THE
BARKEEPER'S

DIARY


Words of wisdom, crafty cocktail recipes, and friendly tips & tricks.

RUM VS. WHISKEY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

There are many liquors out there lining the shelves of bars, restaurants, and home bars around the world. While there are dozens of liquors to choose from, these five that rule the roost: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and whiskey. Vodka and gin serve as the clear spirits, tequila can be clear to pale amber, rum can be clear to dark brown, and then (of course) there’s whiskey, which always carries a golden amber to dark woody brown color. As you might be able to tell, dark rum and whiskey carry different flavors than the clear spirits. So, what really is the difference between rum and whiskey? Here is a guide to help you keep them straight. What Is Rum? Let's set sail for the Caribbean to learn about one of its most famous exports: rum. This spiced spirit has been used to fuel many a pirate adventure, and it's no wonder why.  Rum is the perfect drink for a hot summer day, and it can be enjoyed in a wide variety of cocktails. Still, what exactly is rum? Rum is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice or molasses. It gets its distinct flavor from the addition of spices like vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The best rums are aged in oak barrels, which gives them a smooth and mellow flavor.  Rum is typically drunk neat or on the rocks, but it can also be used in cocktails like the Piña Colada or the Mojito. So, the next time you're in the mood for something sweet and tropical, reach for a bottle of rum and raise a glass to the good life. How Is Rum Made? Here is a closer look at the rum-making process: Step One: Harvesting Sugarcane Sugarcane is harvested for rum production by cutting down the sugarcane and transporting it to a processing facility. The Caribbean is a popular area for sugarcane and rum production because of its warm climate and rich soil. Step Two: Extracting Juice From Sugarcane Sugarcane is then chopped up and crushed in order to extract the juice. Sugarcane juice contains a high concentration of sugar, which is necessary for the fermentation process.  If the sugar is not extracted from the sugarcane, the fermentation process will not yield the desired results. Step Three: Fermenting the Juice The next step in the rum-making process is fermentation. In order for fermentation to occur, the sugarcane juice is placed in a tank where it is mixed with yeast. The yeast breaks down the sugars in the juice and turns them into alcohol over the course of several days. The fermentation process is relatively simple and only requires a few ingredients. First, the sugar cane juice is mixed with water and yeast. The mixture is then left to sit for a period of time, during which the yeast will consume the sugar and produce alcohol. Once the fermentation process is complete, the resulting liquid is known as wash.  The wash is more alcoholic but not as alcoholic as rum or other hard liquors. To get that higher proof, the fermented sugarcane juices have to be distilled.  Step Four: Distilling the Juice The distillation process is an essential part of making rum, and it yields some pretty amazing results. There are two main methods of distillation: using a pot still and using a column still. For rummaging, pot stills are most common. Using a pot still distillation method, first, you pour the fermented sugarcane juice into the pot still, which is then heated to boiling. The alcohol vapors boil before the water, meaning the vapor is more alcoholic than the liquid with fewer of the mash’s impurities and other ingredients. The vapors are then collected and condensed into liquid again, where the process can be repeated until the rum is as pure as the distiller wants. Step Five: Aging Not all rum is aged. Clear rum is not aged at all and can be bottled right after distillation. Some dark rums are also not aged but instead have added colors, caramel, and spices which can change the colors and flavors. Still, many darker rums are, well, dark because they have been aged in wooden barrels. When a liquor of any type is aged in wood, as the wood expands and contracts it pulls in and pushes out the liquid, imparting some of its natural botanicals, flavors, and colors. Over time, the spirit absorbs the unique flavors of the wood, giving it a smooth, mellow taste.  The length of time that rum is aged also plays a role in its flavor. For example, light rums are typically aged for around one year, while dark rums may be aged for up to three years or more.  What Is Whiskey? Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. The grains used can include barley, rye, wheat, and corn. Whiskey is typically aged in wooden barrels, which give it its distinctive color and flavor.  The word "whiskey" comes from the Gaelic phrase uisce beatha, which means "water of life." Whiskey has been around for centuries, and its popularity has only grown over time. Today, there are many different kinds of whiskey to choose from, each with its own unique flavor profile. In the United States, the most popular types of whiskey are bourbon and rye. Bourbon whiskey must be made in the United States and contain at least 51% corn. Rye, on the other hand, must contain at least 51% rye to be considered rye whiskey.  There are other requirements as well, including aging restrictions and minimums. How Is Whiskey Made? Whiskey is made using a very similar process to rum. The basic steps of harvesting, fermenting, distilling, and aging are almost identical.  The main difference is in the fermentation process for whiskey. Instead of crushing and juicing, the grains are milled and mixed with hot water to create a porridge type of mixture for fermentation. This process is more effective at relieving the sugary starches in the cereal grains so that the yeast can convert them to alcohol. Beyond that, the process is quite similar to run — even down to pot distillation and aging. Most whiskeys have stricter aging requirements that they must follow, but the basic principle remains constant. What Are the Differences Between Rum and Whiskey? In summary here is a brief overview of the differences between rum and whiskey: Main Ingredient: Rum is made from sugarcane, while whiskey is made from cereal grains including corn, wheat, rye, and barley. Aging: All whiskey must be aged, but not all rum must be aged. Color: Rum can be clear or dark. Meanwhile, whiskey is typically amber or brown. Flavor: Rum is typically sweet, while whiskey is typically smokey or peaty. Added Spices: While any rum can be spiced rum and contain added flavorings and spices, most whiskeys do not have flavor additives. In fact, many types of whiskey are prohibited from adding flavors. So, there you have it! These are the basic differences between rum and whiskey. What Are the Similarities Between Rum and Whiskey? Even though rum and whiskey are made from different ingredients and have different flavor profiles, there are some similarities between the two.  Here is a closer look at a few of these similarities: Distilled: Both rum and whiskey are distilled spirits. This means that after fermentation, the liquids are purified and the alcohol content is amplified. This is as different from beer and wine, which are fermented but not distilled. Aged: While rum does not have to be aged, aged rum shares many similarities with whiskey. The aging process can be responsible for much of the flavor and color of a good rum or whiskey. The longer a liquor is aged, the darker it will be. Wood Flavors: Because both dark rum and whiskey are aged in wooden barrels, they can share similar flavor profiles. All sorts of woods are known for giving a caramel and vanilla type of flavor to liquors that are aged in them. Rum vs. Whiskey: Takeaways Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. The most common grains used are barley, rye, wheat, and corn. Whiskey is typically aged in wooden barrels, which contributes to its flavor and color. The United States produces the most whiskey in the world, followed by Ireland and Scotland. There are many different types of whiskey, each with its own unique flavor profile. The two most popular types of whiskey in the United States are bourbon and rye. Bourbon must be made in the United States and must contain at least 51% corn. Rye must contain at least 51% rye. Other requirements for both include aging restrictions and minimums. The main difference between rum and whiskey is in the fermentation process. Rum is made from sugarcane, while whiskey is made from cereal grains including corn, wheat, rye, barley, and others.  Rum can be clear or dark, while whiskey is typically amber or brown in color. The flavor of rum is typically sweet, while the flavor of whiskey is smoky or peaty. If you are a rum drinker, then whiskey might be more up your alley than you think. Give Oak & Eden whiskey a try, and you may find a whiskey you like better than rum. You can also check out our Infused series for our rum-infused whiskey, the Rye and Rumba. We've got whiskey that you’re bound to love… So, what are you waiting for?   Sources What's the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey? | Food & Wine What Is the Effect of Aging on Liquor? | The Spruce Eats Coffey still | Whisky Advocate
READ THE STORY

HOME BAR SETUP: THE COMPLETE GUIDE

Everyone enjoys a delicious cocktail when they go out. There’s something special about an expertly crafted cocktail made with fresh ingredients and creative liquors, liqueurs, fruit juices, herbs, mixers, and more. Of course, these delicious and yummy drinks come at a cost — literally. When you go out to the bar, you can easily end up spending fifteen to twenty dollars on any good cocktail that isn’t just a shot of well liquor mixed with a shelf-stable margarita mix. Making drinks at home can be cheaper and just as delicious, especially if you can perfect your setup. Without a stocked home bar, you might find yourself going back time and time again to the same old boring drinks, having your favorite beer or wine every night, and never really branching out. A thought-out home bar can shake up your evening routine, so every night feels like a night out. Getting your home bar set up nicely takes just a little bit of effort at the beginning. Once it’s ready, upkeep is easy — just replace any bottles and ingredients you use up! To help you get your home bar set up just how you like it, we’ve put together the complete guide for a home bar setup you will love.  What Are Home Bar Essentials? There are a few different categories of essential bar tools, glassware, garnishes, and more that we need to assemble the ultimate bar and boost your mixology skills. A Bar Cart - You can’t have an at-home bar without a bar area. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying a bar cart if you have a built-in bar already or have repurposed a bookshelf into a bar area. If your space is slightly smaller, a bar cart is an easy way to keep your essential bar items together. Bartending Tools - It’s impossible to make full use of your home bar without the proper tools. You’re going to need a cocktail shaker, tongs, ice, a jigger, a citrus juicer, a knife, a peeler, a cutting board, a muddler, and a cocktail strainer to make any drink you could imagine. Mixers - While the Long Island Iced Tea is a special drink that has its merits, most other cocktails require some non-alcoholic components. Most importantly, you have your simple syrup, but you should also have a variety of fruit juices on hand for mixing. Fresh is always best, so consider stocking fruits you can juice yourself when inspiration strikes. A skilled mixologist keeps Angostura orange bitters, tonic water, and other essential mixers nearby, along with a bar spoon and cocktail shaker in the bar cabinet. Glassware - No wet bar is complete without rocks glasses, wine glasses, highball glasses, and other essential barware. A Cocktail Book - Everyone needs to know how to make classic cocktail recipes like the Manhattan, old fashioned, Mojito, and more. Plus, it’s helpful to get a general sense of how to use unique ingredients like vermouth, Campari, or white rum to make your own great cocktails at home. A cocktail book can give you all that knowledge and more. Alcohol - Last but not least, a home bar could not be complete without alcohol. You should start with a bottle of each of the five cardinal liquors and branch out from there.  Together, these four components make up the essential at-home bar. Now, we’re going to take a closer look into each area with tips and tricks to get the best home bar setup imaginable.  What Should I Look for in a Bar Cart? Like we said earlier, you don’t need to go out and purchase some crazy expensive bar cart — all you need is a dedicated area to store your bottles and equipment where you can mix your drinks with ease. If you have some counter space that you can dedicate to mixing drinks or shelves nearby to store ingredients, then you are set. However, if you are quite serious about your cocktails, having a dedicated bar cart can be a nice addition to your living room, kitchen, or wherever you decide to put it.  For a perfect at-home bar cart, look for something with wheels that lock to avoid your cart running away without you. Other than that, there are bar carts available for any need, any style, and any budget. What Bartending Tools Do You Need?  We gave a brief list of bartending tools that you should have for your at-home bar, but without any explanation, this list may have just sparked more questions rather than answers. You should start with a nice cocktail shaker that you trust (Boston shakers or cobbler shakers are both fine).  Most cocktails you meet will be shaken, but stirred drinks can be mixed in the cup you are serving in or a mixing glass.  Next, you are going to need a jigger. A jigger is a bartending measuring device. They are equipped with two sides that are each a measure: one ounce and 1.5 or two ounces. They also have lines to show different measures for mixing. You should at least choose a jigger with measure markings at the half, one, and 1.5-ounce line for ease of use. A cocktail strainer is an optional choice for many drinkers. For the ideal smooth drink, it really does come in handy. Having both a fine mesh strainer and Hawthorne strainer can be smart but a fine mesh strainer alone is enough as well. If you are serving fresh juice, then a citrus hand juicer, a knife, and a cutting board are going to be essential as well.  Lastly, bobbles like ice, straws, cups, tongs, a muddler, and a peeler can come in handy. Ice is a necessity as well as cups. Everything else is optional, so long as you are willing to make do with what you have.  What Mixers Do You Need for a Home Bar Setup? There are a few delicious cocktails out there that call for only alcoholic ingredients, but most drinks will call for some sort of mixer. Most important amongst the group is your simple syrup.  You can make your own simple syrup by combining equal parts water and granulated sugar and heating until it is completely dissolved. Then, take it off the heat and let it cool. You can also buy simple syrup in-store! Citrus juices are an important addition to any bar setup, whether you squeeze fresh juice or buy it bottled. If you’re someone who likes White Russians, then consider adding heavy cream to your mixer list, as well as tomato juice for Bloody Mary drinkers. What Alcohols Do I Need for a Home Bar Setup? Finally, on to the most important topic of discussion: Which bottles of alcohol do you need to set up a successful home bar? For starters, you’ll need the five cardinal liquors: whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, and rum. These five liquors stand apart as the most commonly used liquors in cocktails. With them at your disposal, you can make next to anything.  Choosing the right brands is also important for your home bar setup. While you can save money with bottom-shelf liquor, your cocktail quality will suffer. While buying nice liquor can be an upfront cost, buying by the bottle saves you tons over what you would pay during a night out.  You should aim for bottles that are of high quality but aren’t so expensive that you’re going to be hesitant to drink them. There is certainly room for a few incredibly expensive bottles on your bar, they shouldn’t make up your staples.  Oak and Eden Whiskey is the perfect whiskey for every at-home bar. Our whiskeys are all expertly crafted and delicious enough to drink neat, but they aren’t so expensive that you’ll be tortured pouring them into mixers. Oak and Eden whiskey is made with our distinct in-bottle finishing technique, giving our whiskeys a unique flavor you won’t find anywhere else. Other important bottles to consider are a few of your favorite aperitifs, liqueurs, and flavored liquors for cocktails.  Feel free to start with only the ingredients you need for one of two simple cocktails, like a bottle of Oak and Eden, lemon juice, simple syrup, and some bitters. Then, slowly add bottles to your bar as your budget allows — low pressure, high reward, lots of fun. Home Bar Setup Takeaways Enjoying delicious cocktails doesn’t have to be a 20-dollar experience that you only get when you go out. Enjoying cocktails at home is cost-effective and just as good (if not better) than what you can get from bartenders during a night on the town. The key is creating a well-stocked home bar setup.  No at-home bar is complete without a bottle of Oak and Eden. Our whiskeys are all expertly made to give you a whiskey experience that you won’t forget. Whether you prefer bourbon, rye, or wheat whiskey, we have a bottle that you are going to love. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious bourbon cocktail right in the comfort of your own living room. It’s really as simple as that.    Sources Cocktail Science: 8 Tips and Tricks For Getting the Most Out of Citrus | The Spruce Eats Essential Liquors and Mixers to Stock in Your Home Bar | The Spruce Eats Shaken, not stirred | Feature | Chemistry World
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY FATHERS DAY GIFT: 6 EXCITING IDEAS

There’s no role model in a person’s life quite like their father. In a world that’s constantly changing, fathers stand as a model for steadfastness, courage, determination, and hard work. It is because of the great examples of the fathers that came before us that we are where we are today, and because of that, we should show them how much we care. Father’s Day is a holiday like no other, giving everyone the chance to show their father how much they have meant to them. Still, Father’s Day can also be a tricky holiday, particularly if you aren’t fond of gift-giving.  Getting your father a gift he will love that tells him you care is difficult, especially if you have a father who tends to just go buy the things he wants for himself.  If there is one thing that most fathers love, it’s whiskey — and the great thing about whiskey is you can always use more. There are also plenty of other whisky-related gift ideas that can tell your father how special he is and give you the opportunity to bond over a glass. No more scrambling at the last minute for a Father’s Day gift idea. Here are six exciting whiskey gift ideas for your dad this Father’s Day #1) A New Cocktail Shaker If your father is someone who prefers his whiskey in a Whiskey Sour or Mint Julep, then a new cocktail shaker will be a wonderful gift for him. For shaken cocktails, having the right type of shaker makes all the difference in achieving the proper dilution and texture in your drink. There are all sorts of shakers out there, but they mainly fall into two main categories: the Boston shaker and the Cobbler shaker. You should figure out your dad’s preference before diving in because some people have very strong opinions about which style is “better.” If you want to make this gift truly special, consider shopping through a service that can offer an engraved shaker with a Father’s Day message he will read every time he shakes up a drink. You could also go for a themed shaker that celebrates a hobby, interest, or theme in your father’s life. #2) Customized Old Fashioned Glasses Whether your father drinks his whiskey straight or in cocktails, he needs an Old Fashioned glass. The feeling of a high-quality piece of drinkware in your hand as you sip a delicious whiskey cocktail can elevate your drinking experience quickly.  Consider getting your father a customized set of Old Fashioned glasses for his bar. Think about his interests and hobbies. For instance, if he likes sports, consider getting him glasses themed after his favorite team. If he loves to travel, maybe get him a few glasses themed after his favorite destinations. Get creative, because a custom Old Fashioned glass is something your dad will actually use all the time. If you gift him a basic, boring, or low-quality piece of drinkware, he won't actually get much use out of it. If you are going for a glassware present, you need to make it special so that it doesn’t end up at the back of a drawer somewhere for all of eternity. #3) A Nice Bottle of Whiskey At the end of the day, a bottle of whiskey is still one of the best and easiest gifts that you can give to your father on Father’s Day. The best part is that your father is going to love it. Whiskey, like a father, grows better with age — what better gift could there be? If you’re searching for a bottle to give your father for Father’s Day, Oak & Eden has the perfect selection for you to choose from. Starting with our classic Inspired Series Whiskeys, you have the choice between expertly crafted bourbon, rye, wheat, and four-grain whiskeys. No matter your father’s taste, we have a traditional blend right up his alley. If your father is of the more adventurous type, then he may be more intrigued by the offerings in our Infused Series of whiskeys, featuring intense and inventive flavors. From our Bourbon & Brew coffee-infused whiskey to our Rye & Rumba Caribbean rum-infused rye whiskey, we’ve got options that will pack a flavor punch your dad will love. Of course, all of our whiskeys use innovative in-bottle finishing techniques. We place a hand-toasted wooden spire in every bottle of our whiskey to continue infusing botanicals and flavor notes into your whiskey while it sits on your shelf. Your father is going to love Oak & Eden. #4) Whiskey Tumblers or a Whiskey Flight Set If your father is more of a whiskey connoisseur, then getting your dad his very own set of whiskey tumblers to serve flights of whiskey is a thoughtful Father’s Day gift.  Whiskey tumblers (sometimes called Glencairn glasses) are the small glasses that whiskey is served in when you are tasting it. A Glencairn glass has a wide base and a taller, slimmer body and lip that’s almost shaped like a tulip. These glasses help concentrate the aromas of the whiskey upwards to your nose and make whiskey more fragrant (and easier to taste). #5) Ice Ball Molds One thing that usually separates homemade cocktails from the delicious (and expensive) cocktails that you get when you go out is the ice. Oftentimes, you find at bars the ice in your cocktails — especially your whiskey — are these large single perfect cubes of ice. Other times, you get even more inventive single giant chunks of ice, like circular ice cubes. Making these kinds of decorative giant ice cubes for serving cocktails and whiskey is more than doable from the comfort of your home: All it takes is a simple silicone ice mold. You can get creative shapes like balls, which tend to look cool. There are also cubes, pyramids, and other fun and wacky shapes that you can try out.  If your father is someone who likes to host cocktail parties or make cocktails for friends, then ice cube molds (spherical or otherwise) can take his presentation skills to a whole new level.  #6) Oak & Eden Anthro Series Whiskey The final great gift idea that any father will be excited about receiving this fathers day is a bottle of any of our Oak & Eden Anthro Series whiskeys. Our Anthro Series of whiskeys are crafted in collaboration with popular ramblers and creators to showcase unique and interesting flavor profiles. With blends and recipes blended in collaboration with such celebrities as prolific western actor Forrie J. Smith’s barrel proof bourbon with coffee-infused American oak spire to Americana duet Jamestown Revival’s blend of barrel proof rye whiskey with a toasted french oak spire, the Anthro series are top of the line, flavorful, and creative blends that your father will get a real kick out of. The Antro Series of Oak & Eden whiskey is a celebration of individualism and the unique approaches that make each of us one of a kind. Give your one-of-a-kind father a bottle of our Anthro Series whiskey to show him just how special he is to you.  Takeaways Father’s day is the perfect time of year to show your father how much his support and care have meant to you. Giving him the perfect gift is the best way to show you care. But shopping for a Father’s Day gift gets challenging year after year. How do you find something he’ll love that represents his worth to you? If you have a father who likes whiskey, then you have a great solution. There are truly dozens of great gift ideas for anyone who loves whiskey, including fathers. The key is of course finding the gifts that will actually make a difference. A new cocktail shaker is a solid option for dads who enjoy shaken cocktails. Some customized or special cocktail glasses are also always smart. Oak & Eden whiskeys also make an ideal present for any father, showcasing the brilliant flavors of American-made whiskey while also presenting first-of-its-kind in-bottle finishing to give your father a whiskey that is layered and complex like him. Whiskey tumblers or a set of flight glasses is a good gift for the whiskey connoisseur fathers out there, and creative and fun-shaped ice cube trays are a smart present idea for dads who like to serve nice drinks.  Whatever you decide to give your father this year, make sure he knows how much he means to you. Sometimes, all that takes is two glasses, a bottle of whiskey, and a little quality time.    Sources: In Defense of the Cobbler Shaker | PUNCH 7 types of glasses to enjoy scotch, whisky and bourbon | Architectural Digest India What is an Old Fashioned Glass? | Thrillist
READ THE STORY

HOW TO STOCK A HOME BAR

Not everyone is a cocktail or hard liquor person. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who would much rather drink beer and wine forever rather than experiment with the delicious flavors, mixtures, and elements of spirits and mixed drinks. For those individuals, life is incredibly easy. At every party, every restaurant, every picnic, every fishing trip, and every family reunion, they know that they will have their drink of choice on offer. If you’re a spirit lover, well, you may need to do some advance planning to ensure your drink of choice is on hand. Enter: the home bar. Having a home bar was once an essential aspect of entertaining, allowing you to pour drinks for visitors at a moment's notice. As time has gone on and beer and wine have grown more commercially available, home drinking habits have changed.  When you have a home bar, you are able to easily prepare hundreds of craft drinks from home at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a bar. Imagine how much better your drinks could be at home for guests and for yourself! Here’s a starter guide to stocking your home bar so that everyone can have a drink that they love, quickly and easily. What Are Home Bar Essentials? There are many items you’ll need to complete your home bar so that you can make any drink you could dream about. These include tools and equipment, mixers, alcoholic ingredients, and bottles of spirits. Together, these elements make up your home bar.  Keep in mind that you don’t need to start your home bar off right away with everything in the entire world. Trying to cover all of your bases at once can be a big (and expensive) project. Instead, make sure that you start off with the essentials for a few drinks that you like  You can slowly expand outward from there as you see how fun mixing drinks can be. This will give you access to what you like first on an affordable basis while leaving you room to complete your bar over time. Let’s take a closer look at these primary categories and what you need to make your home bar functional. What Are Essential Home Bar Tools and Equipment? While you can have a home bar that is simply glasses and bottles of liquor, you’d miss out on the joys of mixed drinks. In order to make drinks in a sanitary, fun, and safe way you’re going to need the right tools and equipment. Your most important element is a cocktail shaker. Not every cocktail is shaken — some are simply stirred — but some cocktails need that shake to develop the right texture and dilution.  There are two types of shakers that you’ll see most commonly: cobbler shakers and Boston shakers. Some people have strong opinions about which is better, but whichever you find easiest and most enjoyable to use will be the best choice for you. You should also have a jigger, a specialized measuring tool for bartending. A jigger is a double-sided measuring cup, with one side measuring an ounce and the other two ounces of one and a half ounces (depending on the style and manufacturer).  You don’t need to have a jigger specifically, but you should have measuring devices that can measure half, quarter, three-quarter, and ounce liquid measurements.  On top of this, it’s helpful to have a citrus juicer if you plan to juice fruits fresh for mixed drinks. A cutting board and knife can also be juicing essentials.  Ice is a must-have, and you’ll want several different-sized glasses. While you don’t need to have a set of bar glasses with every shaped cocktail glass, it can be fun to up your presentation — but any cups will do. What Are Essential Home Bar Mixers? Now that you have the equipment you need for your home bar, it’s time to add mixers. While there are plenty of delicious cocktails that are made without mixers — and you can always enjoy nice liquor on the rocks — most cocktails are going to require some sort of non-alcoholic ingredient, known as a mixer. The most important of these non-alcoholic ingredients is simple syrup, a one-to-one syrup of sugar to water. You can make this at home or purchase a store-bought variety, but simple syrup is going to be used in most cocktails you mix up as a sweetener.  You should also prepare to go through a lot of citrus juices. Squeezing your lemons and limes fresh for every drink is ideal but a lot of effort. Still, if you are going to buy a bottle at least be sure to get a high-quality, natural lemon or lime juice. It’ll make a big difference! Beyond those basics, the only mixers you need to have at your bar are the ones you need to make the drinks you like the most. The more extensive your mixers are the more creative your drinks can be, but oftentimes the classic mixers have become classic because they taste the best when mixed with alcohol. It can be as simple as that for a delicious cocktail.  What Bottles Do I Need to Stock My Home Bar? The final question left to answer for your home bar is which bottles of liquor and alcohol you need to have a stocked home bar. For the most basic beginning setup, your bar should include at least three or four of the five most popular liquors: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey.  With one bottle of a nice (but not super expensive) bottle of each, you have the ingredients necessary to make many of the classics.  If you’re looking for a delicious whiskey to stock your home bar with, Oak & Eden should be the first place you look. Our Inspired Series of whiskies is a collection of classic whiskies from bourbon to rye and even four-grain whiskey — with a twist.  Oak & Eden uses first-in-the-industry technology through our in-bottle finishing technique in every bottle of whiskey. Each bottle contains a Spire, a specially selected and toasted spiral cut piece of wood that finishes the whiskey in the bottle, adding flavors and notes to your whiskey. Any of our Inspired Series whiskies will make a wonderful addition to your home bar. Beyond basic liquors, some popular liquors and other alcoholic ingredients to grab include bitters, sweet and dry vermouth, Aperol, curacao, a triple sec, and whatever else you like to drink. Think: flavored liquors and all sorts of schnapps and liqueurs.  At the end of the day, your home bar should cater to your personal tastes and the general tastes of the public. When you are first starting out, it is okay to have a limited bar selection. As you continue to invest in expanding your home bar you’ll have more options to experiment. It can be expensive all at once, there’s nothing wrong with starting off small. Takeaways  If you want to enjoy delicious cocktails and liquor straight or on the rocks at home, then a home bar is the right move for you. If you want to start a home bar, however, you may have a lot of confusion about how to get yourself started.  Getting your home bar started and stocked is simple, all you need to do is gather three things: your equipment, your mixers, and your bottles. If you get all three of these set up to your liking, you have a functional home bar. Make sure you have the essential equipment like a cocktail shaker and jigger, as well as a juicer for citrus and a cutting board. You’re also going to need to get the essential mixers, like simple syrup as well as lemon and lime juice. Beyond that, consider anything non-alcoholic that you might like to put in a cocktail as a potential candidate to stock for your bar.  Finally, bottles of alcohol should start with a few of the five cardinal liquors - vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, and tequila. A delicious whiskey option for your home bar is our Oak & Eden Inspired Series of whiskies. Whether you prefer bourbon, rye, wheat, or four grain as your go-to whiskey, we have options that you will love on their own or in a cocktail.  Stocking your home bar doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming. Start small with the ingredients for a few drinks you like, and slowly expand your bar outward. Cheers!   Sources Cocktail Science: 8 Tips and Tricks For Getting the Most Out of Citrus | The Spruce Eats Essential Liquors and Mixers to Stock in Your Home Bar | The Spruce Eats Shaken, not stirred | Feature | Chemistry World
READ THE STORY

COCKTAIL PARTY AT HOME: 7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Throwing a great cocktail party is a delicate (and fun) balance. Semi-casual mixers thrown at friends’ homes are a wonderful opportunity to mingle with pals old and new for a good time, no matter the time of year or occasion. If your only exposure to cocktail parties has been work functions that are less than fun, allow us to open your mind to everything a cocktail party has to offer. A well-thrown cocktail party can help you meet new people, make stronger connections with friends, and enjoy some delicious homemade cocktails. Cocktail parties have been around for decades, and for good reason — they’re a blast! Hosting a fun cocktail party that you and your guests love is easier than you may think. As long as you’re ready to do your research, you can make your cocktail party a major success.  This guide of helpful tips and must-know information will give you all the answers you need to plan your next cocktail party with ease. 1. Plan Your Invite List The first step of throwing a cocktail party at home is understanding the importance of the perfect group. If you have too many or too few guests at your cocktail party, it could throw off the group dynamic. With fewer than five guests at your cocktail party, it will feel like more of a cocktail hangout. Any more than 15 people, and you’re getting closer to a regular party where mingling can become challenging across circles.  You should aim for a group size of around ten to promote conversation and sidebars while providing enough entertainment for the entire evening.  2. Choose Your Cocktails Another crucial consideration is which cocktails you plan to serve throughout the evening. You want to offer drinks that are fun, unique, and familiar. Striking the perfect balance can be a blast if you’re up to the challenge. You should always make sure to serve something simple like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan that most everyone will know (and like). Oak & Eden whiskeys are a tasty choice for any classic or adventurous whiskey drink. Our whiskeys are smooth and flavorful while still being approachable, subtle, and delicious straight or in a mixed drink. Plan for just two or three cocktails to make life easier for yourself as a host, but try and offer at least two different types of liquor. You should also serve some wine and beer for any guests who prefer other alcoholic drinks. Of course, don't forget guests who may not want to drink! Having a non-alcoholic drink or cocktail on offer for them can be a thoughtful way to keep them involved in the action. 3. Serve Up Appetizers and Snacks Just as important as your drinks are your appetizers, snacks, and other food offerings. You aren’t expected to serve a full dinner or even a substantial food spread, but it’s always nice to have finger foods for guests to munch on. The key is picking foods that are easy to eat, small enough to serve in one to three-bite portions, and pair nicely with the cocktails you’re serving. You should also try to serve foods that won’t make anyone’s breath smell, as cocktail parties are mainly about talking to other people. To keep things simple, one homemade appetizer is more than enough. Then, offer a cheese board of some sort and perhaps a few store-bought snacks like a veggie spread or a bowl of nuts.  As long as your food is yummy, your guests will be happy. 4. Pre-Batch Your Cocktails Another planning secret that can make cocktail parties so much easier is to pre-batch your cocktails before your party. When you’ve got house cocktails on offer, you're going to have a lot of drinks to mix. If you don’t want to be stuck behind the bar all night, you’re going to need an inventive solution.  The best way around this issue is to pre-batch your cocktails so that they are easier to serve. Batching cocktails involves scaling up the recipe and mixing some beforehand. This way, it can be easy to pour, stir/shake, and serve instead of building drinks from scratch all night.  You can even just put out your cocktails premixed in a pitcher or punch bowl with glasses and ice as another option to simplify your evening.  5. Decorate Your Space You can’t have a great cocktail party without a little bit of decoration thrown into the mix. Whether you are hosting a cocktail party to celebrate an anniversary, birthday, milestone, or holiday or you’re just feeling inspired, putting extra thought into the decorations at your party can provide a sense of festivity. For birthdays, you should focus on decorations centered around the honoree. For holidays, decorating in the theme of the season can add a fun and festive element. You can even theme your cocktail offerings if you want to go the extra mile. 6. Plan Some Games Even the best cocktail parties can have a pause in the conversation or a moment where the energy dips. Having a few games in your back pocket can help revitalize your cocktail party and bring the fun to a new level. Not all party games are created equal, however, and having the right games can make or break your evening. Murder mysteries were a hit in the nineties and are coming back around as a trend now. These can be super fun for cocktail parties and help get people mingling.  If you’re just trying to break the ice for a cocktail party with guests who are meeting for the first time, then getting to know your style games like two Truths and a Lie or Never Have I Ever can be fun ways to get the party started, too. As long as you have two or three games ready, then you should be good to go. 7. Don’t Neglect the Music The final piece of must-know information to help you throw the perfect cocktail party at home is to be sure you aren’t forgetting about music. Every restaurant or bar you go to has music in the background — it helps cut awkward dead noise that can kill conversation. Be sure to curate a playlist themed around the party, the holiday, the theme, or just music that you and your guests enjoy and can listen to passively in the background. You want your music to be fun but not distracting or so loud that it limits your ability to hear each other. Think of it as an accompaniment to your conversation when selecting songs. Cocktail Party at Home: Takeaways Throwing a cocktail party at home can be a super fun way to get to know your friends and mingle with new people.  Start by inviting the ideal number of guests so that you have enough people for fun but not too many to cause chaos. You should also plan out cocktails you plan to serve in advance. Oak & Eden whiskey is a great choice for your cocktails, for its smooth taste and robust flavors. Oak & Eden whiskey is made with our first in its industry in-bottle finishing technique, which allows our whiskey to continue developing and improving its flavors while it sits in the bottle. Make sure you have planned some food for your party as well. If you want to enjoy your party yourself, pre-batch your drinks so you have time to spend with your loved ones. Decorate for your cocktail party to set the mood and try and have a couple of games ready to go in case there is a lull in the conversation or you need an icebreaker. Last but not least, think about your music choice. If you can do these three things, then you are ready to throw the best cocktail party possible. Cheers! Sources  How to Batch Cocktails for a Crowd | Serious Eats Cocktail History in America: The Age of Entertaining (1933-1980s) | Virginia Tech Cocktail Party Hosting Tips, Food and Drink Menu Ideas | The Spruce Eats
READ THE STORY

HOW TO STORE BOURBON: A COMPLETE GUIDE

Every bourbon lover knows that there is no such thing as too many bottles in your home bar. Each bottle of bourbon brings its distiller's unique take on an American classic, revealing flavors, notes, and depths that are hard to beat. However, there is one problem that arises when you’ve got a bourbon collection: How are you supposed to store it all?  You can leave your bottles lying around, but that’s just not always the smartest move—- especially if you want your bourbon to retain its flavor as you’re storing it. We’re here to help you take the guesswork out of storing your bourbon collection. Here is Oak and Eden’s complete guide to storing bourbon at home. Why Store Bourbon Properly? Before we dive into the best practices for storing your whisky properly, you may be wondering what the big deal is about storing your bourbon anyway. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Well as it turns out, there are some less-than-ideal consequences. When your bourbon is stored improperly, you can damage the flavors and tasting notes that the distiller worked so carefully to impart to the drink. It will decrease the shelf-life of your whiskey, can make your bourbon harsher, release unpleasant flavors, and ruin a bottle of whiskey before you even get the chance to open it.  Whether you have open bottles that you want to preserve as long as possible or special bottles you are saving for a day in the future, storing your bourbon properly is the only way to guarantee a delicious product when you pour yourself a drink. What Are Bourbon Storage Best Practices for Opened Bottles?  Now, let’s get into the main event: storage best practices. First, you need to know what to do with your opened bottles sitting around on your shelf. #1) Store Them Away From Light The first practice to follow when storing your open bottles of bourbon is to store them away from light, especially direct sunlight. In fact, according to some whiskey connoisseurs, direct sunlight is the only factor that can ruin a bottle of whiskey. This is because of the sun's UV rays, the same rays that are responsible for causing sunburn and skin cancer in humans. These UV rays cause a chemical reaction in your whiskey which can lead to the color washing out, the flavors diminishing, and stripping the whiskey of the notes and depth that took years to develop.  While you don’t have to store open bottles in a dark cavern or in a cupboard (although those are both fine ideas), you should do your best to make sure your bar or wherever they are stored is not getting direct sunlight. #2) Limit Oxygen Exposure As soon as you open a bottle of bourbon (or any other type of whiskey or alcohol for that matter), you’ve started the ticking clock towards expiration. A big culprit of this is exposure to oxygen. When your bourbon is exposed to the oxygen in the air, it will quickly begin the process of oxidation, causing unpleasant changes to your whiskey over time. There are three things that you can do to limit the oxygen exposure that any open bottles of bourbon get: Limit the Number of Open Bottles: By limiting the number of open bottles you have, you decrease the amount of whiskey actively oxidizing. Try limiting yourself to two open bottles of bourbon at a time to keep your whiskey fresh and help it reach its full shelf-life. Keep Bottles Sealed: You must make sure you put the cap or cork back on your bottle every time you pour. While brief periods of time with the cap off will not impact your whiskey too much, leaving the cap off for days, weeks, or months is a surefire way to oxidize a bourbon. Pour Into Smaller Bottles: The final tip that you can use to limit your bourbon's oxygen exposure is to pour them into smaller bottles. As you drink your whiskey, the headspace (AKA, room for air in the bottle) increases. By continuing to pour your bottles into smaller vessels with less headroom you can get more life out of your whiskey.  #3) Store Bottles Upright While wine is typically stored horizontally to keep the cork moist to prevent degradation, bourbon’s higher alcohol contact will actually cause the cork to degrade faster if it is in constant contact with the liquid. Keep your bottles upright to avoid issues.  #4) Maintain Consistent Temperature The final piece of advice for your open bottles of whiskey is to maintain the temperature in your storage area. Keeping your whisky between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal range that will maintain the flavors of the whiskey over time. What Are Bourbon Storage Best Practices for Unopened Bottles? While the basic rules of bourbon storage still apply to unopened bottles (no sunlight, limit oxygen, store standing upright, consistent temperature), there are also some other options for the unopened, full, and sealed bottles in your collection. Create a Display If you have an extensive collection of bourbon whiskey or other kinds of whiskey, you may want to show it off. Having a display cabinet of some sort or even setting up a display at your home bar can let you show the world your love for bourbon while also keeping your bourbon in perfect condition.  If you are going to use lighting in your bar or storage display make sure you are using museum-grade lighting which won’t expose the liquid to UV rays or raise the temperature to an unsafe degree.  Keep in mind that bottles on display will collect dust, so you’ll need to clean them regularly and rotate them to prevent buildup.  Long-Term Storage For your special bottles of bourbon — the ones that you are hanging on to for the long haul — you may want to find a more permanent storage solution that will preserve the bottle exactly as it was meant to be drank.  If you have a safe or vault, then you may want to store your expensive bourbons there. Not only will your vault or safe provide a dark place to store your bourbons, but it’s also a secure place to protect these valuable bourbons. As any serious collector of bourbon can tell you, the most expensive bottles in a collection can easily total into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also be sure that you are storing your nice and unopened bourbon whiskey carefully to prevent damaging or tearing the labels, bottles, caps, boxes, or sleeves they came in. Just like any other collector, keeping your collection in mint condition is critical for preserving its value. Use Off-Site Storage If you don’t have a safe or vault, you don’t have the space for your collection at home, or you’re unable to provide a safe storage environment for your bourbon at home, then commercial and off-site storage services may be a wise option for you. Make sure you are choosing off-site storage that is secure and temperature regulated to prevent spoiling your special bottles while they sit. Of course, you will also have to keep a close eye on your inventory and the security of the facility. It is smart to check in every month or two to check your bottles in storage and keep a tight inventory so that missing bottles can be reported.  What Should I Do With Nearly-Empty Bottles? While these storage tips can help you avoid wasting whiskey in the future, if you’ve already got open bottles that have been sitting around in less than ideal storage conditions (or lots of bottles near empty and no idea what to do with them), we’ve got some ideas for you, too. If your whiskey is starting to go bad, the best solution is to finish the bottle quickly before it gets too bad. As long as you kill a bottle of whiskey that you open within about six months from opening you can be sure you’re going to get good flavor.  Consider hosting a dregs party, where you invite your guests to bring their nearly empty bottles to the party and you make the most of what you have to get rid of your scraps. This is particularly smart if you have a lot of open bottles that you can’t get through on your own. Another fun option you can try is mixing the dramas of all your open bourbon bottles in a mason jar, decanter, or empty bottle. You should let the different bourbons meld and blend for a few weeks before tasting, and you can keep mixing and blending until you’re happy with your mixture.  Alternatively, you can keep adding the drams of future bottles as you slowly go through the drams to create an ever-evolving, home blend that is unique every time you drink it.  Basically, whatever you can do to not waste your bourbon whiskey is what you should be doing. Whiskey — even bad whiskey — is too good to let it go to waste. Takeaways  Your bourbon is a precious commodity. You have to store it properly in order to preserve its freshness, flavor, and quality. Be sure you are keeping all bottles of bourbon away from direct sunlight, where UV rays can cause chemical changes that diminish the flavor of your whiskey. Also be sure to keep bottles sealed when not in use, and limit their oxygen exposure to decrease oxidation. Store bourbon in the upright position to keep the cork stopper from deteriorating due to the hinge alcohol content of whiskey. And of course, try to keep the temperature in a consistent range between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  When storing your unopened collectible bottles, show them off with a display case or shelf — just be sure to follow all the same rules you would for unopened bottles.  If you are looking for some great whiskeys and bourbons to add to your collection you should take a look at our offerings at Oak & Eden. All of our whiskeys use our special in-bottle finishing technique, which adds more notes to our whiskeys and bourbons while they are resting in the bottle.  With these tips, you can keep your bourbon collection in pristine condition, and enjoy your bottles down to the very last drop.    Sources How Best to Store Your Whisky | Whisky Analysis Whisky oxidation | Alcademics How to Store Whiskey At Home: Things To Know (2022) | Liquor Laboratory
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS THE BEST WHISKEY? 5 ONES YOU MUST TRY

There are many things that are special about whiskey. But what we love the most here at Oak & Eden is how each whiskey is unique from all others. Whether it is a different region, different style, or just a different barrel of single malt, each whiskey brings its own unique flavors and tastes to the table. Since there are so many options, it is important to taste a variety of different whiskies. It is the only way to develop your palate, learn what you like and don’t like, and find the best whiskies out there in the world. Whether you’re a fan of the old fashioned or you like to sip your whiskey straight, there’s something for everyone.  But if you don’t have the time to taste all the different kinds of whiskey from all the different distillers in the world, don’t worry, we have you covered. We’ve compiled our list of must try whiskies, covering the gamut of styles and flavors, so that you can get a taste of what different styles of whiskey have to offer. Here is your guide to finding the best whiskey for you, and the whiskies that you must try to develop your palate. What Gives Whiskey Its Flavor? The deep, complex flavor profile that you’ve come to expect from whiskey is, perhaps surprisingly, largely thanks to the wood casks in which it’s aged. Before entering the barrels, whiskey is a clear, sharp liquor, but spending time in the wood softens it and allows it to develop all those notes that whiskey is known for — flavors of vanilla, caramel, smoke, or even leather.  Those casks also give distillers the option of adding a little extra flavor by using vessels that once held something else. For example, if you want to give whiskey a fruity flavor, you can age it in former sherry casks. If you choose charred oak casks, the finished product is likely to taste smokier and richer. The aging process is really where you have the opportunity to play.  So, beginner whiskey drinkers should know that when they don’t like the taste of a specific whiskey, it’s likely that they don’t like the characteristics of the wood in which it was aged. Luckily, you have many options to choose from, so you’re sure to find something you enjoy at any price point.  How To Taste Whiskey Before we can get into the best whiskeys that you must try, we feel it would be a disservice to leave you without any idea of how to taste your whiskey like a pro. While tasting technique is not one of the most important things about enjoying whiskey, it can help you identify flavor notes and elements that you might miss otherwise. Step One: Observe the Whiskey The first step to tasting your whiskey is to observe it. But before you can observe you have to put it in the right glass. While the Glencairn style glass, with the bulbous bottom and tapered lip, is the ideal glass for a whiskey tasting, using a rocks glass is going to be fine as well. Then you should start by looking at your whiskey in your glass. For this reason it is important that you use a clear glass to taste your whiskey. The color of your whiskey comes from the aging process, which is also where the flavor of whiskey is derived. The darker the color of a whiskey, the heavier and more robust you can expect the flavors and aromas to be. Step Two: Smell Your Whiskey Before you can taste your whiskey, you should smell it first. Aroma and smell makes up a good portion of your sense of taste, so allowing the scents of the whiskey to wash over your nose before drinking can prepare your taste buds to taste the whole whiskey. You should do this by gently placing your nose near the opening of your glass and gently inhaling through your nose. Taking a large wiff right from the glass will give you a big inhale of alcohol vapor, which will fry your olfactory sense and leave you feeling… well… not great. You should also avoid swirling your whiskey like a wine before smelling. Yes, swirling the beverage will release the aroma, but it also releases more alcohol vapors, which is why it is okay for lower ABV drinks like wine and less smart with hard liquors like whiskey. Step Three: Sip Your Whiskey The final and everyone's favorite step of tasting your whiskey is to sip it gently and small. Remember that, while whiskey is delicious and fun to drink, there is a difference between tasting your whiskey and downing your whiskey. Start by taking a very small sip and holding it in your mouth for a bit before swallowing to allow the flavor to hang around on your tongue for a bit. As you keep sipping you can slowly increase your sip size as your tongue and mouth adjust to the alcohol content.  Whiskey Tasting Pro Tips Before we dive into the delicious whiskies that you have to taste at some point to truly taste all that whiskey has to offer, we want to give you a few final expert tips to taste your whiskey like a pro. Do Not Sip Water After Your Whiskey - While water can be a good choice to cleanse your palate in between whiskies, you don’t want to sip water in between sips of the same whiskey. The finish, or aftertaste, of the whiskey is one of the crucial elements of the flavor. Allowing each sip to build on the next will allow you to continue tasting subtle flavors and experience the full finish of the whiskey that you are sipping on. Add a Bit of Ice or Water - Another tip that can help you experience everything in a whiskey is adding just a touch of water or a cube of ice to your glass. This will gently dilute the whiskey, decreasing the ABV without significantly altering the other flavor elements of your whiskey. With a lower ABV, your tongue will be better able to identify very subtle notes and elements of the whiskey. Chew Your Whiskey - The final tip is one that you can take or leave depending on how seriously you take your whiskey tasting. If you really want to get all the flavor from your whiskey, you can swirl it around your mouth, and “chew” the whiskey so that it coats every surface of your mouth. Different parts of your mouth taste different elements of flavor, so coating your whole mouth can bring out new and interesting things.  If you follow these tips, and the steps above, then you are ready to taste whiskey with the experts of the world. 5 Must Try Types of Whiskey Now we are finally ready to dive into our list of 5 of must try types of whiskey. Rather than taking the approach of telling you an exact whiskey brand to search for, we are instead just going to delineate the major types of whiskey that you have to try in order to experience the many different flavors of whiskey. Without further ado, here is our list of 5 must try whiskeys. #1 Bourbon Whiskey The first type of whiskey that you must try is bourbon whiskey. This option comes from close to home, and it’s close to our hearts. Bourbon whiskey must be made in the United States, with a majority of bourbon being produced in the state of Kentucky. Bourbon whiskey is made with a mash bill of at least 51% corn, and must be aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years. This American whiskey is notorious for its vanilla and caramel flavor notes. The best bourbon is a gently sweet, warm, and delectable spirit that tastes great on the rocks or in your favorite whiskey cocktails and mixed drinks. We offer a great bourbon whiskey at Oak & Eden which you can read more about here. #2 Scotch Whisky Now we are going to hop across the pond to the United Kingdom for our next must try type of whisky. You may have noticed we are spelling whisky without the “e” in this section, because that’s the way the Scots do it.  Scotch whiskey must be made and aged in Scotland, and many Scottish people claim that Scotland is where whiskey was invented, although the Irish would beg to differ. Scotch whiskey is traditionally made with malted barley, and must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years before bottling. There are several regions known for their whisky distilleries, including Islay, Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, and Campbelton.  Scotch whiskey is a much more aggressive flavor than bourbon, with a famous smoky, peaty flavor profile and spice. The best Scotch whiskey is also known for its malted flavor, a side effect of the use of malted barley in the mash bill. Johnnie Walker is one well-known brand of Scotch, as are Laphroaig and Macallan.  #3 Rye Whiskey Rye whiskey does not have a regional specification as to where it can be made, which is why you find rye whiskies made all over, but mostly still in the United States and Canada.  Rye whiskey must be made with a mash bill containing at least 51% rye, with the other 49% coming from a combination of other grains. Rye whiskey, like bourbon, must also be aged in new oak barrels for a minimum of two years, but only if produced in the United States. Rye whiskey packs a bigger and bolder taste than bourbon whiskey while still staying away from the smokey elements that Scotch is known for. The best rye whiskey is spicy, smooth, and round, with a bit of a bite and the same smooth bourbon finish. Wild Turkey is one notable brand.  #4 Irish Whiskey If we were going to put Scotch on the list then you know we had to put Irish whiskey up here too. Whether whiskey was invented in Ireland or Scotland, we may never know, but what we do know is that both are delicious. Irish whiskey must be made in Ireland using grains that are commonly found in Ireland. Irish whiskey is most typically made using unmalted barley, and is dried without exposure to smoke. Irish whiskey must also be aged for a minimum of three years before it can be bottled and consumed. The best Irish whiskey is a much lighter, fruitier, and mellower type of whiskey than Scotch and most other types of whiskey. The barrel aging still gives Irish whiskey a caramel and vanilla/oak finish, potentially with notes of dried fruit, making irish whiskey a very pleasant whiskey to drink straight or on the rocks. Jameson is one very popular brand.  #5 Wheat Whiskey And the last inclusion on our list is one that you likely don’t encounter every day, but should be a whiskey that you try at least once in your lifetime. Wheat whiskey can be made anywhere in the world but is most commonly made in the United States. Wheat whiskey must be made with at least 51% wheat in the mash bill, but some master distillers choose to use 100% wheat in their wheat whiskey mash bills. Easier to find is wheated bourbon, which replaces the rye in a traditional bourbon, which mellows and sweetens the flavor. Wheat whiskies are generally very mild and pleasant sippers. You can really taste the cereal grains in a wheat whiskey or wheated bourbon in a way that can change the way you think about whiskey. Maker’s Mark is one potential option.  The Best Whiskey: Honorable Mentions While the whiskeys listed above are iconic, but they’re nowhere near the only options on the market. If they’re not satisfied with the options above, whiskey lovers should consider trying one of these whiskey:  Japanese whisky. Options from Japan tend to be very similar to Scotch, and Suntory is a popular option. Tennessee whiskey. Tennessee whiskey, like Jack Daniels, is charcoal filtered.  Canadian whisky. This whisky tends to be both light and sweet.  What Is The Best Whiskey: Takeaways There are few things as fun as tasting and trying different kinds of whiskey. And now you know all the techniques you need to taste your whiskey properly, and the 5 types of whiskey that you must try. Make sure to observe, sniff, sip, and savor your whiskey when you are tasting it to allow the flavors to wash over you. Feel free to dilute or chew on your whiskey in your mouth to increase the flavor perception, but do yourself a favor and avoid swirling your glass before smelling. So what truly is the best whiskey? Well the answer is simple - whatever whiskey you like the best. At the end of the day, whiskey is about enjoying your favorite liquor the way that makes you the happiest. Oak & Eden offers a variety of expertly crafted whiskies, including bourbon, rye, and wheated bourbons that you are bound to love. Check out our selections here.    Sources: Wheat Whiskey & Wheated Bourbon Explained | Distiller What Is Irish Whiskey? | The Spruce Eats What is Scotch Whisky? | World Whisky Day The Serious Eats Guide to Rye Whiskey | Serious Eats
READ THE STORY

HOW LONG DOES WHISKEY LAST? WHAT TO KNOW

If you are as big of a fan of whiskey as we are, you probably have a wide variety of bottles of whiskey to choose from at your home bar. Different whiskeys are appropriate for different situations, and having a choice is fun. The downside is that you probably have bottles of whiskey on your bar that have been open for… well… longer than you would like to admit. We know we do. This may have you wondering: Is this whiskey still good? Does whiskey expire or go bad? What happens to whiskey when it sits open? How long does whiskey last? Will my special, unopened bottles go bad if I don't drink them? The questions are nearly limitless. The answers might surprise you. We did our research to figure out the answers to these questions (and more), so you have everything you need to know about this spirit. Here are the must-knows about the shelf life of whiskey. What Is Whiskey? To understand how long whiskey lasts, we need to know what it is. Whiskey is one of the five major types of liquor — the others are vodka, gin, tequila, and rum. It is typically amber to copper brown in color and is typically made from distilled cereal grains, like rye, wheat, barley, and corn.  Whiskey is hard liquor, meaning any whiskey is at least 40% ABV or alcohol by volume. Whiskey is also typically aged in wooden barrels, sometimes for years, before being bottled and sold or consumed.  Those barrels are what give whiskey its flavor. This is why moonshine and vodka are clear, and whiskey is darker in color. The wood the whiskey is aged in imparts colors and flavors into the liquid.  Every whiskey has its own unique flavor notes, but most whiskeys will have flavors that fall into the following categories: Nutty Spicy Warm Caramelly Woodsy Whiskey can be sipped straight, on the rocks, or in any number of cocktails, making it a very versatile drink. Does Whiskey Go Bad? So does whiskey go bad? The short answer is: it depends.  An unopened bottle of whiskey can last forever without going bad. As long as the bottle remains sealed and it remains stored in proper conditions, any special bottles you have will last for decades. But once you open the bottle, the clock starts ticking. An opened bottle of whiskey will last as long as two years or go bad in as few as six months, depending on a few factors. What Makes Whiskey Go Bad? Whiskey goes bad for the same reason that all alcoholic beverages go bad over time. Factors like exposure to air, sunlight, and extreme temperature can alter the flavor and alcohol content of the liquor, making the spirit unsafe to drink. How Does Light Impact Whiskey’s Shelf Life? Light impacts the shelf life of whiskey and all liquors. Direct sunlight exposes the alcohol to UV rays, the same kind of sun rays that give you sunburns, which can cause the alcohol to lose color.  This is why whiskey bottles, and many other alcohol bottles, are typically brown or green — to help block some of the UV rays from reaching the liquid. However, the best protection is to keep your bottles stored somewhere completely out of direct sunlight, like a cupboard or shelf.  How Does Temperature Impact Whiskey Shelf Life? Once you deal with light, you should know that temperature plays an important role in the shelf life of whiskey too. Whiskey contains something called terpenes, which are chemical compounds responsible for the scents and flavors in whiskey and other foods, drinks, and perfumes.  Temperature changes to the alcohol will alter these compounds and degrade them, altering their flavors, weakening or changing them. This can render some bottles undrinkable if enough unsavory alterations occur. Storing your alcohol at a relatively consistent temperature, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, is ideal. A cellar or basement is a good storage place for bottles you are keeping for a long time, as long as it is well insulated against temperature swings.  How Does Oxidation Impact Whiskey’s Shelf Life? The final key to understanding how long whiskey lasts is the largest factor in determining the shelf life of your whiskey: oxidization.  A sealed bottle of whiskey stays good indefinitely because there is no or virtually no alcohol exposure in the bottle. As soon as you open it, the seal is no longer airtight. As you pour more out of the bottle, there is room for more oxygen in the bottle. This means that the oxidization rate increases over time as the volume of the bottle changes.  This means that as soon as you open a bottle of whiskey, it will start to go bad. The speed at which it goes bad increases as you continue to drink more of the bottle. How Long Do I Have To Drink an Open Bottle of Whiskey? Once you open a bottle of whiskey, the clock starts ticking. But how long exactly do you have to get the best flavors out of your whiskey? If you store your bottle in the best possible storage conditions, it may last as long as two years from opening or one year in less ideal conditions. However, this is only if the bottle is at least halfway full. Once you cross the quarter half-full mark or less, you can only get as much as six months out of a whiskey.  These are, of course, estimates. Depending on storage and air exposure quality, these numbers may go up or down. How Does Aging Alcohol Work? You’ve probably been wondering for a bit now what is different about aging alcohol before bottling compared to letting a bottle of alcohol sit unopened or opened on a shelf in a bottle. Why does one go bad while the other seemingly gets better with age? While the whiskey is in wooden barrels, it is sealed to prevent oxidation which is the main mover of decay in whiskey’s flavors and compounds. As such, the aging process allows the whiskey to take on new flavors in the wooden barrel without going bad. We use the same idea for our finishing process but take it a step further. Here at Oak & Eden, each bottle of whiskey is equipped with a spire, a spiral-cut piece of wood that sits in a whiskey bottle and continues the finishing process even after the whiskey leaves the barrel. This gives you control over exactly how long you’d like your whiskey to age.  Tips To Store Whiskey in the Best Conditions If you store whiskey in ideal storage conditions, you can get a sealed bottle to last just about forever. You can give your bottles the best chance to stay fresh by following these few tips for proper storage conditions. Store Your Whiskey Out of Sunlight The first key to keeping your whiskey fresh and flavorful while storing it is to keep it out of direct sunlight, where UV rays can degrade the colors and flavors. Place your bottles in an area of the home that does not get direct sunlight and, if possible, in a dark cupboard. If you have any whiskeys that came in a box or bottle sleeve, it is there to protect them from sunlight. Store these whiskeys in those containers when they are not being poured to protect them from sunlight.  Store Your Whiskey Somewhere With a Consistent Temperature The next thing you can do to keep your whiskey as fresh as possible is to keep your whiskey in a temperature-controlled location. Temperature changes can cause the whiskey to lose its terpene flavor compounds and alter the flavor in less-than-palatable ways.  Try storing your bottles in a cupboard during hot days as the temperature tends to stay a little cooler. Keep long time saver bottles in a basement or cellar space to avoid temperature changes. Store Your Whiskey Bottles in a Cellar or Wine Fridge Our final tip to help you keep your whiskey good for as long as possible is to put your whiskey in a cellar or wine fridge. While the upfront cost of a dedicated cellar room or wine fridge is high, keeping a bottle fresh for years to come is worth it. A cellar or wine fridge will be a temperature, humidity, and sunlight-controlled area. This keeps the environment as consistent as possible to prevent damage to the whiskey. So, How Long Does Whiskey Last? While whiskey doesn’t necessarily expire, it does start to lose flavor and elements after it is opened. An unopened bottle of whiskey will last indefinitely if stored in proper condition. After opening a bottle of whiskey, you have as long as two years or as few as six months or less to drink it before it goes bad. To store your whiskey most effectively, keep it out of direct sunlight, avoid massive temperature swings, and keep it sealed airtight when drinking. Keeping whiskey for the long haul only takes a little effort, but it’s worth it to protect your favorite spirit.    Sources: The Oxidation of Alcohols | Chemistry Views What Is Whiskey? | The Spruce Eats  How to Properly Store Alcohol at Home | Insider 
READ THE STORY

WHEN WAS WHISKEY INVENTED? A BRIEF HISTORY

  Whiskey can be found in bars around the globe, and varieties of whiskey are made in dozens of countries, each with its own unique style. Some whiskies are uniquely American, others Irish, more yet Scottish, or even Japanese.  With such a globally recognized spirit, it can be difficult to understand where whiskey got its start. Whiskey has been around for a long time and has spread across the globe to where it is today. The history of whiskey is an interesting look at how technology and local tastes combine to create different styles that are unique to each region — all just as delicious as the next. Here is a brief history of whiskey, starting when it was first invented to the world of whiskey today.  The Invention of Distillation In order to cover the history of whiskey around the world, we need to start where it all began: the art of distillation. Distillation has been in practice since the 2000s BC, when people in Mesopotamia were using the technique to produce stronger aromatics and perfumes.  The first written record of distillation that we currently know of takes us 2000 years into the future to the first century AD. These first accounts of distillation come from the Greeks and describe how distillation was used to turn seawater into potable drinking water. The Spread of Distillation Through Europe The process of distillation continued to spread west throughout Europe, where the process was used by many to produce medicinal products and ceremonial ingredients. Distillation continued to spread throughout the first millennium AD, gaining popularity and becoming more effective with advancements. Distillation was used throughout the world during this time and was likely used to produce alcoholic beverages for a long time before we have real documentation of it happening.  Eventually, the techniques of distillation spread their way north into Scotland and Ireland, both of which lay claim to the title of the inventors of whiskey. While other Europeans were using wine as the beverage to distill into a spirit, the Scots and Irish, lacking access to grapes, turned to fermenting grains to produce an alcoholic beverage to distill.  This led to the production of aqua vitae, Latin for “water of life,” a name that was used for any distilled alcoholic beverage back then. In Gaelic, a Celtic dialect, it was called uisge beatha. These Scottish and Irish aqua vitae are the first examples we have of a modern whiskey-like beverage. The Coining of the Term Whiskey The first time we see an aqua vitae referred to by the term “whiskey” takes us all the way to 1405 in Ireland. The Annals of Clonmacnoise, an ancient Irish book of history, refers to a clan member dying from “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae (whiskey).” As the 1400s continued in Ireland and Scotland, whisky production was in full swing and was being bought, sold, and consumed regularly. In fact, there are a few pieces of written evidence showing that kings were often involved in granting supplies to monks for the distillation of whiskey. We know for sure that distillation existed in Scotland by 1494, as King James IV is recorded to have given Friar John Cor a large amount of malt, according to the Exchequer Rolls. Whiskey Spreads to the Americas As European settlers and colonists continued to flow across the Atlantic ocean towards the Americas in the early 1600s, the Irish and Scots among them brought their knowledge of whiskey distillation with them to their new home.  Around this time, the first-ever licensed whiskey distillery made its debut. In 1608, the Old Bushmills Distillery was licensed in Northern Ireland, making it the world's very first official whiskey distillery.  Meanwhile, back across the continent, whiskey was gaining popularity in the new American colonies, where the production and consumption of whiskey continued to grow. In fact, whiskey became so popular in the United States that many distillers used whiskey as a form of currency during the American Revolution. Even George Washington himself was a whiskey distiller, distilling as much as 300,000 barrels of rye whiskey per year at his Mt. Vernon plantation. Whiskey in The United States and Canada After the Revolutionary War concluded, whiskey continued to play an important role in American history and politics. The first official commercial distillery in the United States was constructed in Louisville, Kentucky, by Evan Williams, whose whiskey is still widely available today. After the revolutionary war, a whiskey tax was levied by the newly formed American government to help pay back some of its war debts. This tax was met with disdain and outrage from Americans, particularly farming populations who had grown used to fermenting and distilling their unused grains to make grain mash. This whiskey tax led to what is widely known as the Whiskey Rebellion in the 18th century. A group of six hundred armed men attacked the home of a tax inspector to prevent the collection of the whiskey tax. President George Washington eventually sent a militia of 13,000 to quell the rebellion in Pennsylvania.  While the rebellion may have ended, the whiskey tax was still a major pain for farmers. It was a key player in the election of Thomas Jefferson, who repealed the tax shortly after ascending to the presidency. The moral of the story: Don’t mess with an American’s whiskey. The Legalizing of Distillation in the United Kingdom It may sound shocking to hear, but up until 1823, the distillation of whiskey in Scotland and Ireland was illegal. This meant much Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey production took place during the night to avoid law enforcement, which gave us the term “moonshine.” Shortly after the legalization of distilleries in the United Kingdom, more improvements in distillation came about. This included the Coffey still, or the column still, which is still used to produce most American whiskey today. This was considered a superior method to the pot stills that had been used up until this point, although both are still popular today.  Prohibition Era United States From 1920 to 1933, the United States passed an amendment to the constitution that made the production, sale, and use of alcohol and alcoholic beverages illegal. This devastated the whiskey market in the United States, but there was one exception. The government made an exception for doctor-prescribed medicinal whiskey, which could only be procured from a pharmacy. This played a role in the massive growth of pharmacy chain Walgreen’s expansion, growing from only 20 stores to 400 during this 13-year period.  The Advent of Japanese Whiskey While Japanese soju and sake distillers had likely been making their own version of whiskey since the mid to late 1800s, the real advent of Japanese whiskey didn’t come about until the early 1900s. The “Father of Japanese Whiskey,” Masataka Taketsuru, fell in love with and studied closely the production of Scotch in Scotland (which, as a side note, has five main distinctions: Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside, and Campbeltown). He then returned to Japan with the love and knowledge of whiskey deeply ingrained in his being. He founded the Nikka Whisky company in 1943, which is still one of the most awarded Japanese whisky distilleries. Before founding Nikka, Taketsuru worked at the Suntory distillery, founded in 1923. Suntory is the other most popular and awarded brand of Japanese whisky. Together Nikka and Suntory have grown a diehard whisky fanbase in Japan and have brought new flavors and tastes to the whiskey world at large. The Global Boom of American Whiskey Today, you can find American-made bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, and rye whiskey in bars across the globe, but this was not only the case. The boom of American-made whiskeys didn’t start until the 1960s, when the U.S. government officially labeled bourbon as the official distilled spirit of the United States. This led to booming sales and production as certain types of whiskey from the Americas became more popular throughout the following decades. Rye whiskey, too, has continued to grow in popularity, especially in the last two decades, where year after year, rye consumption has continued to rise since 2005. Canadian whisky has also become popular. Modern Advancements in Whiskey Making And that takes us up to where we are today. Several advancements are taking the whiskey world by storm and changing how we think of our favorite alcoholic beverage. All whiskey must be aged in wooden casks, but we take it a step further.  Oak & Eden’s approach to bringing new technology to whiskey making is our patented in-bottle finishing technique. After finishing our whiskey in a new oak barrel before bottling, we craft our wooden spires to place in-bottle, which finish your whiskey while resting in the bottle. Our spires are spiral-cut pieces of wood that have been chosen carefully to complement each of our blends of whiskey for the ultimate flavor profile. In-bottle finishing is what gives Oak & Eden whiskey its creamy, smooth texture and incomparable flavors. A Brief History of Whiskey: In Summary The history of whiskey is a long and wild ride through science, technology, religion, politics, and cultures. Altogether, the history of whiskey makes the flavors of each sip sing more true. While distillation processes have been used around the globe for centuries, the first distillation of whiskey as we know it today took place in Scotland or Ireland in the early 1000s AD. From there, whiskey production grew in popularity, spreading to the Americas with European colonists. Whiskey then continued to play an important role in American political life through the whiskey tax, prohibition, and eventually the naming of bourbon, which is mostly corn whiskey, as the official distilled spirit of the United States. Japanese whisky came about in the 1900s, based on the methods of Scotch production and refined for Japanese tastes at the Nikka and Suntory distilleries, both still producing award-winning whiskeys today. That brings us to today, where advancements in whiskey-making are still being made. Consider trying a bottle of our Oak & Eden bourbon, rye, or wheat whiskey to taste the difference that our in-bottle finishing process makes.    Sources:  Japanese Whisky: The Origin Story | Whiskey Culture Coffey still | Whisky Advocate What is Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? | BourbonCountry.com
READ THE STORY

WHAT DOES BOURBON TASTE LIKE?

What is your go-to drink at the bar? Do you reach immediately for a beer? Or are you always down for a glass of red wine? Or maybe you choose something classic like a Martini? Whatever your go-to is, a pretty small percentage of people choose bourbon, even though this drink is complex and delicious.  Those who have never tried bourbon before might be a bit nervous that they won’t enjoy it. But bourbon is no more offensive than any other spirit; in fact, it packs even more flavor into a small serving than many other drinks. But what does bourbon taste like, exactly? Here is a quick overview for new drinkers of bourbon to understand what bourbon tastes like before diving in headfirst. What Is Bourbon? Before we get too deep into the flavors of a good bourbon whiskey (and believe us, there are some deep flavors in good bourbon), it will help to understand what exactly bourbon is.  Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey made in the United States. It was originally produced in Bourbon County, Kentucky, though now it can be made anywhere in the U.S.   Bourbon is hard liquor, meaning it has an ABV of at least 40% at bottling. Bourbon is made from a mixture of corn, wheat, barley, and rye but must contain at least 51% corn.  Bourbon is also an aged spirit and must be aged for at least two years in new American charred oak barrels before bottling. This liquor is also caramel brown in color and can be anywhere from light amber to dark oaky brown. What Are The Legal Requirements To Be A Bourbon? The explanation can get a little confusing, so we wanted to give you a breakdown of the requirements of bourbon whiskey. Made in the United States: The first legal requirement for bourbon is that it must be made in the United States. To be a Kentucky bourbon, it must be made in Kentucky 51% Corn Mash Bill: All bourbon whiskies are made with a mash bill of 51% corn or more, with the rest made of a combination of wheat, barley, and rye.  Aged for 2 Years in New Charred American Oak Barrels: All bourbons are aged for a minimum of two years in new wooden barrels made from American oak.  Minimum 40% ABV: All bourbons must be bottled at no less than 40% ABV. What Does Bourbon Taste Like Now that you know the basic things that make a bourbon a bourbon, we can dive into the taste factors. Bourbon has many different flavor components, and these vary between distillers and different recipes. However, there are a few consistent characteristics you can expect from bourbon. The most common notes in bourbon are caramel, vanilla, and oak. Surprisingly, whiskey is actually one of the more “sweet” tasting liquors, despite not containing added sugars.  How Does Bourbon Get Its Flavor? Bourbon, like other spirits like vodka, is a distilled beverage, so why does one have so many flavor notes, and the other is considered “neutral”?  It all comes down to two crucial elements — the mash and the aging process. How Does Mash Impact Bourbon Flavor? The first major component that impacts bourbon flavor is the mash bill. The mash bill denotes what percentage of different grains are fermented together to make the whiskey. The mash bill is the main element of the bourbon, and just like different grapes can influence the flavors of wine, the different mash bill combinations can impact the bourbon’s flavor for a bolder or sweeter taste. These combinations are limited because all bourbons must use a mash bill of at least 51% corn to still be considered a bourbon. This means that corn, with its sweet, mellow, and light flavor profile, is always the main ingredient.  Distillers do get some room to play with flavor in the mash bill, as the other 49% is unregulated. Distillers can use any amount of corn, wheat, rye, or barley to make up the rest of the mash. Depending on which are used, the bourbon can become more spicy,  earthy, malty, sweet, or mellow. How Does Aging Impact Bourbon Flavor? The other aspect of making bourbon that impacts flavor is the aging process. All bourbons must be aged for at least two years in freshly charred oak barrels. Whiskey, or any other spirit, starts out clear. This aging process is where most of the flavor and all of the color of the liquor comes from. This is why vodka, which is unaged, is clear, while whiskey is dark. Other spirits, such as tequila, can range from clear to brown depending on the length of aging. But how exactly does aging whiskey in a barrel give it color and flavor? Wood expands and contracts with the environmental changes in temperature and humidity. Over the next two years, the wooden barrel ends up breathing the whiskey in and out, imbuing it with the flavors and colors present in the wood. This makes the whiskey darker and can give it notes of vanilla,  While bourbon must be aged in oak for two years, you still get variation between distillers depending on where they source their oak from and the level of fire they expose their barrels to. What Is Finished Whiskey? We know what you are thinking: are there any other ways to impact the flavor of whiskey before it gets bottled? The answer is a resounding yes. Finished whiskey is whiskey that has been aged a second time in another barrel after the American oak barrel. This imparts more flavor notes to the whiskey, such as vanilla, honey, tobacco, or fruit. At Oak & Eden, we have pioneered a new way to finish whiskey — not in a second barrel, but in the bottle. We use our patented spires, spiral-cut pieces of wood that have been carefully selected and toasted, to add the maximal flavor notes to our whiskey blends.  Our Oak & Eden Bourbon Whiskey contains an American oak spire, charred to a medium toast level to bring in the perfect layering of vanilla and caramel while your whiskey sits in its bottle. What Goes Well With Bourbon? Now that you know the basic flavors of bourbon, it’s time you take a sip and mix your own bourbon cocktails. The good news is that many things go well with bourbon whiskey. The Whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that combines bourbon whiskey with lemon juice, simple syrup, and sometimes an egg white for added froth. Enjoy it freshly shaken and poured over ice for a twist of sweet and sour. The vanilla and caramel notes of the whiskey mix nicely with the citrus to give you the perfect sipper. Whiskey is also known to go well in simple mixers like sodas, particularly cola. In fact, whiskey and Coke is an incredibly popular choice at most bars, as is the whiskey and ginger ale. Make one for your own with Oak & Eden’s Bourbon & Spire for a deeply satisfying and smooth drink with sweet, tangy notes. The Taste of Bourbon: Takeaways Trying bourbon for the first time can be a bit scary, but it’s also exciting. Enjoying this spirit can open up a whole new world of flavors to you, and bourbon has one of the most approachable flavor profiles of any hard liquor. Bourbon tastes strongly of vanilla, caramel, and oak, and depending on what option you choose, you’ll find that some flavor notes are stronger than others. These flavors are imparted through the mash bill and the aging process of the whiskey, with different practices resulting in slightly different and varied flavors. These flavors are a great compliment to many other flavors, including citrus and dark sodas. But you can also enjoy bourbon whiskey straight or in a simple Old Fashioned. If you are looking for a great bourbon to try, our Oak & Eden Bourbon Whiskey is one of the best, with each unique bottle finishing giving additional flavors and nuance to every bottle. Give it a try, and you won't be disappointed.   Sources: What a Whiskey's Age Statement Really Means | Men's Journal What Is Whiskey? | The Spruce Eats What is bourbon? And how is it different from other whiskies? | World Whisky Day
READ THE STORY

RYE WHISKEY VS. BOURBON: WHAT TO KNOW

Whether you’re well versed in whiskey or a novice just along for the ride, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the differences between rye whiskey and bourbon. We’ll talk about how they are made, what sets them apart, and how Oak & Eden crafts both using an innovative bottling process to create a customizable finished spirit unlike anything else.
READ THE STORY

HOW TO DRINK WHISKEY: COMPLETE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Whiskey can be an alienating drink for many just because of its sheer complexity.However, whiskey is for everyone, and it has a lovely flavor profile that anyone can enjoy. But if you are just getting into whiskey, you may not know where to begin.  On the other hand, if your friends are forcing you to go to a whiskey tasting even though you don’t really like whiskey and you don’t want to seem like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re in the right place, too.  Drinking whiskey isn’t as complicated as some people believe or want you to think. With this straightforward guide, you’ll know everything you need to drink whiskey like an expert. Here is the complete beginner's guide to drinking whiskey. What Is Whiskey: Starting With the Basics Whiskey is one of the five standard varieties of liquor, along with vodka, gin, rum, and tequila. There are many different variations of whiskey across regions and cultures, but the essential elements of a whiskey are that it is a distilled spirit made from cereal grains, commonly wheat, rye, barley, or corn.  Whiskey is at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), making it a hard liquor. Every whiskey brings its own unique flavors but the general flavor of whiskeys across the globe falls into categories like caramel, vanilla, toasty, warm, spicy, and woody.  What Are the Different Kinds of Whiskey? Bourbon Whiskey: Bourbon whiskey is perhaps the most famous American whiskey in the world. Bourbon whiskeys must all be made in the United States and must also be made using a grain mash bill of at least 51% corn. Bourbon whiskey is then aged in new, charred oak barrels. Rye Whiskey: Rye whiskey, on the other hand, does not need to be made in the United States. Rye whiskey is quite popular in the US, but it is also a staple in Canada (where it is spelled whisky). Rye whiskey must be made using a mash bill of at least 51% rye. This gives rye whiskey its notorious spiced flavor profile that it is well known for. Tennessee Whiskey: Tennessee whiskey is one of the most heavily restricted types of whiskey in the world. Tennessee whiskey must be made in Tennessee. It must use a 51% corn mash bill, like bourbon, and must be aged in new charred oak barrels as well. Tennessee whiskey is then subjected to a charcoal filtration process that further removes impurities and mellows out Tennessee whiskey flavors. Scotch Whisky: Scotch whisky is one of the oldest types of whisky available anywhere in the world. Scotch whisky is spelled like Canadian whisky, without the “e.” Scotch whisky is typically made with a mash bill of at least 51% malted barley. Scotch is made using pot still distillation and is then aged in Scotland for at least three years before bottling and consumption. Irish Whiskey: Irish whiskey is another one of the oldest types of whiskey. Irish whiskey is also made using 51% barley, but it is typically unmalted. Irish whiskey is also typically known for its smooth and light flavor profile, where Scotch is known for its peat-heavy and smokey flavor profile. Japanese Whiskey: Japanese whiskey has only been around for about a century now, but it has already cemented itself in the whiskey world as well-crafted whiskey. Japanese whiskey takes after Scotch whiskey, using predominantly malted barley which is often imported from Scotland. Japanese whiskey is aged in American wood barrels, Japanese wood barrels, or sherry casks, which give Japanese whiskey unique flavors.   How To Taste Whiskey Now that you know more about what whiskey is and the varieties of whiskey that you may encounter, you are finally ready for whiskey tasting etiquette. Keep in mind that these are also all just suggestions. At its heart, whiskey is for everyone, and you can enjoy it however you enjoy whiskey best. Observing the Whiskey The first step to a whiskey tasting is observing the whiskey, which is essentially looking at what you drink before you drink it. The very first thing that you may notice is that whiskey has its own glass, the Glencairn glass. A Glencairn glass is round and bulbous at the bottom and tapered at the top to allow the aromas to rise up in a concentrated manner while giving you room down below for a decent-sized pour. You will then start to notice the color of the whiskey itself. This is a big clue into the flavor profile of your whiskey, as the wood it is aged in is responsible for the color and much of the flavor. The general rule is the darker the color, the deeper the flavor. Smell Your Whiskey The next step of the whiskey tasting process is smelling your whiskey. The aroma of whiskey plays a large role in the flavor, and you can tell a lot from whiskey by a good whiff. A significant amount of what you taste is actually influenced by what you smell, so nosing your whiskey (as it’s often called) can complement the tasting step.  The specific technique for nosing whiskey is called “retronasal breathing,” which is the same method people use to enjoy cigars. You breathe in through your mouth, close your lips and hold in that breath for a moment, and then breathe out through your mouth. That should help avoid the burn that is sometimes associated with the smell of whiskey. Does your whiskey smell of caramel? Vanilla? Oak? Or does it smell spicy? Smoky? There are no wrong answers, but keep yourself open to making associations as you smell. Sip and Savor The final step to tasting whiskey is sipping and savoring the lovely flavors in your whiskey. Remember, tasting is different from drinking; your goal is not to chug your glass but to identify and taste the flavors and notes of your whiskey.  This is best achieved by taking small, slow sips. Taking a small sip and letting your palate adjust to the whiskey with as little alcohol in your mouth as possible will slowly allow your mouth to adjust. Then you sip again, slightly larger, and keep tasting for the specific flavor notes.  Whiskey Tasting: Don’t Do This! Now that you know what you should do at a whiskey tasting, let’s briefly discuss a few things that you should not do at a whiskey tasting. Some of these are simple etiquette mistakes that may go unnoticed, while others will change your experience for the worse. Do Not Swirl Whiskey The first major don’t of whiskey tasting is swirling your whiskey. If you have ever been to a wine tasting, you know that the swirl is a major aspect of a wine tasting. By aerating the wine, you release more of the aromas and flavors into the air before tasting and sipping. But with whiskey, the swirl may make the aroma unapproachable. When you swirl alcohol, you are releasing the aromas but also the alcohol vapors. For wine, which hovers around 12% ABV, this may not make much of a difference. However, with whiskeys that are at least 40% ABV, you could release such a strong set of vapors that you intoxicate your olfactory senses. Your whiskey will smell strongly enough without a swirl, and you will actually be able to smell the subtleties of the different whiskeys much better if you just let them sit.  Do Not Sip Water Right After Sipping Whiskey Another thing to avoid when you are at a whiskey tasting is taking a sip of water right after you drink your whiskey. While water is a great way to cleanse your palette and reset before the next whiskey, drinking water too fast after sipping could leave you missing out on the important finishing notes. The “finish” of a whiskey, or the aftertaste left in your mouth after swallowing, is a major element of whiskey, and you should let yourself taste the finish of each whiskey. Don’t rush your sips, and don't feel like you need to sip on something else right after a sip of the whiskey. Rather, try to focus on the flavors playing on your tongue and how they develop and change after you have swallowed. Whiskey Tasting Expert Tips Finally, we will give you a few expert tips to taste whiskey even better and more clearly. While you certainly don’t have to take any of this advice, it is gathered from some of the experts in the whiskey field. Add a Bit of Water or Ice The first expert tip to help you to better taste your whiskey is to add a bit of water or ice to your glass. This will slowly dilute your whiskey, making it less alcoholic, which can help you taste more subtle flavor notes that you might miss otherwise. Just be careful not to add too much. Putting a single ice cube in your whiskey and allowing it to melt over the tasting can give you new elements and notes. Chew Your Whiskey This final one is a bit extreme for most casual whiskey drinkers, but we’re including it anyway. After you take a sip of whiskey, you can roll it around your mouth and chew it like you would chew food to get the whiskey to coat every surface of your mouth. This can allow you to taste different elements of the whiskey across your mouth. Different parts of your mouth are responsible for different tastes and flavor notes, so allowing it to spread across your mouth can help you taste everything it has to offer. How To Drink Whiskey: Takeaways  Drinking whiskey can be scary for beginners who are afraid of drinking whiskey the wrong way. But drinking whiskey is about enjoying whiskey, and as long as you are enjoying yourself, you are doing it right. That said, there are a few techniques that can help you at a whiskey tasting to get the most from your experience. Make sure you start with the right kind of Glencairn glass, then gently sniff, sip, and savor your experience.  If you are looking for some great whiskeys to try, check out our Oak & Eden whiskeys. All of our whiskeys are finished in a bottle with our patented wooden spires, adding flavor and smoothness to your whiskey while it sits in the bottle.    Sources:  Japanese Whisky: The Origin Story | Whiskey Culture What is Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? | Bourbon Country A Beginner's Guide on How to Drink Whiskey | The Manual
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS A GOOD WHISKEY TO GIFT?

Gift-giving is a skill and an artform. No matter the occasion, finding the right present that tells the recipient you care about them can be a challenge. When shopping for the ultimate gift, you’re looking for a present that maximizes three things: usefulness or enjoyability, price, and sentimental value.
READ THE STORY

WHEN IS NATIONAL BOURBON DAY?

There are a lot of holidays that our great nation celebrates. From January to December and every month in between, you can bet there is a day that we Americans love to celebrate. In fact, the trend towards holidays is so strong that pretty much every single day is a celebratory day for some person, place, or thing.  Bourbon is no exception to this rule. There is, indeed, a national holiday to celebrate the official spirit of the United States. Every year, National Bourbon Days comes around in the U.S., giving us the perfect opportunity to celebrate our favorite hard liquor.  So, when exactly is National Bourbon Day? Why is there a specific day to celebrate bourbon? What makes bourbon special? How did bourbon first come to be invented?  We’re answering all of these questions and more so you can be prepared to celebrate the greatest day of the year. When Is National Bourbon Day? Every year National Bourbon Day is celebrated on June 14th. Tucked in between Memorial Day and Father’s Day, National Bourbon Day can fly a bit under the radar. For those in the know, it’s hard to forget how fun celebrating Bourbon Day can be.  According to legend, June 14th is the first day that bourbon was distilled, although this is more symbolic than anything. Whether the 14th of June is the birthday of bourbon whiskey or just a random day of the year, it is what the day represents that matters. What Is Bourbon? To celebrate National Bourbon Day, we’ve decided to give you all the details on bourbon, how it’s made, and how you can celebrate on the 14th.  Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey that must be distilled and aged right here in the United States. Bourbon whiskey must be made with a mash bill that contains at least 51% corn and must be aged for a minimum of two years in new charred oak barrels. So long as a whiskey meets these requirements, it can legally call itself bourbon. If you want to earn the distinction of Kentucky bourbon, a bourbon whiskey needs to be distilled and aged in the state of Kentucky (as the name implies). Bourbon can be aged for much longer than two years — and often is for additional flavor.  Bourbon has been the National Spirit of the United States since 1964, and it has enjoyed booming popularity globally and stateside since the nineties. Bourbon is notorious for its sweet caramel and vanilla notes which come from both the corn and the charred oak barrels.  How Is Bourbon Made? In order to truly appreciate this amazing spirit on its national holiday, we want to give you a look into how bourbon whiskey is made. Here at Oak & Eden, we take bourbon making seriously to ensure that every bottle you drink is just as good as the last.  Step One: The Mash Bill  Every bourbon whiskey starts with the selection of a mash bill that is at least 51% corn. The other 49% of the grains can come from more corn, rye, wheat, or barley. Our Oak & Eden Bourbon & Spire Whiskey is made with a corn, rye, and barley mash bill that impart the smooth, creamy, and delicious taste that you get in every bottle. Once the grains have been selected, they have to be mashed before they can be fermented to produce alcohol. The mashing process helps release some of the sugars from the grains to make fermentation faster and easier.  This is done by grinding the mash bill grains very finely, combining them with hot water, and agitating it to release the sugars. This ends up creating a porridge-like mixture called “the mash.” Step Two: Fermentation Now that the sugars have been extracted from the mash, they are ready for fermentation. This is where yeast is added to the mash, which eats all the sugars and produces alcohol as a byproduct. This mix is left to ferment for anywhere from two to four days, depending on the type of yeast involved in the fermentation process. Fermentation is finished when the liquid reaches about seven to 10% ABV, which is somewhere between beer and wine. This liquid is sometimes called the distiller’s beer. Step Three: Distillation In order to take this distiller’s beer from seven to 10% ABV all the way above bottling ABV for whiskey or bourbon (typically 40%), this liquid must go through the distillation process. This process helps extract the alcoholic components of the mash while leaving behind any harsh and unwanted byproducts. Bourbon is made using a column still, which is a continuous process making it the most time-effective distillation method. Column distillation starts by pouring your distiller’s beer into the bottom of the column. There, it is heated with water vapor, causing the alcohol to vaporize and rise up the column.  Throughout the column are placed horizontal plates which cause the vapor to condense again briefly before being vaporized by the heat, leading to different strengths of alcohol as you climb up the still. Once the vapor reaches the desired strength, it is directed into another condensing chamber, where the gas is cooled back down to a liquid.  There are regulations on the maximum distilled proof of a whiskey or bourbon, set at 160 proof (or 80% ABV). Using column distillation, you can distill spirits much farther, up to as much as 95% ABV, which would only be useful for the most neutral of grain spirits. Step Four: Aging Now that the spirit is up to a high ABV, it is ready to be aged. Bourbon must be aged in new American oak barrels, which are then charred to the distiller’s discretion. Bourbon must also be aged for two years but can often be aged for much longer before bottling. The aging process is what gives whiskey and bourbon their colors and depths of flavors. As the bourbon sits in barrels over the years, the wood is allowed to expand and contract with the temperature, pulling bourbon in and out of the wood. This extracts hundreds of natural flavor botanicals from the oak, giving bourbon whiskey its unique taste. Step Five: Bottling Once the bourbon has reached maturity, it can be bottled and sold. If your bourbon happens to be an Oak & Eden bourbon, then your bourbon goes through one more step. We have created a first-of-its-kind technique that allows for in-bottle finishing. Every bottle of Oak & Eden whiskey and bourbon contains a wooden spire specifically chosen and toasted for that blend, which continues to add flavors and depth to your bourbon as it sits in your bottle. This allows our bourbons to reach new levels of complexity that were previously not possible.  How Can I Celebrate National Bourbon Day? The best way to celebrate National Bourbon day is to enjoy bourbon responsibly. Whether you like to drink your bourbon on the rocks, in a bourbon sour, or as a bourbon mule, June 14th is the perfect day to share your love for America’s signature spirit. If you’re looking for a few fun and creative recipes to add a little spice to your National Bourbon Day, you can check out a few of our favorite cocktail recipes. Experiment, play around, and remember that bourbon should be enjoyed — have fun, and trust your tastebuds. Takeaways Every year, National Bourbon Day comes around to commemorate a true American spirit: bourbon whiskey. Bourbon can only be made here in the United States, and as the signature Spirit of the nation, it’s quite representative of American culture. National Bourbon Day falls on June 14th, right at the beginning of summer. While some claim June 14th is the day bourbon was first distilled, this is just a folktale.  Bourbon is a type of whiskey that must be made in the United States using a mash bill of at least 51% corn and aged for a minimum of two years in new charred oak barrels. The bourbon-making process is quite rich and textured, giving you the most delicious spirit possible. Every bottle of bourbon goes through grain selection, mashing, fermentation, distillation, aging, and bottling. Oak & Eden whiskey, including our bourbon, gets an extra step: in-bottle finishing. This helps to give our whiskeys and bourbons an additional chance to extract botanicals from the wood that makes these spirits delicious in the first place.  There is no right or wrong way to celebrate National Bourbon Day, so long as you are having fun and staying safe. You can keep it classic with bourbon neat or on the rocks, or experiment with some of our fun whisky cocktails recipes. However you decide to celebrate this June 14th, make sure you do it with bourbon.    Sources: National Bourbon Day | National Bourbon Day What's the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey? | Food & Wine Distillation | Organic Chemistry CU Boulder
READ THE STORY

FATHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE FOR THE BOURBON DAD

Out with neck ties and grilling tools. Dad doesn't want another pair of socks, and he DEFINITELY doesn't need another tie to add to his collection. This Father's Day, get the bourbon dad in your life what he really wants: the perfect essentials for his bar cart and whiskey cabinet. We've taken the guesswork out of gifting with this guide, so you can shop with confidence and find something dad is sure to love. For the Entertaining Dad For the bourbon dad who loves to entertain, consider a bar cart that will store all of his bourbon bottles and barware in one place. This way, he can easily roll it out when company comes over and show off his collection. Buy the Tabiauea Bar Cart   For the Bourbon Loving Dad Our fan favorite seasonal coffee infused bourbon is a tough one to beat. Winning the highest achievement in the sprits industry – a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this bourbon is perfect for the dad who loves a good his coffee as much as he loves his bourbon. Buy Oak & Eden Bourbon & Brew For the Recipe Following Dad Every bourbon dad needs a go-to guide for making his favorite cocktails. This bartending book has everything he needs to know, from how to make classic drinks like the old fashioned to more creative concoctions. Buy The Bar Tender's Guide Book For the Home Mixology Dad This sleek copper bar set is perfect for the bourbon dad who loves mixing drinks. The set includes a shaker, jigger, strainer, and stirrer, so he can make any cocktail his heart desires. Buy Godinger Copper Bar Tools Set For the Campfire Drinking Dad Every bourbon dad needs a good mug to enjoy his favorite bourbon on the rocks. This YETI Rambler mug will keep his drink cold for hours, all the while sipping in style, so he can enjoy it at his leisure. Buy YETI Rambler Mug For the Rye Loving Dad While this list is primarily for bourbon dads, we would be remissed if we didn't include a rye whiskey for the dads who prefer a quality rye. While most rye whiskeys are deep & spicy, Oak & Eden Rye & Spire is uniquely smooth due to the charred American Oak spire placed in the bottle. Buy Oak & Eden Rye & Spire
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS BOURBON MADE FROM?

What Is Bourbon Made From? Bourbon is the most American of all the liquors and spirits in the world. But is America’s native spirit really any more special than other alcoholic beverages? What is it that makes bourbon special? And what exactly is it made from? If you want to know what bourbon is made of, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled all of our bourbon knowledge to give you a complete guide on one of the best kinds of whiskey anywhere in the world.   What Is Whiskey? Before we dive into bourbon, we need to cover a few basics about whiskey itself. Unlike bourbon, whiskey isn’t a distinctive product of the United States. There are several different types of whiskey, all of which have unique elements and requirements, but at their core, they all share a few key characteristics. Whiskey is a distilled spirit made from distilled cereal grains, commonly corn, wheat, barley, and rye.   Whiskey is hard liquor and is at least 40% alcohol by volume ( ABV). Whiskey is usually aged in wooden barrels, often for years, before bottling and consumption. Whiskey is anywhere from pale amber to deep brown in color, depending on the aging process and grains used.   What Is Bourbon? Bourbon is a specific type of whiskey that originated in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Nowadays, straight bourbon can be found anywhere in the United States but must be from Kentucky to be labeled as Kentucky bourbon.  Bourbon must also be made with a sour mash bill of at least 51 percent corn, with the rest being made from a combination of additives which commonly include wheat, malted barley, and rye. This iconic American whiskey has the caramel and vanilla flavor profile that America has grown famous for.  Some of the most popular bourbon producers in the U.S. today include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Town Branch, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. While Jack Daniels is a renowned Tennessee whiskey, it’s technically not bourbon.    How Is Bourbon Made? The whiskey-making process is quite varied around the globe, depending on the country of origin and the type of whiskey being made. Bourbon is one of the most highly regulated whiskeys in the world, with the steps of the process closely monitored for quality and consistency across bourbons. Here is an in-depth look at how the liquor is made at bourbon distilleries and what makes it so delicious.  Step One: Selecting and Mashing the Grains  The first step of the bourbon-making process is the selection of the grains. The mixture of grains used in bourbon is the first of many regulated aspects of the process. All bourbons must be made with a mash bill containing at least 51% corn.  The other 49% of grains can be made up of more corn, rye, barley, or wheat, depending on the specific distillers' recipe. Each distiller tends to have its own specific blends, using grains carefully sourced from around the United States and the world at large for the best and most specific flavor profiles possible. Once the mash bill is prepared, the grains are ground up very fine and then added to a large vat where it is combined with hot water to create a porridge-like substance, which is called the mash. This whole process is called “mashing” and helps to release the sugars in the grains before fermentation. Step Two: Fermenting the Grains The next step of the bourbon-making process is the fermentation and maturation of the grains. This is the process that actually produces the alcohol that is in our favorite spirit.  The mash is placed into a new tub or tank, where yeast is introduced. This yeast then feeds on the sugars that were released during the mashing process, which has the byproduct of producing alcohol.  The fermentation process for straight bourbon whiskey takes anywhere from 48 hours to 96 hours, depending on factors like temperature, humidity, type of grains, and type of yeast used for fermentation. When fermentation is complete, the mash will reach 7-10% ABV, at which point it can be called the distiller’s beer.  Step Four: Distillation The next, and perhaps one of the most important steps of bourbon production, is distillation. Distillation is the process of purifying and increasing the alcohol content of liquor. Distillation was first invented and used in ancient Mesopotamia to produce aromatics and perfumes.  Distillation has been used in whiskey production for over a thousand years, starting in Ireland and Scotland. Bourbon is produced using the column still distillation method, which is a more modern version of distillation than pot distillation (the older method many other kinds of whiskey used). In a column distiller, the distiller feeds the distillers beer into the column, where it is heated to boiling by the infusion of hot water vapor. This causes the alcohol to vaporize, rising through the column until it hits the first condenser plate.  The condenser plates are metal plates in the column still that alternate up the height of the column. When the alcohol vapors reach the plates, they condense back into liquid. From here, the vapors are redistilled in a pot called a doubler. Then the rising hot water vapor heats the condensed liquid back into vapor, where it rises to the next plate to repeat the process. Eventually, the gasses are captured and funneled into the condenser still where the spirit is brought back to its liquid state at around 70% ABV. Step Five: Aging From the column still, the spirit then goes into new, charred white oak barrels to be aged for a minimum of two years. The charred new oak casks give bourbon its distinct vanilla notes and sweetness. Using these oak containers is one of the legal requirements for a spirit to be labeled bourbon.  As the whiskey rests in the wooden barrels, the porous wood adds its flavors and aromas to the wood. Over time, this works to purify the whiskey, remove the harsh flavors, and add new and exciting elements to the flavor profile. If you’re ever wondering how old a specific bottle of bourbon is, you’ll find an age statement on the label. In general, the older the bottle, the rarer it is. Step Six: Bottling Once the whiskey has finished aging, it is ready to be bottled and sold for consumption. Many distillers will mix many barrels of whiskey together before bottling to create uniformity. If a bottle of whiskey contains only whiskey that was aged in one barrel together, then that is called a single barrel whiskey.  Step Seven: In-Bottle Finishing  For most whiskeys and bourbons, the whiskey-making process is complete. But at Oak & Eden, we take things one step further. We use a technology we call in-bottle finishing to add flavors and finishing notes to our whiskey while it sits in its bottle waiting for you to drink.  In every bottle of Oak & Eden whiskey, you will find our patented wooden spires: spiral-cut pieces of wood designed for maximum surface area. These spores are selected, spiced, and prepared precisely for each different blend of Oak & Eden Whiskey to give each bottle and blend the perfect finishing touch.   So What Is Bourbon Made From?  Now that we understand what exactly goes into the bourbon-making process, we can understand a little bit clearer what bourbon is actually made from.  First and foremost, bourbon is made from grains, of which at least 51% needs to be corn. The other grains used can be any combination of barley, rye, or wheat. Bourbon must also be made using column distillation instead of pot distillation, another distillation technique used for other whiskies, like Scotch.   And finally, bourbon must be aged in new oak barrels with char on the inside. While you may not consider the barrel an important ingredient in the bourbon, we certainly do. The wood that whiskey is aged in is where most of the flavor and all of the color of whiskey come from. This means that, by some counts, the barrel is the most important ingredient in any whiskey, not just bourbon.    Is Bourbon More Special Than Other Varieties of Whiskey? All this commotion about bourbon whiskey may have you starting to feel that bourbon is the pinnacle of whiskey and no other whiskey could compare. But bourbon is just one of the many regional varieties of whiskey throughout the globe. While bourbon has seen a bit of a global resurgence in recent decades, there are great whiskeys made across all varieties and in all regions of the globe. From smoky Scotch to smooth Irish whiskey, there are plenty of whiskey blends and options for all tastes and flavors. Here at Oak & Eden, we offer a variety of whiskeys, including bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskey. We also offer some special blends that combine our whiskey with flavors of cold brew coffee and more.  You can learn more about our story and our whiskey here.   What Is Bourbon Made From: Takeaways Bourbon is the most famous American-made whiskey in the world and is notorious for its balanced, sweet, and warm flavor profile. There are a lot of distinctions that make bourbon unique that all bourbons must meet to legally call themselves bourbon.  Bourbon whiskey must be made with a mash bill of at least 51% corn. Then the whiskey must be made in the United States and distilled using column distillation. From there, the whiskey must be aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years before bottling and consumption.  Oak & Eden Whiskey goes through an extra step, which is in-bottle finishing. Our carefully crafted wooden spires add subtle flavor notes to our fully aged whiskeys while they are in the bottle waiting for you to drink. This gives our whiskeys their creamy, smooth, and complex flavors. Give Oak & Eden whiskey a try and see what difference the spire makes.   Sources:  Coffey still | Whisky Advocate What is Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? | BourbonCountry What's the Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey? | Food & Wine 
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS WHISKEY? WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

What Is Whiskey? What You Should Know There are usually a few bottles of different whiskeys from different distilleries at every bar. Whiskey is one of the five core liquors — vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey — which are the most popular liquors globally. But beyond that, do you really know what whiskey is? Sure, it’s alcohol, but what’s in it? Whether you have never had a sip of whiskey in your life and are looking to get into it, or you are a seasoned whiskey sipping expert, you might be surprised just how much about whiskey you didn’t know. Here are a couple of the essential facts about whiskey that you should know to best enjoy this delicious spirit.    Whiskey: The Basics There are dozens of different varieties of whiskey that are all distinct regional creations that have unique tastes, flavors, production techniques, and histories. A few examples of common whiskey nomenclature include: Single-malt whiskey or single distillery whiskey Canadian whiskey Scottish whisky (Scotch) American whiskey (Bourbon) Irish Whiskey Corn whiskey Whiskey from Japan Whiskey cocktails like an old fashioned or whiskey sour At its core, however, there are some things that all whiskey types share, no matter where they came from. Whiskey is an amber to the brown-colored distilled spirit made from fermented grains of varying blends and varieties depending on local grains and tastes. This mash of cereal grains often includes some corn. Whiskey is hard liquor and usually has an alcohol content of about 40%  ABV.  It’s typically distilled and then aged in wooden casks for some time before they are eventually bottled. This aging process is a major component of the flavors of each specific different kind of whiskey. Each whiskey is unique in flavor, but common flavor notes across varieties of whiskey are warm, spicy, caramelly, nutty, woody, and toasty.   When Was Whiskey Invented? The origin of whiskey holds plenty of its own clues about what whiskey has to offer and the flavors of whiskey around the globe. The story of whiskey all starts with the discovery of the distillation process, which through the use of alternated boiling and condensation, produces a stronger alcoholic product. Distillation was first used in Mesopotamia as far back as 2000 B.C, making it over 4000 years old. Distillation slowly spread throughout Greece and then Europe, where the process was used to distill everything from aromatics to drinking water to alcoholic beverages.  The first time that we see whiskey coming up is in the 1000s A.D., when monks in Scotland, unable to ferment alcoholic beverages from grapes, began fermenting grain mashes that would be distilled to become the first whiskies. Whiskey was originally referred to as aqua vitae, Latin for the water of life, which eventually became known as whiskey. Distilleries became quite successful in Ireland and Scotland, and as Europeans immigrated to the United States, distilleries came with them. Eventually, this led to the proliferation of distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee, which produce some of the world's finest bourbons, ryes, and Tennessee whiskies.   What Are the Different Kinds of Whiskey? There are many different kinds of whiskey, each with its own unique requirements, ingredients, styles, and flavors. Here is a little overview of what each kind of whiskey is. Bourbon Whiskey Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is uniquely American. There are several things that make a bourbon a bourbon, but first and foremost, all bourbon has to be made in the United States. Rye Whiskey Rye whiskey, unlike bourbon whiskey, does not have to be made in the United States of America. In fact, rye whiskey is very popular in Canada in addition to the United States. Rye whiskey uses a mash bill of at least 51% rye. This gives rye its distinctive, spicy flavor profile that people love. Tennessee Whiskey Tennessee whiskey is much like bourbon whiskey, except Tennessee whiskey must be made in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee whiskey must use a Maysville with at least 51% corn and must also go through a special charcoal maturation process that mellows the flavors in the whiskey.  A prime example of this type of whiskey is Jack Daniel’s. Scotch Whisky Scotland was one of the first places in the world to produce whiskey.  Scotch whiskies are typically malt whiskies, meaning they are made using mostly malted barley in the mash bill. Scotch whiskies must also be made in Scotland as well as be aged for a minimum of three years also in Scotland. Irish Whiskey Jameson is the most famous of the Irish whiskies around the globe, and while they may be similar to Scotch, they are distinct. Irish whiskey, also known as Gaelic whiskey, is made with barley (typically unmalted). This gives Irish whiskey its smoothness and removes some of the smokiness that Scotch whiskey is famous for. Japanese Whisky Japanese whisky is a newcomer to the global whisky world, and it is spelled without the “e,” just like Scotch. Japanese whisky is based on Scotch, using manly malted barley, often imported from Scotland.  Japanese whisky uses the same distillation method as Scotch and is then aged in American wood, Japanese wood, or Sherry casks, which give Japanese whiskey its unique flavors like citrus and incense.   How Is Whiskey Made? The process of whiskey is a long and complicated process, but one that takes us from simple grains to one of the finest beverages in the world. Here is an inside look at each step of the process one by one. Pickling and Fermenting the Grains Every great whiskey starts with different types of grains like wheat, barley, corn, and rye, which are carefully selected and combined in precise proportions to create the fermented mash bill, the recipe for the grains.  These grains then have to be mashed for them to release the sugars, which is done by grinding the grains and combining them with hot water in a tank and then stirring and mixing. Once the grains have released their sugars, and the mixture has thickened, it is ready for fermentation. In a fermentation tank, yeast is introduced to the mash, which is then left to ferment for a few days before it is ready to move on. The fermentation process depends on the strain of yeast and the grains used.  After the fermentation period is over, the distiller has a beer-like liquid between 7-10% ABV, often referred to as distillers beer. The Distillation Process Now the fermented grain mash liquid or distilled beer is ready for the distillation process. The distillation process is used to increase the volume of alcohol in something. There are a few different distillation methods, but all are based on evaporating and condensing liquids to remove impurities and unwanted items.  Pot Still Distillation Pot still distillation is one of the popular whiskey-making methods for malt whiskeys, which are whiskies made with malted barley. The malting process replaces the mashing process for malted whiskies. But Bourbons and other grain whiskies do not go through pot distillation. In a post still, the distiller's beer is put in a still, a large metal pot, where it is heated to boil. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it evaporates quickly, and the gasses that rise off the boiling distiller's beer rise up into a tube that carries this gas into the second still, where it is condensed back into a liquid. The resulting liquid comes out at about 20% ABV, so the process is then repeated two more times to reach a final product that is typically around 60-70% ABV.  Column Distillation Column distillation is the other common distillation process for whiskies and is the primary process for grain whiskies like bourbon, rye, and corn whiskies. Unlike pot stills which have to go through a batch process, column stills work continuously to the final product. The distiller’s mash is fed into the column still, where it is heated with hot water vapor, which causes the alcohol vapors to rise up the column. As the vapor rises, it repeatedly hits alternating metal plates in the column, which condense the vapors. Then, the rising steam, which is still being fed through the column, heats the liquid again, as it constantly condenses and evaporates over and over up the column, where it eventually reaches a tube connecting it to the condenser which leaves the final distilled spirit. Column stills are capable of very high distillation percentages, as high as 95%, although when distilling alcohol for consumption, they are not usually set to go that high.    The Aging Process of Whiskey After distillation has been completed, the longest step of the process comes into play: aging. Much of whiskey's color, flavor, and aroma comes from the aging process rather than the distillation process. The aging process is where many of the rules and regulations surrounding different designations of whiskey are located. For bourbon, rye, and other American whiskies, the rules stipulate the use of new, charred oak barrels for the aging process.  In other countries and styles, different distillers may use different woods and barrels that have previously been used for other purposes to create distinct flavor profiles and aromas for their own tastes.  During the aging process, the wood is porous and imparts its flavor profiles, terpenes, and oils into the liquid, giving it both color and flavor.    The Bottling Process of Whiskey From there, your favorite whiskey is then bottled with at least 40% ABV and sealed for consumption later. Depending on the distiller and the run of whiskey, several barrels are usually combined in one bottling. If only a single barrel is used in a bottle, then it is labeled as a single barrel or single cask whiskey.    What Is Finished Whiskey? Many whiskeys are aged in just one barrel over the duration of the aging product. But other whiskies change barrels during the aging process, where the whiskey is “finished” with flavors from another wood.  Finished whiskey is a way that distillers can add additional flavors and elements to their whiskies, depending on what flavor profile they want the whiskey to have. These finished whiskies can be more complex and varied than traditional single-barrel whiskey.   What Is In-Bottle Finishing? In most whiskies, bottling is the final step of whiskey production, and from here, the bottle is sold and consumed. But for Oak & Eden whiskey, the process isn’t quite finished. We use a process that we invented called in-bottle finishing. In every bottle of Oak & Whiskey, you will find one of our specially designed wooden spires, designed for maximum surface area. This spire continues to flavor and finish your whiskey in the bottle, so it continues to improve and develop new flavors as it continues to rest in the bottle.  Unlike a second barrel finishing, our in-bottle process allows the whiskey to receive its finishing notes in the bottle itself. The longer you have the bottle, the longer the flavors of the spire will have to infuse the whiskey with the subtle flavor notes that Oak & Eden whiskies offer.   What Is Whiskey? The Takeaways Whiskey is a varied and diverse spirit with many different varieties and regional tastes and flavors that go into them. At its core, whiskey is a distilled grain spirit, typically made from corn, barley, wheat, and rye, which is then aged in wooden barrels.  Whiskey is noted for its caramel and vanilla notes and flavors, as well as the woody and warm flavors common in whiskey. Whiskey is made through a process beginning with selecting the grain mash, fermenting the grains, distilling, and then aging and bottling the spirit when it is complete. There are many different specific types of regional whiskey styles, from bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, Irish whiskey, Scotch whisky, Japanese whisky, and Tennessee whiskey. Oak & Eden offers bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskies that you are bound to love. Our whiskies use a technique called in-bottle finishing to get the finest flavors and aromas out of your whiskey. If you have never tried a finished whiskey before, we promise you are going to love it.    Sources: Japanese Whisky: The Origin Story | Whiskey Culture Coffey still | Whisky Advocate What is Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? | Bourbon Country
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS WHISKEY MADE OF?

The next time you’re at the bar, consider gravitating towards the smoky, dark, and intense bite of whiskey. Whether you choose to sample this liquor on its own or indulge in a mint julep, a Manhattan, or an old fashioned, it promises to be simple, classic, and delicious.
READ THE STORY

WHAT TO MIX WITH BOURBON: 9 CREATIVE IDEAS TO TRY

Whiskey drinkers around the globe have enjoyed bourbon for nearly two centuries. Known for its trademark dark flavor profile, this coveted liquid leaves an impression on even the most experienced drinkers. 
READ THE STORY

HOW TO DRINK BOURBON: ULTIMATE BEGINNERS GUIDE

Every year, bourbon becomes increasingly more popular among new drinkers. It’s showing up with greater frequency on cocktail menus worldwide, as well as an option to drink on its own. 
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY VS. BOURBON: WHAT TO KNOW

Bourbon whiskey is the most famous type of whiskey in the United States of America. As the most famous spirit to come out of distilleries in the US, bourbon carries a heavyweight as the world's liquor ambassador of the United States.
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS BOURBON? COMPLETE GUIDE

Bourbon whiskey is an American whiskey that has been enjoyed for generations. Cowboys, musicians, and bargoers alike have all rallied behind this timeless smoky drink.
READ THE STORY

ANGEL’S SHARE WHISKEY: WHAT IS IT?

The angel’s share is the whiskey lost to evaporation during the aging process. It’s an inevitable part of making whiskey.
READ THE STORY

WHAT IS SINGLE BARREL BOURBON?

Bourbon is one of the most delicious drinks on the planet. Classic on the rocks, straight up, or as the main ingredient of a cocktail, bourbon is the quintessential American spirit.
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY VS. SCOTCH: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Whiskey brings people together to laugh, tell stories, and share good times, whether at the bar or in the comfort of their homes.
READ THE STORY

BOURBON VS. COGNAC: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Bourbon and Cognac are two of the most popular distilled spirits in the world. Both are well-known for their aging processes, which impart the rich and subtle flavors that make them unique.
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY SOUR

Because tequila doesn't own tangy cocktails
SEE THE RECIPE

SAZERAC

The timeless bayou cocktail
SEE THE RECIPE

COASTLINE

A taste of the islands
SEE THE RECIPE

MANHATTAN

Clint Eastwood meets Rocky Balboa
SEE THE RECIPE

OLD FASHIONED

An inspired twist on the classic
SEE THE RECIPE

COFFEE FIZZ

A coffee lover's fizzy paradise
SEE THE RECIPE

WEST OF EDEN

Rich, creamy, and a punch of coffee
SEE THE RECIPE

ESPRESSO MARTINI

The undeniable nightcap
SEE THE RECIPE

THE BUNKHOUSE

Seldom is heard a discouraging word
SEE THE RECIPE

GENUINE RISK

An intelligible taste of island living
SEE THE RECIPE

TEXAS MULE

Like a yeehaw in a copper tin
SEE THE RECIPE

MR. EVANS

Cabernet infused perfection
SEE THE RECIPE

WHISKEY

WHISKEY: THE HEALTHIEST SPIRIT ON EARTH?

Whiskey is no stranger to the health conscious, but what is it exactly that gives it this healthy reputation?
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY

4 TYPES OF WHISKEY TO MAKE THE PERFECT OLD FASHIONED

We're here to discuss four different types of whiskey: bourbon, rye, wheated bourbon and four grain bourbon. We'll help you decide which to use for your next drink so you can make a tasty cocktail!
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY

WHISKEY OR WHISKY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Whiskey or whisky? What’s the difference? Is it simply two different spellings of the same word, or are they two slightly different words describing two separate groups of spirits?
READ THE STORY

STORIES

ARTIST CURATION: A JAMESTOWN REVIVAL SOUNDTRACK

Whether you’re feeling strong of heart, bold in your belief, tired after a long day of refining your craft, or dreaming of the days to come, we welcome you here.
READ THE STORY

WHISKEY

BITTERS 101

Bitters are made from botanicals, like aromatic herbs, roots, fruit, and bark. These ingredients are infused into a flavorless alcohol base to create a potent flavoring.
READ THE STORY