For a lot cocktails rye is supreme, historic, and friendly on the wallet (as well as the palate). The spice and dryness that rye contributes to a cocktail makes it the perfect base for the classic old fashioned or the manhattan. Things have come a long way for American Rye in the past few years. It was not long ago that if someone came in asking for a Sazerac or a rye manhattan we would reach for the regally cloaked Crown Royal. The funny thing is that Canadian Whiskey or Canadian Rye really only contains a small amount of rye in its mash for flavor. Corn makes up most of the build...and that is all we need to say about the whiskey from our Northern neighbor.
For American Rye to be American Rye it has to follow a few rules very similar to Bourbon.
1. It must be distilled from a mash of at least 51% rye.
2. It can be distilled no higher than 80% abv / 160 proof.
3. It cannot go into a barrel any higher than 62.5% abv / 125 proof.
4. And those barrels have to be brand new charred oak.
5. If aged for at least two years the Rye may be designated as a Straight Rye.
For your shelf, I have to put my recommendation with Heaven Hills Rittenhouse Bonded. It is bottled in bond thanks to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897.
Bottled in Bond Act of 1897
1. It is the product of one distillation season from one distiller at one distillery.
2. It must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse under the strict supervision of the United States Government.
3. It has to sit in that warehouse for at least four years.
4. And that beautiful whiskey must be bottled at 50% abv / 100 proof. No more. No less.
Canada has nothing on us in terms of rules and flavor. They do have some new and interesting products popping up in the market now so that is exciting. The kids seem to be raving about Lot 40 and the (bottled in Vermont distilled in Canada) Whistle Pig. I really enjoy the Crown Royal Northern Harvest and would recommend keeping that around if not just for the bag it comes in. If you want to splurge just a touch the six year old release from Sazerac is a fantastic buy and the empty bottle makes a killer vase.
Bar To Home
A simple translation from bar to home.