What is Rye Whiskey?

Rye whiskey is a type of whiskey that is made with rye grain. It is similar to bourbon, but has a minimum 51% rye content. Rye whiskey is a spirit that is made from rye grain. There are two main types of rye whiskey- American and Canadian. American rye whiskey must have a minimum of 51% rye content, while Canadian rye whiskey can be labelled as such even if it doesn't contain any rye.


Canadian rye whiskey must have a mashbill that contains a minimum of 20% rye. In the US, however, the mashbill can be all rye.




Rye whiskey is made in similar ways to bourbon and Tennessee whiskey- using charred white oak barrels, column stills and pot stills. The difference comes in the grain used to make it: while bourbon uses corn as its main grain, Canadian and American ryes use mostly rye instead. This gives them their distinctive flavour profiles compared to other types of whiskey.


The term 'rye' has been used for various types of spirits throughout history since around 1800 AD when it was first recorded in the United States Tax Code (it was previously known as Monongahela Rye). However, some historians believe that various forms of what we now know as rye were being produced since at least 1700's in Europe and Canada before becoming popular in America.


Today there are many different styles of American & Canadian Rye Whisky from world-renowned brands such as Bulleit Distilling Co., Templeton & Whistlepig Whiskey Co.


It is only within recent years that people have started making cocktails with this style of spirit due to its flavour profile not being particularly well suited to cocktails traditionally dominated by Bourbon whisky or blended Scotch whiskies like Johnnie Walker Red Label or Dewar's White Label (neat or with ice), which could be why bartenders are often unsure how best to use it when creating drinks on menus today.

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