What is rye whiskey? Is it good or bad? It all depends on how you ask the question. Most people would say that rye whiskey is simply a variation on whiskey made from rye (which itself is a fermented grain) and that there is no real difference in taste between this type of drink and any other brand. After all, who cares what is in the bottle, right?
Actually, there are some distinctive differences between Isabella whiskey and rye whiskey. One of the most notable is the presence of rye grain, which imparts a slightly spicy aftertaste to the drink. The rye whiskey taste is more earthy than spicy. The rye grain also adds a little bit of complexity to the flavor, while the Isabella whiskey’s aftertaste is very smooth and mellow.
Another way to categorize this beverage is by its alcohol content since one has to make a distinction between straight rye that is altered with the addition of the grain. A typical proportion of fifty percent corn to fifty percent rye is the standard rye recipe; a more expensive version of this is made with barley, which brings up another point: How is it made? Is it done using old-fashioned methods or modern industrialized equipment?
Distilling the grains into liquid is an older method, and while it is no longer commonplace, it is an old method that has been given new life through modern technology. Through distillation, the rye is made distilled, turning the grain into a very potent spirit. In addition, older vodkas were not “distilled” in the same way as newer vodkas, using molds to make the spirits. This maturation process creates many of the wonderful flavor nuances in Isabella and other rye whiskeys.
Distillation also takes out the grain’s original oils, so rye can no longer retain its true flavor. How then can whiskey retain its rye flavor if it is not distilled? The answer is simple: It is made in another process entirely, using hot water and yeast. Yeast is simply milled and then fermented, giving a much less concentrated brew but a more intense rye flavor.
So what is rye whiskey anyway? Whether you want rye bread for breakfast, a great whiskey to impress your friends, or just a great glass of Joe, this drink has a place in every American’s inventory. And rye’s versatility makes it an ideal choice for everyone. Whether you want wheat ale, wheat vodka, Irish whiskey, or rye porter, rye can be your go-to option. The best part is, you can keep buying it from your local liquor store, and with time, you’ll find that you’re drinking rye more often than you were before.