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The Man Crates Guide to Whiskey: A Barrel Full of Fascinating Facts

Posted by Man Crates on

The first written evidence of whisky comes from 1494, when King James IV of Scotland sent a bulk amount of malt to Friar John Cor with a letter ordering him to “make aquavitae,” or liquor. Since then, we’ve all come such a long way. Today, there’s rich, reliable Kentucky bourbon, delicate, silky Japanese whiskey, smoky, earthy Scottish whisky, and classic, smooth Irish whiskey…and, of course, Fireball.

The Man Crates team loves to celebrate the globalization of this delicious drink, and we’ve come to consider ourselves whiskey experts (because if you call yourself an “expert,” you can drink however much you’d like). As a result, we’ve gathered together some facts, tips and recipes for our fellow whiskey-hounds to check out below!

You can buy your own barrel of whiskey

Companies like Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace and Jack Daniels offer the chance to visit their warehouse and handpick a one-of-a-kind batch to be bottled and sent to your doorstep (empty barrel included).

You can get a PhD in distilling

Heriot Watt in Edinburgh is one of only a few places that offers doctorate-level courses on brewing and distilling. This is useful for telling your friends, “In my scientific opinion, you owe me a drink.”

It’s “whisky” if from Scotland, “whiskey” if from just about anywhere else

It’s simple: The Scottish get to drop the “e,” while the rest of us have to keep it. Related: The origin of the name “bourbon” is hotly contested. Some say it’s named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans, while others say the name comes from its birthplace: Bourbon County, Kentucky.

4% of whiskey evaporates in a barrels each year

We in the industry call this is the “Angel’s tax.” The floating spirits have to party somehow, we suppose.

Mountain Dew was originally invented to be a whiskey mixer

Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman invented the formula as a mixer in the 40s, giving it a name that was once slang for “moonshine.” For some reason, we don’t think the Code Red edition would go very good with booze, though.

You can make whiskey from quinoa

The folks at Kentucky-based Corsair Distillery are smart enough to know that one can make whiskey from any grain—so they tried their hand at this South American crop. The resulting batch, with it’s bold, nutty taste, won the silver medal at the 2011 New York International Spirits competition.

Whiskey has been a hot-button political issue

In case you slept through U.S. History class, we’re here to remind you the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 was an important part of our nation’s history. When treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton tried to levy a tax on the liquid gold, he was met with staunch resistance from farmers. Then, after an uprising in Pennsylvania, President George Washington himself led 13,000 troops to quash the movement. There is a happy ending, though. The tax was repealed in 1801 when Thomas Jefferson beat Hamilton in the Presidential election.

80 year-old Winston Churchill enjoyed whiskey for breakfast

A menu from a 1954 plane flight shows that Churchill had two trays of breakfast—the first with eggs, toast, jam and milk, and the second with whiskey (and a cigar). Treat yourself, Mr. Prime Minister.

Whisky really is the “water of life”

The word “whisky” comes from the Scottish-Gaelic word “uiscebeatha,” which roughly translates to “water of life.” Sounds about right.

Whiskey Recipes

The MC Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a classic whiskey recipe (hence the name), and every man should have it in his arsenal. See below for our twist that would make Ron Swanson drool:

  • 1sugar cube (or 1 bar spoon simple syrup)
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s cocktail bitters
  • 2 oz bacon-infused Four Roses bourbon
  • Orange peel garnish

Combine all ingredients and stir, then pour into a rocks glass. Add one large ice cube or three smaller ones.

The MC Whiskey Sour

The Old Fashioned can be a bit intense for some, so here’s a smoother, more refreshing option. Don’t let the peach scare you away--it’s plenty good without it. But if you find yourself grilling in the backyard on a hot summer day before making drinks, this will earn you major man points.

  • 2 oz whiskey
  • ⅔ oz lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Garnish with grilled peach slice (optional)

Combine ingredients, besides peach, and shake well. Strain over crushed ice into a glass. If using peach, slice into half and place on the grill. Sear for grill marks, slice and garnish.

Man Crates has the best whiskey gifts for menSome might dispute it, but we think it’s fact. Plus, we have a little something for every taste.

For the man making the transition from Jim to Johnnie, the Personalized Whiskey Crate has the baseline essentials, like monogrammed rocks glasses, slate coasters, a tasting journal and snacks.

Whiskey Gifts for Men
Our Whiskey Appreciation Crate ups the ante for those who swill in style with a personalized decanter.

And for the true enthusiast, our Whiskey Connoisseur Crate comes with Glencairn glasses and a whiskey aerator.

Now, go forth with your newfound wisdom and experience whiskey anew.