Do You Know the Difference Between Scotch Single Malt Whisky and Scotch Blended Whisky?

Do You Know the Difference Between Scotch Single Malt Whisky and Scotch Blended Whisky?

When you get down to it, Scotch whisky is the most diverse category of whisky in the world. A wide variety of grains, barrels, stills, and techniques go into the thousands of products produced in Scotland. And that’s a problem—namely because, for novice Scotch drinkers, there’s a lot of uncertainty.

Say you and I tried scotch for the first time this week: My experience sipping smoky, roiling Lagavulin would be totally different from your finessed, easy-drinking Dewar’s. We both had Scotch, yes, but we had two very different styles of Scotch: one a single malt, one a blend.

In a legal sense, anything labeled Scotch whisky must be made from grain that’s been distilled (in Scotland) and aged in oak barrels (again, in Scotland) for at least three years. But after that, the road forks in a few … Read the rest

The World’s Best Craft Gins You’ve Never Tried

The World’s Best Craft Gins You’ve Never Tried

Mother’s Ruin. Dutch Courage. Ladies’ Delight. Gin has managed to rack up a fair share of nicknames since its inception during the Middle Ages. It’s considered to be one of the most versatile and broadest categories of spirits, boasting a massive variety of styles, production techniques, and flavor profiles. But the central component that binds them all together is, of course, the star ingredient: juniper.

The gin that most of us sip today is simply a modern-day evolution of the Dutch liquor known as jenever. Originally used as an herbal remedy, it continued its progression over the centuries, eventually rising to international fame in Great Britain during the late 1600s when William of Orange became King William III of England. Ever since, the world has continued to associate the spirit with the U.K., and the London Dry style still reigns as one of the most popular interpretations (think: … Read the rest

The Best Craft Beer Festivals in the U.S.

The Best Craft Beer Festivals in the U.S.

When the craft beer movement erupted, it spurred a tidal wave that’s reached practically every corner of the globe (just see all the great undiscovered craft beers from around the world and the 50 best craft offerings in the U.S.). Its impact has been far-reaching, creating a thirst among consumers for specialty brews. Sure, a session beer or trusty lager is great when you’re manning the grill or staked out at the beach. But there’s an urgency for more sublime varieties. People want chocolatey milk stouts, smooth and sweet from lactose; sour ales that brim with brightness and make your mouth pucker; and that hoppy bitterness only an IPA can deliver. Because of this, beer festivals have become ubiquitous.

It seems every weekend you can find one in your local area. As with anything else, though, quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality, and … Read the rest

The Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila

The Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila

The age of the craft cocktail is upon us, and tequila is the star of the show. It topped the charts in terms of spirit category growth in 2018, according to Nielsen. No longer reserved for shooting back with some table salt and a dried-up lime wedge at your local dive, bartenders have been getting increasingly creative with the Mexican spirit. We’ve seen it infused with chiles to give cocktails a punch of heat and mixed with bright, fresh ingredients like celery and ginger to impart freshness. But there’s another spirit that’s taken over cocktail lists: mezcal.

With a smoky flavor that instantly adds depth to any drink, bartenders have been showing off the wide range of combinations that make mezcal sing—from fruity preparations utilizing pineapple or passionfruit juice to cooling cucumber and even tart kombucha. But what even is mezcal, and how does it differ from tequila? You … Read the rest