Liquid Sunshine - The Story Behind Scotch Whiskey
"Scotch whiskey washes away the dust of everyday life." - Unknown
There are many important dates in life that may call for a raise of your glass. Some are personal such as birthdays and anniversaries. Other are festive holidays and celebrations of achieving significant milestones. Today, we are happy to give you one more...
International Scotch Whiskey Day
That's right! February 8th is the day Scotch lovers unite to pay tribute to this drink often referred to as "liquid sunshine." Whether it be because of its color's golden hue or its magnificent mood-enhancing powers, Scotch whisky is enjoyed all over the world by many.
How it all began...
In 1494, a man named Friar John Cor, purchased "eight bolls of malt wherewith to make aqua vitae" which was enough malted barley to produce nearly 1,500 bottles of this alcoholic beverage. It was refined and improved over the next several hundred years until this delicious spirit gained so much popularity that it grabbed the Scottish Parliament's attention. And, as every government does, it decided it wanted in on the profits from this industry so a tax was placed on the sale of Scotch in 1644.
Disgruntled by the hands reaching into their pockets to take a cut of their hard-earned money, as many business owners are, smuggling Scotch whiskey became standard practice for the next 150 years as illicit distillers played a game of cat and mouse with the tax collectors.
It was hidden everywhere! From under the pulpit of a clergyman to inside coffins for secret transportation!!
By 1823, the Duke of Gordon (embarrassed by the fact that his own lands were being used to produce some of the best illegal Scotch whiskey in the country, right under his nose) suggested the government make it profitable to produce and distribute the whiskey legally.
And just like that, smuggling Scotch quickly lost its taste!
Enjoying Scotch Whiskey in Modern Times
Scotch is divided into five distinct categories, including single malt, blended malt, blended grain, single grain, and blended Scotch whisky. Each variety has its own unique flavor profile, aroma, and characteristics.
Blended scotch is made from a combination of malted and unmalted grains, while single malt scotch is made from malted barley. Single-grain scotch is made from one type of grain, usually wheat or corn. Within each of these categories, there are many different varieties, styles, and ages of scotch, so there are potentially hundreds of kinds of scotch available.
The best way to enjoy Scotch whisky is to savor it slowly and responsibly.
Take your time to smell and taste the whisky, and experiment with different types of whisky and different ways to taste it.
Pour a glass and sip it straight or make a classic Scotch whiskey cocktail to celebrate the origins of "liquid sunshine" with us.
Classic Rob Roy
- 2 ounces of blended Scotch whisky
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashed Angostura bitters
- combine ingredients in your Boston Shaker filled with ice
- using your American Bar Spoon, stir for 20 seconds
- cover the shaker with the Hawthorne Strainer and empty into a chilled glass
- garnish with a twist of lemon or orange peel