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Whiskey 101

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  • Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Oreo Cookies, 7/22/14

    Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Oreo Cookies, 7/22/14

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:12:24 GMT
    Alan BennettYield: 32 servingsIngredients:1 1/4 Quart Oreo Pieces-small, divided6 Tbl. butter, meltedCup Original Cream Cheese, softened2 Cup sugar4 Ea. eggs1 1/4 Cup fresh blueberries1/3 Cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, meltedDescription:Cheesecake bars made with fresh blueberries and Oreo Cookie Pieces.Preparation Steps:Combine 1 lb. of the Oreo Pieces and butter; press evenly onto bottom of 1 parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Place cream cheese and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer fitt...More >>
    Alan BennettYield: 32 servingsIngredients:1 1/4 Quart Oreo Pieces-small, divided6 Tbl. butter, meltedCup Original Cream Cheese, softened2 Cup sugar4 Ea. eggs1 1/4 Cup fresh blueberries1/3 Cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, meltedDescription:Cheesecake bars made with fresh blueberries and Oreo Cookie Pieces.Preparation Steps:Combine 1 lb. of the Oreo Pieces and butter; press evenly onto bottom of 1 parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Place cream cheese and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer fitt...More >>
  • Melinda's chocolate peanut butter "dump" cake

    Melinda's chocolate peanut butter "dump" cake

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:20:16 GMT
    From Melinda Mayo, My Chocolate Peanut Butter "Dump" Cake was a hit this morning on Daybreak. I love to cook, but I don't bake a lot, so I bought this new cookbook with easy recipes. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake 1 Pkg (about 15 oz.) chocolate fudge cake mix 1 1/4 cups water... 3 eggs 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, *warmed divided 1 cup mini peanut butter cups *Microwave peanut butter on LOW (30%) about 2 mins until pourable 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 x 9...More >>
    From Melinda Mayo, My Chocolate Peanut Butter "Dump" Cake was a hit this morning on Daybreak. I love to cook, but I don't bake a lot, so I bought this new cookbook with easy recipes. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake 1 Pkg (about 15 oz.) chocolate fudge cake mix 1 1/4 cups water... 3 eggs 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, *warmed divided 1 cup mini peanut butter cups *Microwave peanut butter on LOW (30%) about 2 mins until pourable 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 x 9...More >>
  • Grilled Jalapeno & Tequila Chimichurri, 7/21/14

    Grilled Jalapeno & Tequila Chimichurri, 7/21/14

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:32:35 GMT
    On the Border2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 cup lime juice¼ cup Agave Nectar3 Garlic cloves½ cup cilantro leaves½ cup diced red onion1 medium sized jalapeno, grilled and de-stemmed1/2 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)¼ cup of 100% Blue Agave Reposado TequilaPut all items in a blender and pulse until all items are incorporatedKeep ½ cup separate for basting after grillingMarinade beef, fish or chicken for 2 hours, discard marinade.Brush meat with reserved marinade after cookingTop with fresh cracked Bla...More >>
    On the Border2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 cup lime juice¼ cup Agave Nectar3 Garlic cloves½ cup cilantro leaves½ cup diced red onion1 medium sized jalapeno, grilled and de-stemmed1/2 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)¼ cup of 100% Blue Agave Reposado TequilaPut all items in a blender and pulse until all items are incorporatedKeep ½ cup separate for basting after grillingMarinade beef, fish or chicken for 2 hours, discard marinade.Brush meat with reserved marinade after cookingTop with fresh cracked Bla...More >>

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Whisk(e)y can be made anywhere in the world. It’s a spirit distilled from fermented grains like barley, wheat, rye, and corn, and most of it is aged in oak barrels. Definitions differ depending on where you are (in the EU it must be aged to be called whisky, for example) so we’ll take the American view for simplicity’s sake. We won’t cover everything, just hit the high notes. 

Spelling: American, Irish whiskey. Scottish, Japanese, Canadian whisky. This is not important. 

American Whiskey includes bourbon, rye, Tennessee whiskey, corn whiskey, wheat whiskey; and there are a few American single-malts. 

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Bourbon is an American whiskey distilled from mostly fermented corn (plus a smaller percentage of other grains), and nearly always in a big column still. Despite rumors to the contrary, bourbon can be made anywhere in the US, though most is made in Kentucky. Nearly all of it is aged for more than two years, and that aging is done in new charred oak barrels which impart a ton of flavor (vanilla, coconut) and all of the color to the spirit. 

Corn Whiskey is made from at least 80% corn. Most of the stuff sold as “moonshine” is perfectly legal unaged corn whiskey.

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Tennessee Whiskey, for all practical purposes, is Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel. These whiskeys are filtered through charcoal either after distillation or after barrel aging, or both. Other than that, they are pretty much bourbon. 

Rye is an American whiskey distilled from mostly fermented rye. It is often a little bit spicy (think of rye bread versus corn bread), and is popular in stirred cocktails like the Sazerac and Manhattan. Rye went out of favor for decades, but is now back in a big way. 

Scotch Whisky is made in Scotland and aged a minimum of three years. Most scotch ages in recycled casks that previously held American whiskey. A few regional flavor shortcuts: “Islay” usually indicates smoky scotch, “Speyside” indicates soft and supple scotch, “Lowland” scotch is light in flavor, and “Highland” scotch whiskies have a greater variance from robust and earthy to pretty and floral.

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Single-Malt Scotch Whisky is made at a single distillery from only malted barley (not a blend of grains as in American whiskey) and distilled in pot stills. The age on the label is the age of the youngest scotch in the bottle, though there is often some older stuff mixed in. 

Blended Scotch Whisky (Johnnie Walker, Dewar’s, Famous Grouse, etc.) combines single-malt scotch (usually lots of different ones) with more neutral, column-distilled grain scotch whisky. It is lighter and more subtle than single-malt scotch, and also way more affordable and popular. 

Japanese Whisky mimics scotch whisky for the most part (the guy who created both Yamazaki and Nikka whiskies trained in Scotland), though they prize their blended whiskies just as much as the single-malts. Blended whiskies in Japan are often served in highballs with soda water.

Canadian Whisky is most often a light and easy-drinking blended whisky, usually with flavorings and coloring in the mix. Canadians often refer to their whisky as “rye” but that’s their generic term for whisky rather than an indication of rye grains used. 

Irish Whiskey includes smoky, neutral-tasting, robust, and single-malt variants, but as Tennessee whiskey’s identity is largely defined by Jack Daniel’s, Irish whiskey’s identity is largely understood from Jameson. Jameson is a blend of lighter grain whiskey with heavier “single-pot still” whiskey, and the result is soft and creamy, and a great introduction to aged spirits for those new to the whiskey category.  

Whiskey mixology in a nutshell: It all goes great with ginger ale. If you want to get fancy, make that ginger beer instead, consider a squeeze of lemon or lime, maybe add a dash of Angostura bitters, and garnish with a sprig of mint.



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