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Did You Know? – American & Canadian Whiskey

American and Canadian Whiskey

Blended Whiskey

The product of blending different types of whiskey and sometimes also neutral grain spirits, colourings, and flavourings.

American “blended whiskey” must contain a minimum of 20% straight whiskey. Blended whiskey that contains a majority of straight whiskey of one particular grain type (i.e., rye, malt, wheat or bourbon whiskey) may include the grain type in its label description e.g., “blended rye whiskey”

Most Canadian whiskies are blends. Any grain spirit aged for at least three years in Canada may be called Canadian whiskey and may contain both caramel colouring and flavourings. Most are a blend of different grain spirits with a large percentage of corn spirits and are typically lighter and smoother than other whiskey styles. The terms “rye whiskey” and “Canadian whiskey” are used interchangeably and refer to exactly the same product, which generally is made with only a small amount of rye.

Straight Whiskey (USA)

Created by distilling a fermented (malted or un-malted) cereal grain mash and then ageing the spirit for at least two years in new charred oak barrels. When bottled, only water to reduce proof may be added.

Bourbon, malt whiskey, rye whiskey, rye malt whiskey, wheat whiskey. When the majority of the content of the mash used in the distillation consists of corn, rye, barley, or wheat, the designation can be coupled with a special name associated with the type of grain and whether the grain was malted.

Corn whiskey – Straight whiskey distilled from a cereal mash containing at least 80% corn and aged in used or uncharred barrels.

Bourbon – Straight whiskey distilled from a cereal mash containing at least 51% corn.

Tennessee whiskey – Straight whiskey distilled from a cereal mash containing at least 51% corn and filtered through maple charcoal.

Kentucky Straight – Straight whiskey made in Kentucky from a mash of at least 51% corn grain.

Sour Mash

Does not refer to the flavour of the whiskey, as is sometimes thought, but is a process used in the distilling industry that uses material from an older batch of mash to start the fermentation of a new batch. The mash – a mixture of grain, malt and water – is conditioned with some amount of spent mash (previously fermented mash that still contains live yeast). By using an established and known fermented “sour”, this fermentation process controls the introduction and growth of foreign bacteria and yeasts that could damage the whiskey, and improves the consistency and quality, so that every bottle tastes as close to the same as possible.
The sour mash process is used for the production of nearly all bourbon whiskey.


Originally a slang term for high-proof distilled spirits usually produced illicitly, without government authorization. In recent years, however, moonshine has been legalized in various countries and has become a commercial product. Moonshine is a clear, un-aged whiskey, typically made with corn mash as its main ingredient and is good for cocktails or careful sipping.

Serving Suggestions

Sazerac – Old favourite dating from the 19th century

5 parts Rye Whiskey (or any Straight Whiskey)
1 Part Absinthe
½ part sugar
dash of Bitters
Lemon Peel to garnish.

Coat inside of whiskey glass with Absinthe, add ice, set aside.
Stir remaining ingredients over ice.
Discard excess Absinthe and ice from whiskey glass and strain drink into glass.
Garnish with Lemon Peel

Whiskey Sour

2 parts Bourbon
1 part Lemon Juice
1 part Sugar Syrup
Cherry and Lemon Slice to Garnish

Shake all ingredients with ice.
Strain over ice.
Garnish with Cherry and Lemon Slice.