Whiskey is a popular alcoholic drink. Usually it is made from rye or wheat. At times it can be made from barley as well. The name of the product comes from the Celtic word usquebaugh which translates as the "water of life". Initially, the English heard only uishgi which over time transformed into whisky.
History of Whiskey
Whiskey is among the alcoholic beverages that can be proud of their rich history. According to those familiar with its history, the Celtics had been successfully preparing the head spinning elixir since more than 5 centuries ago. Scotland and Ireland have heated debates over which of them was the true birthplace of whiskey. Still, it is generally accepted that the roots of the drink should be sought with the Irish. Until the 15th century, the alcoholic drink was predominantly prepared in monasteries. But the Scots began producing it at home too and as such it went beyond the limits of the spiritual abbeys.
In fact, by the first quarter of the 20th century, every farm had obtained a cauldron to mix up the famous drink. Later, with the implementation of excise taxes, this practice drastically decreased. The whiskey that the Scottish and Irish consumed back then was quite different from that which modern man is familiar with. In those days, the alcoholic beverage was consumed immediately after production since the people believed that otherwise the product would not be fit for consumption.
Later, by complete accident, whiskey producers found that aging not only did not ruin the substance, it actually made it even more fragrant and pleasant to the taste. As time went on, new techniques arose in the production of the beverage. In the 19th century, this type of alcohol was not particularly famous worldwide, its main consumers remained the Irish and the Scottish. Later however, it began gaining popularity in America and is currently among the favorite alcoholic beverages across world markets.
Production of Whiskey
Different whiskey makers use various techniques in the production of whiskey. For this reason there are currently that many types. It's still generally accepted that when the alcohol is being made from barley it needs to be soaked in water for at least 2-3 days. This way the grains moisten enough to sprout later. Then, the material is carefully arranged onto a flat surface and waited on until it germinates.
Until this happens (usually takes no longer than 10 days), the grains are mixed regularly and treated against mold. Subsequently, the resulting sprouts are placed in specialized dehydrators in a furnace. The malts in turn are dried using peat smoke for about 2 days, are then cleaned of debris and ground. The resulting product is left in a vat, with water added to it.
The resulting solution can then ferment. It is filtered and kept in a reservoir. The mixture ferments with yeast until a weak alcoholic substance results. It is distilled later on. If the distillation is successful and everything with the liquid is up to standard, it is poured out into barrels. Most often, these are made from oak or cherry wood.
Types of Whiskey
In today's world there exist all kinds of whiskey. Of course there are several types that absolutely require mention. Among these is the malt whiskey. It is made from sprouted barley and can be smoked either a lot or very little. Aficionados will also point to the so-called single malt whiskey as a noteworthy type, one that is made from a single malt mash. It is also not uncommon to use products obtained in different years. This type of whiskey is stored in barrels for at least 8 years.
The most popular worldwide is blended whiskey. It is made from malt and grain distillates. Blended whiskey of processes a golden color since since it is tinged with caramel or other colors. Fans of this alcohol are also familiar with American whiskey. It is a mix of several types of grain whiskey. Another famous type is of course Irish whiskey. It is different from the Scottish version in that it uses coal drying, where no smoke actually reaches the grains. However, Irish whiskey lacks that specific taste and fragrance for this reason.
Storing and Serving Whiskey
Experts recommend keeping whiskey in a dark area, with the temperature being about 50°F (9°C). It's also good for the bottle with the beverage to be in an upright position. According to Scottish tradition, whiskey is served with a glass of water. Guests can dilute the alcohol according to taste. Ice is also added. But the Irish have a different understanding for the consumption of this type of alcohol - they prefer to drink it in pure form. A whiskey needs to be drunk slowly, in small sips, for one to fully experience the taste, as well as the aroma. A whiskey glass is cylinder shaped and must only be filled a little bit upon serving. An appetizer can be served along with the whiskey. A typical complement to this type of alcohol is smoked fish. Other appetizers for whiskey include oysters and various sorts of nuts.
Culinary Use of Whiskey
Since there is such an abundant diversity of whiskeys on the market, it has quickly risen in popularity among products used for cooking. It is successfully used in recipes for cakes, bonbons, eclairs, rolls, ice creams, creams, jams and many others. Among the unforgettable desserts with whiskey we see Irish cake, chocolate balls and jellied Irish coffee. Salted specialties with whiskey are also supremely appetizing.
Don't forget to add the aromatic drink to roasted chicken meat or sauteed pork. Whiskey also finds presence in numerous cocktails. It combines well with fruit juices and sodas. Excellent results can be enjoyed if this alcohol is mixed with Baileys, rum, vermouth, sour cherry liqueur, brandy or other drinks. Of course, always drink these cocktails responsibly. Otherwise, you can always pour in a little whiskey to tea or coffee. If desired, add cream as well.
Benefits of Whiskey
Even though experts are not unanimous about the effects of alcohol on our health, many of them claim that whiskey is healthy as long as it is consumed in responsible quantities. According to different studies, quality whiskey has a general strengthening effect and maintains a healthy immune system. It protects from cancer diseases and fortifies heart function.