There is really no shortage of “drinking days” that are celebrated around the world. There are days dedicated to cocktails like margaritas or mules, and days dedicated to different kinds of beer. And then there is International Whiskey Day, which just may be the best day of all.
You may be thinking, any day that I have an excuse to enjoy a beverage is a good day; what makes International Whiskey Day so special? For starters, it doesn’t have the same hype as other drinking days. There aren’t the same pre-conceived notions on how to celebrate the day, so you can make it your own. In other words, you can get a buzz without all the buzz.
There is also just a lot to appreciate about whiskey. From strict legal requirements on what makes bourbon, bourbon, to creative nuances in blended whiskies, the spectrum of flavors runs the gamut. That means, whether sipping it neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, there is something for everyone.
If you’re new to whiskey, or just looking to increase your knowledge a bit, Thrillist has a great overview of the characteristics of bourbon, rye, Canadian whiskey, Scotch, Irish whiskey and Japanese whiskey. Understanding the general flavor profiles will help you narrow your focus when you hit the liquor store and see shelf after shelf of options.
When it comes to selecting an actual bottle to try, the choices can be overwhelming. But, exploring different whiskies is half the fun! Still, for a little guidance you can peruse this list of “50 whiskies you need to try in your life.” It has a great range of brands you’ve definitely heard of and ones that may not be on your radar. To branch out even further, check out this list of whiskies from places you may not associate with whiskey, such as South Africa, Sweden and India.
Whiskey is also an ingredient in some of the most popular, time-honored cocktails in the world. Classics like the old-fashioned, Sazerac and Rob Roy are all whiskey-based. It’s hard to beat a whiskey sour on a warm day, and a Kentucky mule with bourbon and spicy ginger beer has become a standard on cocktail menus.
However you enjoy (or spell) whiskey, we hope you raise a glass with friends on International Whiskey Day!