those robust, warm flavors.
Rye whiskeys are also not considered a Tennessee whiskey.
Kentucky whiskey. There are a shitload more out of Kentucky than Tennessee. So I am not going to list them all but, some of the more well-known ones are:
MAKER'S MARK - Loretto
ELIJAH CRAIG - Louisville
WILD TURKEY BRANDS - Lawrenceburg
PAPPY VAN WINKLE - Frankfurt
BLANTON'S - Frankfort
BOOKER'S - Clermont
NOAH'S MILL - Bardstown
W.L. WELLER 12 year -Frankfurt
Now for whatever reason, the Kentucky makers don't mind putting bourbon on their labels. Kentucky whiskey must be made from a mash consisting of 51% corn.
Let's not forget our northern counterparts the Canadians, who give us Crown. My Italian family buys this shit by the five-gallon bucket. Whenever we have a family reunion (or just hanging out), you got wine, and you got Crown, and gobs of food. Vieni a casa mia e mangiare, bere e ridere.
These are just a few; there are tons more, and way more from other countries. My favorite, Pappy Van Winkle. But it can be a 100$ pour or more so make sure before you order you know the price. Lest you shit your pants when you get the bar bill.
The only reason I got to even try it - I knew somebody who knew somebody, who had a bottle of Pappy's 20-year reserve. I could never actually afford a bottle myself, but that one taste still makes my mouth water. It is so hard to come by that unless you have connections, you will probably never get to taste this delicious amber fluid.
Fireball is one of my favorites. Can't help it. However, I recently tried Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire. It is very smooth. I prefer it if I want the cinnamon whiskey straight, but both occupy my fridge. Like Fireball, Tennessee Fire isn't fancy or expensive but it is fabulous straight over ice with a shitload of cherries, and yes at the bar I actually say 'Fireball or Tennessee over ice with a shitload of cherries'. Both mix great with all kinds of other stuff too. Like Cranberry juice and Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka. Or just Cranberry by itself. And let's not forget about mixing it with Angry Orchard or Red's Apple Ale, or Diet Dr. Pepper.
I suggest if you ever get the chance you head to Tennessee and Kentucky and go on a distillery tour. Sample and buy. You might as well eat while you are there and get you some barbecue. Some of the best damn barbecues come from these two places.
I mean C'mon, whiskey and barbecue. You'll think you died and went to heaven.
Websites I suggest to learn more about whiskey:
Check back often for more information. I think I will try and post a video review sometime. Lord knows that will be an undertaking.
But I guarantee it will a helluva lot of fun.