Whisky is a spirit made of grain and the name comes from the Gaelic uisce beatha, which means the water of life.
When making whisky, a mash is made of grain and water. The mash is converted to what’s known as wort. The wort ferments and converts the sugar to alcohol. The last step before ageing is distillation, which is done in copper boilers with various shapes and heights, which also affects the nature of the spirit.
The choice of grain and ageing affects both the style and the taste. To be able to call it whisky, it must have been aged for at least three years. However, a standard whisky is normally aged for at least six years and more luxurious brands for 10 or more years.
Whisky has become incredibly popular through history and today, the beverage is made in several countries outside Europe and even in Sweden. But Scotland and Ireland are considered to be the cradle of the beverage.
In Scotland, it’s spelled whisky and, in Ireland, the U.S. and Canada, it’s spelled whiskey, while bourbon is American whiskey aged in new American oak barrels. Whisky is enjoyed straight, with ice or a little water. Whisky is also used as a cocktail ingredient in many classic cocktails where it gives the drink true character.