Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Grains used can include barley, rye, wheat, and corn. It is distilled, then aged (usually) in wooden casks.
There are entire compendiums, schools and guilds dedicated to each of the varieties of whiskey.
If you don’t have whiskey in the house regularly but need it for a recipe, buy a small airplane-bottle sized bottle of whiskey. Yes, ounce for ounce, it’s more expensive than buying a whole bottle, but nothing’s more expensive than buying a lot of something you are not going to use.
Many barbequing fans swear by whiskey as a meat tenderizer, though you could substitute anything with alcohol in it.
In cooking, you can substitute one whiskey for another ounce for ounce.
The Northern Ireland distillery of Bushmills got their licence to distill in 1608 from King James 1 of England (who was also King James VI of Scotland) — making it the oldest legal distillery in the United Kingdom.
Literature & Lore
As everyone knows, whisky is the Scottish spelling (and drink); whiskey is the Irish. The Irish spelling, however, has won out throughout the world.
“Whisky” was the original spelling of that alcoholic beverage. In the late 1800s, American and Irish distillers started to add an “e” to distinguish themselves from Scottish whisky, owing to its poor quality reputation at the time.
A “wee dram of whisky”, as the Scots say, probably isn’t “wee” for most North Americans, given that a dram is a third of a pint ( 2/3 a cup or about 5 oz.)
Hall, James. Why Scotch whisky must remain Scottish. London: Daily Telegraph. 24 November 2009.