There’s a lot of debate over whether to use whiskey or Bourbon for cocktails. Some swear by Bourbon, while others say whiskey is the only way to go. So, what’s the difference? And more importantly, which one should you use in your cocktails? We’ll look at the history of both whiskey and Bourbon and the flavor profiles of each.
Should You Use Whiskey or Bourbon for Cocktails?
Everybody has their likes and dislikes, and what works for some will not be enjoyed in the same way by others. There is no “correct” choice here; just go for what you prefer. To help you make a more informed decision, we have compiled some facts about both Bourbon and whiskey, as well as some tasty cocktails that you can make with each.
Some people believe that the distinction between whiskey and Bourbon is the location where they’re produced, and while this is true, it is not the only distinctive feature that sets these two drinks apart from one another. The context of the drinking will also dictate the best drink. Are you celebrating something with a group of friends, trying to impress a potential client, or enjoying a relaxing sundowner with a partner? Keep reading to discover the best drink for you.
What’s the Difference?
The first thing to know is that all Bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is Bourbon. For a whiskey to be considered Bourbon, it must be made in the United States, and it must be made from a grain mixture of at least 51% corn. Bourbon also has to be aged in new, charred oak barrels. The combination of the corn-heavy mash bill and the charred barrels gives Bourbon its signature sweetness and amber color.
In contrast, whiskey can be made from any type of grain mash, and it can be aged in used barrels. Because of this, whiskey can vary widely in flavor, depending on the type of grain used and the aging process.
The History of Whiskey
Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. The first recorded use of the word “whiskey” is from 1405, and it is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word “uisce beatha”, which means water of life. In the early days, whiskey was used as medicine and was even given to soldiers before they went into battle.
The earliest known distillation of whiskey was in Ireland in the 12th century. Irish monks brought the technique of distillation to Scotland in the 15th century, and whiskey production quickly spread throughout Scotland and England. Whiskey was then introduced in America in the late 17th century by Scottish and Irish immigrants. American whiskey was initially produced by small farmers and distillers using surplus grains. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1791 was a protest against the federal government’s tax on distilled spirits.
What Is Scotch Whisky?
“Scotch whisky” is a type of whiskey made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made from malted barley and aged in oak barrels for at least three years. The most common types of scotch are:
- Single malt: made from 100% malted barley and distilled in pot stills
- Blended malt: made from a blend of 100% malted barley whiskies
- Blended Scotch: made from a blend of both malt and grain whiskies
What Does Whiskey Taste Like?
Whiskey is made from a variety of grains, including barley, rye, wheat, and corn. The type of grain used will affect the flavor of the whiskey. Generally, the flavor profiles of whiskey are:
- Barley: light and floral
- Rye: spicy and dry
- Wheat: sweet and smooth
- Corn: mellow and sweet
Single Malt vs Blended Malt vs Blended Scotch
Because single malt Scotch is made from 100% malted barley and distilled in pot stills, it has an incredible depth of flavor and character. Many people prefer blended malt whiskies because they are more balanced and less peaty (smokey). Blended scotch whiskies are the most popular because they offer a good balance of flavor and price. Using blended scotch whisky in a cocktail is a great way to add depth of flavor without breaking the bank.
Why Should You Use Whiskey in Cocktails?
Whiskey is a versatile spirit that can be used in a variety of cocktails. It has a distinct flavor that can be paired with many different ingredients. Whiskey is a low-calorie spirit, so it is a good choice for those watching their weight. Something else we love about whiskey is that it is relatively easy to find a good quality bottle without spending tons of money.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Whiskey in Cocktails?
Whiskey can be a bit of an acquired taste. If you are not used to drinking whiskey, it can seem quite strong. It is also important to note that not all whiskeys are created equal. Some brands use lower-quality ingredients, and this is reflected in the product.
Cocktails that Are Better With Whiskey
Whiskey cocktails are often made with rye whiskey. These cocktails tend to be high in alcohol content and have a bold flavor. If you are looking for a cocktail that will pack a punch, then a whiskey-based drink is the way to go. Some popular whiskey cocktails include the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Sazerac.
The History of Bourbon
Bourbon was first created in the early 1800s in Kentucky when farmers sought a way to use up their surplus corn. It gets its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky. Bourbon quickly became popular, and by the 1860s, Kentucky was producing over one million gallons of Bourbon per year. In 1964, the United States Congress officially recognized Bourbon as a “distinctive product of the United States.” Bourbon is primarily produced in Kentucky but can also be made in other states.
What Does Bourbon Taste Like?
Bourbon has been described as having oak, caramel, and vanilla notes, though different people may find that other flavors are more apparent. Bourbons can generally be put into four categories: nutmeg-forward, caramel-forward, grain-forward, and cinnamon-forward.
Why Should You Use Bourbon in Cocktails?
Bourbon has a sweeter flavor than rye whiskey and is often used in cocktails that are meant to be sipped slowly. It is a good choice for cocktails that are sweet or fruity. Bourbon-based cocktails tend to be less potent than their whiskey counterparts, but it mixes well with other liquors, like vermouth or bitters, so you can up the alcohol content that way if that is your primary goal.
If you are looking for a cocktail that is smooth and easy to drink, then a Bourbon-based cocktail is the way to go. Bourbon is also a low-calorie spirit.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Bourbon in Cocktails?
Bourbon can be a bit too sweet for some people, and it can be easy to oversweeten a cocktail if you are not careful. Bourbon also has a lower alcohol content than rye whiskey, so if you want to make the most of your night out drinking and come home feeling very merry indeed, you will want to use rye whiskey instead.
Cocktails that Are Better With Bourbon
Some of our favorite Bourbon cocktails include the Mint Julep, the Whiskey Sour, and the Kentucky mule. If you are looking for a Bourbon cocktail that will please everyone, then we recommend trying one of these classics.
What Does My Choice of Cocktail Say About Me?
Whiskey cocktails are most popular with men and are generally seen as a more masculine drink. If you want to impress your male friends or colleagues, serving them a whiskey cocktail is a great way to do it. Bourbon, on the other hand, is seen as a more refined drink. If you are looking to show off your sophistication, then serving a Bourbon cocktail is the way to go.
What to Look Out for When Choosing a Whiskey or Bourbon
The proof is the most important thing to look out for when choosing a whiskey or Bourbon. The higher the proof, the higher the alcohol content. This means you must be careful when mixing cocktails with high-proof spirits. If you are not careful, you could end up finding some of your cocktail party guests passed out in your garden hedge.
Another thing to keep in mind is the age of the whiskey or Bourbon. The older the spirit, the more mellow it will be. This is because the longer a spirit is aged, the more time it has to smooth out its flavors. If you are looking for a smoother drink, then you should choose an older whiskey or Bourbon.
When it comes to cocktails, if you’re enjoying a drink a local Apple Valley Cafe, Bar and Restaurant it is really up to personal preference whether you use whiskey or Bourbon. If you are looking for a sweeter and smoother drink, then go with Bourbon. If you want a more potent, more rugged cocktail, then rye whiskey is the best choice. If you feel like trying both whiskey and Bourbon to decide the ultimate champion, come and see us at Town’s End Stillhouse and Grill for a delicious drink and meal. Cheers!