Rye Whiskey

Bourbon and Scotch may be best-sellers, but rye whiskey is increasingly often the drink of choice for many whiskey connoisseurs. Up until recently, this historic American spirit was fading into obscurity. Liquor stores and bars usually stocked just a few old, dusty bottles. But there has been a miraculous rebirth of the rye category, and drinkers now prize its big, spicy and brash flavors. Distillers are now struggling to keep up with demand. Rye has a lot in common with that other American whiskey, bourbon, and the two spirits are usually produced in the same Kentucky distilleries using similar methods. Both are typically made from corn and rye, but the ratio of ingredients is very different. Rye whiskey is made from at least 51%—you guessed it—rye, while bourbon is made from at least 51% corn. The higher percentage of corn makes bourbon sweeter and smoother. (You can easily taste the difference if you make one Manhattan with bourbon and another with rye.) Both spirits are also aged in new, charred, American-oak barrels.

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