Molly’s Guide to Whiskey

The Best Whiskey Selection in Denver

We know that whiskey can be confusing to those who don’t know much about it. There are many types of whiskey, including Tennessee whiskey, Irish whiskey, Japanese whiskey and more. Molly’s Spirits wants to help you find the best whiskey for any occasion at our liquor stores in Lakeside and Greenwood Village, CO and at our sister store in Longmont, CO.

To explore something properly, knowing the details can help set you off on the right foot, so we’ve compiled this info about whiskey to help you begin your whiskey exploration. A brief history of the spirit, some of the most popular types and brands of whiskey, how to pick the right whiskey and some popular whiskey cocktails to try await. Don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly associates to help you find the perfect bottle of whiskey for you.

A Brief History of Whiskey

Over the years, many people have fought to keep whiskey flowing. The art of distillation was arguably founded around 2000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. By 100 AD, the first written record of distilling occurred. Knowledge of how to distill spread to Europe between 500 and 1000 AD. When Scotland and Ireland learned how to distill, they created the first distillations of modern whiskey in about 1000 to 1200 AD because they did not have the vineyards or grapes and turned to fermenting grain mash. The first written account of “whisky” took place in 1405 in Ireland. Distilling whiskey was brought to America around 1600, and it was later used as a currency during the American Revolutionary War. The Whiskey Tax was created in 1791, and the Whiskey Rebellion took place after that. Bourbon whiskey appeared in 1840 and blended whiskey in 1850.

pappy van winkle bourbon and rye brands

A Guide to Various Whiskey Types

Whiskey can be a bit confusing to beginners because there are so many different types. First, you need to know the differences between single malt, grain and blended whiskies. Single malt whiskey is exclusively made with water, yeast and malted barley. Grain whiskey is liquor that has a main ingredient of corn, wheat or both. Blended whiskey is a combination of grain and single malt whiskies. Learn more about some popular types of whiskey:

  • Scotch – Most people consume this type of whiskey for taste and not intoxication. Scotch whiskey is made from malted barley and aged for at least three years after being produced in Scotland. Scotch whiskey regions include Lowland, Highland, Islay, Speyside and Campbeltown.
  • Irish Whiskey – This type of whiskey is often light, fruity and less peaty than Scotch. Irish whiskey is usually triple distilled using a copper pot. Irish whiskies include single malt, grain, single grain, blended and single pot still.
  • American Whiskey – American whiskies are aged in new charred oak barrels and are under 80% ABV. American whiskey typically has a smoky or briny flavor. Bourbon whiskey is an American whiskey made of at least 51% corn mash. Tennessee whiskey goes through charcoal filtering. Rye whiskey has some rye mash, while wheat whiskey has at least 51% wheat mash. American single malt whiskey is smoky and aromatic.
  • Japanese Whiskey – A Japanese whiskey will most likely be smooth and delicate, sometimes perfumed with honey for sweetness.

The Most Popular Whiskey Brands

Now that you know more about whiskey and its various types, it’s time to narrow down on some of the best whiskey brands so you can find the perfect drink. The best whiskey for you depends on your tastes and price range. Check out this brief guide to some of the most popular whiskey brands:

  • Johnnie Walker Blue Label – this special edition whiskey is a bit expensive but is ideal for scotch lovers
  • Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey – named “world’s best” whiskey by Whisky Magazine
  • Wild Turkey Longbranch – a more affordable option, this blend of bourbon and Scotch is made in collaboration with Matthew McConaughey
  • Gentleman Jack Double Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey – offering a smooth finish ideal for drinking your whiskey neat
  • Bulleit Bourbon – with a higher than average rye content, this bourbon has a spicy kick
  • Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky – a great starter bourbon with a smooth and easy finish and subtle sweetness
  • Fireball Cinnamon Whisky – as featured in one of our most popular recipes
  • Johnnie Walker Black Label – the second most affordable in the Johnnie Walker series is an excellent introduction to Scotch

How to Pick the Right Whiskey

Whether you’re new to whiskey or you’ve tried a few, you want to make sure you come home with a bottle you’ll like. Think about the whiskeys you may have tried in the past and which characteristics you liked or didn’t prefer. You may want to start with choosing a whiskey based on the country it was made in.

Once you find one you like, such as American whiskey or Irish whiskey, you can explore the varieties within that category. If you like spicy whiskey, try American. You can’t go wrong with a classic like Jack Daniel’s. Bourbons are likely sweeter and made more recently than other types of American whiskey. If you want a whiskey that will go down smooth, it might be best to try bourbon. Speyside whiskeys also go down smooth and come from the northeast of Scotland. Irish whiskey isn’t too sweet or bitter and is a good party whiskey. You should try some Canadian whiskey which sometimes offers a more fruity or spicy option and goes well mixed in cocktails. Japanese whiskey is smooth and fruity, and Indian whiskey is a bit sweeter.

The Most Popular Whiskey Cocktails

There are many popular cocktails made with whiskey. Whiskey drinks might be more common than most people would think. The most common whiskey cocktail seems to be the old fashioned, with the whiskey sour and the Manhattan following just behind. Other cocktails made with whiskey include Irish coffee, the mint julep, the godfather and the rusty nail. Be sure to check out these whiskey cocktail recipes to make your own at home.

Get Your Whiskey at Molly’s Spirits

Molly’s Spirits carries the best brands and types of whiskey at our liquor stores in Lakeside and Greenwood Village and at our sister store in Longmont. We would be happy to help you choose the perfect whiskey, so contact us today to learn more.