Whisky or Whiskey is one of the world’s most popular spirits, with many countries and cultures imparting their own twists on its creation. Whisky is extremely versatile in both taste and application, being used in a variety of culinary dishes to add a unique flavour profile and often featuring in many cocktail recipes.
This amber liquid has a long and rich history that spans across multiple centuries and cultures, with Scotch Whisky, Irish Whisky, and American Whisky being amongst the most popular versions of the spirit. You may have noticed the two spelling variations of this liquor – well according to the history books, it’s widely believed that when Irish whiskey distillers were looking for a way to differentiate their product from Scotch Whisky they added in the ‘e’.
Throughout the rest of the information provided, we will alternate between the two spellings depending on where the whiskey/whisky was distilled, but the Scotch version will be the default spelling. So what’s the history behind the iconic amber beverage Australia loves.
Although Whisky is most commonly associated with Scotland and Ireland, the first recorded practice of distilling alcohol from wine (which would eventually become Whisky) came from Italy in the 1200s. But to be fair, it wouldn’t take long for this practice to find its way into Scotland with the art of distillation becoming commonplace no later than the 15th century. Over the years, Whisky has diversified into lots of different flavours, varieties and production methods, (even being used as a currency during the American revolution!) but single malt Whisky is still generally considered the most popular type.
Whiskey was introduced to the Americas by early colonialists, who brought whiskey-making techniques with them. As the traditional barley grain used for whiskey did not thrive in the American climate, they substituted with grains that proved more adaptable, such as rye and corn. These days, corn has become the predominant grain used in American Whisky production.