Whiskey 101: 5 Facts About the Basics

Cocktail facts & history / email

With so many different names and two ways of spelling it, whiskey may be one of the most mysterious spirits out there. From Bourbon to Scotch to whiskey with an “e” and without an “e,” this alcohol is known in many forms (including beer).

Here are five fast facts about whiskey:

  • Whiskey is not the same as whisky: The general consensus is this: Scottish distilleries spell their whisky without the “e,” while everyone else includes the “e.”
  • Whiskey starts life as beer: Whiskey is beer that has been distilled two or three times. Beer is a technical term for whiskey wash, regardless of the type of raw ingredient used. Want to learn more about making whiskey? Check out this best-selling, step-by-step guide to making whiskey ($12). 
  • Angels love whiskey: The “Angel’s share” or “Angel’s tax” refers to the 4% of whiskey that evaporates in barrels every year.
  • George Washington loved whiskey: He opened his own distillery in 1799 and was the largest producer of whiskey in the country.
  • Whiskey makes Tabasco sauce possible: Tabasco sauce is actually aged in barrels that previously contained Jack Daniels whiskey.
  • There are only four distilleries in Ireland: Ireland is famous for being the first to publicly sell whiskey, however there are only four distilleries in the whole country.


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