American Rye Whiskey. Three sweet words that only scratch the surface of the category.
For an American Brown Spirit to be labeled a Straight Rye Whiskey it must be distilled from at least 51% Rye and aged for a minimum of two years. And much like Bourbon, if it’s aged longer, there must have an age statement on the bottle. Bourbons are distilled from at least 51% Corn. And THAT makes the difference. Corn distillation produces a sweeter tasting Bourbon Whiskey while Rye presents as zestier.
For that answer, we turn to Shane Fitzharris, Executive Vice President of Global Sales for Templeton Rye Spirits. "With the growth of American Whiskey both home and abroad, every home bar, be it big or small should always have a staple American Rye Whiskey to drink neat, over ice or in their favorite cocktails. Because Rye Whiskey by its very nature bursts with pepper and spice it makes a perfect companion to all of your classic cocktails such as Old Fashioned, Brooklyn or The Sazerac.”
But why Rye?
Which Rye to buy?
Templeton RyeTempleton, Iowa, yes, Iowa. What you get with Templeton is a thoughtfully crafted Rye that has a delicious warmth, fruity aroma with a satiny finish that won’t shock your taste buds. With this amber goodness, you cannot go wrong.
Monongahela Style Rye WhiskeyThis Pennsylvania classic Rye style was almost lost by shifting labor geography and American history. Founded in Monongahela Valley of Western Pennsylvania, this Rye is spicier, bolder than most modern Ryes. Thanks to the Pittsburgh’s Wigle distillery you can get your hands on this once lost American treasure.
Old Overholt Rye WhiskeyFounded in West Overton, Pennsylvania, in 1810, it is the Great Grandfather of Rye Whiskey. Old Overholt answers all promises on flavor makes no excuses about its presence nor does it apologize for not being cool. Overholt can be acquired in all major liquor outlets. If you’re lucky your Grandparents may still have a bottle in the bottom of their liquor cabinet.
Bulleit RyeA distillery that makes a high Rye Bourbon is the perfect place to get the perfect modern Rye Whiskey. At 90 proof, Bulleit Straight Rye Mash Whiskey isn’t a slap in the face, it’s a pinch from your Nana. Sweet, slightly spicy and ready to make any cocktail amazing – The Rye NOT your Nana.
Aged from 4 – 6 years it does what a Rye is supposed to do, make cocktails taste great at a price anyone can afford.
Clyde May's Straight RyeRye not try something new? Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey is a young Spirit with a background in bootlegging history.
Clyde May was a convicted Alabama bootlegger who managed to make some damn fine Rye back in the day. And thanks to the modern upsurge in craft cocktail and forgotten Spirits, Clyde’s Rye is available for your home bar. You will win over anyone who is Rye curious.
Kilbeggan RyeRye that’s surprising. An Irish distillery produced a Rye-based Irish Whiskey. The Kilbeggan Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland, finalized an experiment- a rare Rye mash that produced a gem of a Spirit. It is a double distilled, 86 proof Kilbeggan masterpiece. It’s a small batch marvel that is a must have for any home bar. Owing a 750ml bottle will cost the same as a nice dinner for one. But impressing your Rye loving friends - priceless!
Of course, there are a metric ton of different Rye Whiskeys out there. To start building you dream home bar, we suggest you also add (at least some of) these:
- WhistlePig 10-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey: If you see it for a good price, buy two bottles.
- Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey: A Louisville classic. Run, don’t walk (or drive) to the liquor store.
- Few Rye Whiskey: This Second City favorite should be first place in any home bar.
- High West Double Rye: This Rye hits like a punch from Clint Eastwood!
- Michter's Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey: A gentle giant that doesn’t cost a lot of beans.
- George Dickel Rye Whisky: Perfect for classic cocktails and modern ones.
Each one goes great on the rocks, neat or in a cocktail. How you and your guests decide to indulge is a matter of personal preference.
If you have a favorite Rye or think we missed one, please let us know. We’ll check it out and add it to our list.