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Everything You Need to Know About Rye Whiskey (Plus a Cocktail Recipe)

Food and Drink By
Everything You Need to Know About Rye Whiskey
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

 

Ah yes, rye whiskey: The signature drink of “them good ole boys” in the classic folk song “American Pie.” What sets it apart from bourbon? Find out below.

According to Liquor.com, rye whiskey finds its origins in the northeastern United States, specifically Pennsylvania and Maryland. Nowadays, though, rye is all the rage and gets distilled in places such as Iowa (Templeton); Kentucky (Bulleit); Indiana (Bone Snapper); and yes, Brooklyn (Van Brunt). (You know, because Brooklyn leads the charge in everything artisanal, including recycled bomb products.)

The way U.S. liquor laws work, rye whiskey must be produced from at least 51 percent rye and aged in new charred oak barrels. To make it “straight rye,” that brownish elixir has to be aged for two years with a minimum 80 proof.

In terms of its taste, Eater‘s Heather Greene couldn’t have put it better:

“It’s big, bold, and spicy when made well, delivering a slight and fascinating burn, something you’ll turn to again and again, a bit like Donald Trump on TV and a lot like spicy curry with hints of sweet.”

Here’s a Van Brunt Stillhouse–inspired rye recipe below. This one’s courtesy of Timberland, of all places:

The Red Hook
2 oz. Van Brunt Stillhouse rye whiskey
1/2 oz. Punt E Mes
1/2 oz. Maraschino

Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a glass with ice. Stir for 25-30 seconds until chilled before straining into a coupe or martini glass.

Below, take a look at Liquor.com’s take on rye.

 

—Will Levith for RealClearLife