Here's The Difference Between Bourbon, Whiskey, And Scotch

Who doesn't love a nice, stiff drink in the evening after a hard day's work? And there are a plethora of alcoholic options a consumer can choose from to get the job done: vodka, rum, or whiskey, just to name a few. But some of us are a bit more enthusiastic about our nightcap, especially when it comes to whiskey drinkers. 

As explained by Love to Know, "Whiskey is the main category into which bourbon and Scotch both fall. All bourbons and scotches are whiskeys; not all whiskey is bourbon or scotch." In layman's terms, not all spirits are created equal.

The most basic question to ask to ask yourself is: what is the main difference between scotch, whiskey, and bourbon? There is a lot of information that goes into the answer, such as geography and spelling. For example, Scotch is made in Scotland, while bourbon is a form of whiskey that is made in Kentucky. If you are a bit confused, that is okay; we are going to break it down for you.

There's an art to creating whiskey, scotch, and bourbon

As mentioned, one of the main differences between scotch and whiskey is spelling. Didn't know there would be a spelling test, did you? If you see whiskey listed as ingredient in a drink, this is referring to the American and Irish drinks. While whisky (without the e) refers to spirits made in Scotland, Canada, and Japan, (via Britannica). 

Whiskey is made up of grain mash and must be aged in white oak casks. Scotch must be made in Scotland just like its namesake hints at and is distilled from malted barley and must be aged for at least three years, (via Distiller). It must also be fermented only by adding yeast.

On the other hand, bourbon is distilled from corn, but there is a very technical way to make it correctly. According to the Federal Standards of Identity for Bourbon, there are rigid criteria that stipulate what is and isn't considered bourbon. For a whiskey to call itself bourbon, it must be distilled with at least 51% of corn – this is called the mash, (via World Whiskey Day). The mash then must be distilled at 160 proof, no higher, and put into the charred wooden barrel made of oak at 125 proof.

Here's the best way to drink each spirit

When translated, the words "scotch whiskey" actually means "The Water of Life," (per Scotch Whiskey Experience). Dark spirits have been moving up in popularity throughout the years since you can enjoy bourbon, scotch, or whiskey in many different ways. 

Scotch and bourbon lovers often drink their spirits unsullied. Both refreshments are best known for their strong flavor profile. For the most part, Scotch doesn't mix well with others. However, there is a famed drink, the Rob Roy, which mixes sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters, scotch, and a cherry that's said to be an excellent pairing, (per Vine Pair). 

As for bourbon, it has been reinvented as of recent and has become a collector's item (per Robb Report). There are so many delicious options of whiskey, but bourbon and scotch are by far the two most popular among cocktail enthusiasts. So next time you are reaching for the amber or golden-colored drink, you may want to think twice about the specific flavor you are in the mood for and the type of atmosphere you will be drinking it in. Cheers!