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Whiskey 101: Behind-the-scenes facts

Sponsored by: Binny's Beverage Depot

Updated: September 9, 2014 11:12AM

The richness and diversity of whiskey may intimidate even the most seasoned drinkers, but that's not stopping many thirsty consumers. Americans are drinking whiskey faster than distillers can make it, and there's even a shortage of barrels needed to age the whiskey, according to Forbes. Here's what you need to know about this popular spirit:

An unknown history
Irish settlers brought whiskey, which translates to "water of life" in Gaelic, to the New World in the 18th century. The exact origination of whiskey is unknown, as both Ireland and Scotland claim they were the first to distill this spirit.

Whiskey or whisky?
Novice whiskey drinkers may be surprised to see whiskey spelled two different ways. The spelling difference dates back to the origin countries. "Whiskey" is the Irish spelling used in Ireland and the U.S., while "whisky" is the Scottish spelling used in Scotland, Canada and Japan.

A category of spirits
Whiskey serves as an overarching category of spirits also including scotch and bourbon. Scotch derives from Scotland and bourbon from Bourbon County, Ky., with true scotch made only in Scotland. The term "whiskey" can encompass any kind of whiskey, such as Irish, Japanese, Canadian, American, scotch and bourbon.

Better with age
Whiskeys should develop a complex, slightly woody flavor, which can take five years in most premium bourbons or more than 10 years for Scotch and Irish whiskey. According to the Guinness World Records, the Glenavon Distillery in Scotland bottled the oldest whiskey in existence between 1851 and 1858.

A variety of flavors
Bloomberg reports Jack Daniels tops the list of best-selling whiskey brands in the U.S., but many other brands offer variations to match different palates. Try a sweet whiskey with ginger ale to ease yourself into the trend and soon you'll be enjoying a whiskey on the rocks!

Looking to experiment with whiskey? The staff at Binny's Beverage Depot can recommend the perfect whiskey for you. Call (708) 237-7660 to reach their new location in Evergreen Park.

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