What is whiskey?
Whiskey is an alcohol distilled from a fermented mash of various grains, like barley, rye, or corn, and aged in wooden casks.
Single-malt: When a whiskey is made of only malted barley and from only one distillery, it is known as a single-malt.
Bourbon: This is whiskey made mostly of corn
Rye: Intuitively, rye is made mostly of rye and is a characteristic of Canadian whiskey.
For whiskies to be labelled Irish or Scotch, they must comply with the laws where they are produced, and meet other criteria like aging, distilling, ingredients, etc.
How does whiskey work in a recipe?
Much like wine, every variable in the making of whiskey affects the resulting flavour and aroma, ranging from buttery and soft to spicy and powerful. Because of the vastly different characteristics, there is a whiskey for every recipe and every palate.
Scotch and Irish whiskeys are usually stronger and smokier than North American varieties, therefore better to mix with appetizers or earthy main courses. Bourbon tends to be sweet and spicy with hints of vanilla and toffee, making it more suited to desserts. Regardless of your preferred choice, whiskey gives dishes depth and complexity - that can't-put-your-finger-on flavour. And what better drink pairing for your recipe than the whiskey it was made with?
Even if you don't like drinking whiskey, sneaking some into your menu just might change your mind.
Add whiskey to your Gravlax
Gravlax-cured salmon makes an elegant appetizer, and your gravlax (or curing salts) can be made with whiskey instead of vodka or gin. Simply cure the salmon in a mixture of salt, sugar, whiskey and some herbs and spices. To complement the whiskey, substitute maple syrup or brown sugar for regular granulated sugar. You won't go back to smoked salmon from the frozen seafood section again.