When it comes to American whiskey, the style you’re most likely to encounter is Bourbon – perhaps dressed up with bitters and a slice of orange in an Old Fashioned cocktail; sweetened and garnished with mint in a Julep; or simply served on the rocks.
The spirit, distilled primarily from corn, is going through a boom in the UK among drinkers and bartenders looking to widen the choice of whisk(e)y on their shelves.
But there are many more types of whiskey available across the pond and they’re all looking to follow in Bourbon’s success and gain a foothold in the UK.
Each whiskey style has its own rules and regulations that determine what it can be called, with the volume of the main grain used being a key criteria.
Straight Rye Whiskey (with at least 51 per cent rye in the mash bill) is the most commonly available outside of the Bourbon market, with the rye’s spicy character making it a punchier choice for cocktails.
But with a little more exploration you’ll also find whiskey made from malted barley – along the lines of our more familiar single malt whiskies – besides some that use less celebrated grains such as wheat, oats and millet.
If you want to start your American whiskey adventure with a bourbon then check out our round-up of the best bourbons; but if you want to venture beyond the Bourbon then read on…