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The wide selection of whiskies can be intimidating for starters. Terms such as single malt, rye, and blended can be a bit confusing but these can all be broken down into simpler and more generic terms. To easily distinguish whiskies, it is important to know their origins. American, Scotch, Irish, and Canadian are just some of the more prominent whiskies in the market today. These different types of whiskies have varying flavors. American whiskey, for instance, is sweeter and is aged in charred-oak barrels. Scotch whiskey, on the other hand, has smoky and earthy flavors while Irish and Canadian whiskies are light-bodied in flavor.
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To fully appreciate its different flavors, it is important to know how to drink whiskey properly. Whiskey can be enjoyed "neat" (without water or ice) but for beginners, a drop of water is usually added to the drink to slightly dilute it. Serious whiskey drinkers typically add a single ice cube at a time to avoid diluting the drink and making it watery but for some, they like drinking whiskey "on the rocks" or with ice filled to the brim of the glass. Although it's not necessarily better tasting, chilled whiskey is easier to drink and is perfect for beginner whiskey drinkers.
There is no one way to enjoy whiskey and the best way to know how to appreciate this timeless beverage is to simply explore and try it out.
Adam Quirk is the co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, a Bloomington-based craft distillery producing first-class whiskey and other craft liquor. Visit this Facebook page for more information.