Info in short:
You want to know more about Scotch Whisky? Then look no further. Here we give you all the information you need to know. The history, facts, which cocktails to make with it and some fun info.
Please reach out to us if there is any information which isn’t correct or if something is unclear. We will listen to your feedback and edit the article!
Bottles we recommend in flavored Cocktails:
Johnni Walker, Chivas Regal, Mokey Shoulder, Highland Park, Black Bottle
Bottles we recommend having neat or with ice:
Johnni Walker Gold or Blue Label, Chivas Regal 12, Laphroaig 18, Glenmorangie, Glenfidich, Glenlivet etc.
Scotch Whisky Q & A
- When was it invented?
It was according to Scottish history first distilled in 1494. It was the king who gave the order to Friar John Cor to make “uisge beatha” which is scottish and means “water of life”. Water of life is a term that often is used in the spirit history. It’s important to understand that alcohol was seen as medication. It helped people get through tough times and gave them courage. That’s why it was called “Water of Life”.
According to Scottish Whisky Association and the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland the Friar John Cor received 8 bolls of malt which was enough for 1500 bottles. It was in 1494 and John Cor was a distiller in Lindores Abbey in Fife in Scotland. 1500 bottles means that Whisky production was wellknown back then and perhaps it was distilled even before that.
- Where is it from?
It’s of course from Scotland and it has to be produced in Scotland. It also has to be aged here and that’s done in Oak Casks and for at least 3 years.
Scotland and the spirit is normally divided into regions. Lowlands, Highlands, Islay, Campbelltown and Speyside. The taste of whiskies in each region is different. Islay is known for being more smokey and more powerful in taste (Laphroaig, Bowmore etc.) while Speyside is more light and sweet (Glenlivet, Macallan etc.).
- What is the base ingredient?
The key ingredient is malted Barley. You are not allowed to add any substances to the spirit. Only water, whole grains and pure caramel coloring can be added to it. There is several different types of Scotch:
Single Malt: It’s a whisky thats produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation using a pot still.
Single Grain: It’s also produced at a single distillery using a pot still. The difference is that Single grain can have other grains added in the distillation. That means that the name “single grain” is not that clear. It means that only one distillery is used.
Blended Malt: It means a blend of two or more single malts from different distilleries.
Blended Grain: The same as Blended Malt just with Grain instead. It means a blend of two or more single grain whiskies from different distilleries.
Blended Scotch: A total mix of the spirit. That means a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.
- Which Cocktails are made with this spirit?
Scotch Cocktails is not that well known as Vodka, Gin and Rum based cocktails. However even though they are not as popular doesn’t mean they should be forgotten. Rob Roy, Blood and Sand, Rusty Nail, Godfather to name a few.
Most of them are a bit bitter and not very fruity in taste. That’s because it’s is a spirit you would like to taste the flavors of. It also doesn’t go that well with lots of exotic fruit like rum does.
- How to use it in Cocktails?
Scotch Whisky should be used in craft cocktails where you get to taste all the flavor (smoke, sweetness, caramel, oak, wood etc.). It goes very well with sweet vermouth or other liqueurs.
Try to use it instead of Bourbon in your Whisky Sour or your Manhattan. It will work just fine and give another taste to the classic. You can also try a twisted Negroni. Substitute the Gin with Scotch and you have yourself a new amazing cocktail.
Scotch is known as a serious spirit not like Tequila or Rum which are more fun and vibrant. You feel older and wiser when you sip the spirit. However feel free to be creative and have fun with it. Even though a enthusiast of the spirit would kill you if you made tons of sweet fruity cocktails using good aged whisky then it comes down to what you like.
- Fun fact #1:
Every second the Scottish government gets around £125 right in the pocket from exporting the great spirit. Just under 38 bottles of whisky is being exported from Scotland every second.
- Fun fact #2:
Many whisky drinkers will refer to a unit for drinking as a dram.
- Fun Fact #3:
Scotland is home to more than 20 million casks of maturing whisky. That’s almost four casks for every person living in the country. Crazy.