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Whiskey Drinks

An old-fashioned spirit that conjures up thoughts of raucous Irish pubs and Wild West saloons, whiskey (or “whisky” without the “e” in some countries) has a long, rich history that is believed to have its beginnings in Asia in the 7th century BC, when knowledge of distilling was first discovered. Brought to Europe by the Moors in Spain and probably to Ireland in about the 5th century AD, possibly by Saint Patrick, whiskey eventually made its way to the New World and was even at the center of an uprising in early America, when the Whiskey Rebellion was triggered by a federal excise tax imposed on whiskey by Alexander Hamilton in 1794. Irish and Scottish immigrant farmers led the fight! And later, so-called moonshiners made their favorite illegal liquor in secret, risking discovery, so that those with a penchant for whiskey could buy it despite prohibition. Obviously, whiskey was something so good that fans of the spirit saw a need to fight for it!

Long a stand-alone drink that tavern and bar patrons have been knocking back for centuries, whiskey is also an important ingredient in a number of mixed drinks. Some favorites include:

Whiskey Sour – Easy to make, an old-fashioned whiskey sour includes 1.5 oz. whiskey, 1.5 oz. lemon juice, and ¾ oz. simple sugar syrup, shaken together and served in a chilled glass with a maraschino cherry garnish.

Manhattan – First served in the Manhattan Club in NYC in the 1870s, this has always been a fashionable drink. It consists of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The amount of each liquor used depends on whether you like your Manhattan dry or sweet. It can be shaken or stirred.

Rob Roy – Almost the same as a Manhattan, the Rob Roy uses Scotch whiskey instead of rye whiskey along with the sweet vermouth and bitters. A dry Rob Roy is made with dry vermouth instead of sweet.

Mint Julep – A favorite alcoholic drink in the southern U.S., the Mint Julep probably originated in the 18th century. The official beverage of the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep includes bourbon whiskey, simple syrup, water, and mint (usually spearmint).

Old Fashioned – In the history books as the first concoction ever to be called a “cocktail”, the Old Fashioned is served in a short glass – named for the drink – and consists of bourbon whiskey, simple syrup or a cube of sugar melted in water, and bitters. Sometimes, rye whiskey is used instead of bourbon. Seltzer is often added as well.

Black Hawk – Named after the famous airplane, this whiskey drink includes a delightful combination of bourbon whiskey and sloe gin. Serve it in a highball glass and garnish it with a cherry.

Highball – A simple drink, many will tell you that their first exposure to whiskey was via a Highball. Just combine a jigger of whiskey with ginger ale (or a lemon-lime soda). You can adjust the quantities for the desired taste. This easy-to-make concoction is said to have been invented for railway workers around the turn of the 20th century and the name indicates a railway signal for trains in a hurry.