How Whiskey and Bourbon are Made

A bartender makes whiskey and bourbon cocktails

If you’re a whiskey or bourbon lover, then you know that these liquors taste great, and go well with many different foods, for many different occasions. They’re also great on their own after a long day, or to toast a special occasion. But how much do you know about how these liquors are made? Columbia Distributing is a provider of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and we carry a wide variety of products and recognizable brands. Here, we describe the basics of how whiskey and bourbon are created.

The Process of Making Whiskey

Whiskey is one of the world’s most popular spirits. As such, this beverage is made in many different countries, which means no two bottles are the same. Whiskey is made with a variety of malted and regular grains like:

  • Barley
  • Corn
  • Rye
  • Wheat

These grains are made into a grain mash and fermented. Then that fermented mash is strained and the resulting product is distilled. The whiskey is typically stored in charred white oak casks, often sherry casks, and usually is aged for at least three years. Once the aging process is complete, that whiskey will sometimes be diluted or combined with other whiskies to create a final product, then bottled for sale. Depending on how the whiskey is distilled, and where it’s coming from, you’ll experience several unique flavor profiles ranging from fruity with vanilla to a peaty richness. You can drink whiskey neat (meaning without ice), on the rocks, or mix it up in a whiskey cocktail.

The Making of Bourbon

If you’re seeking a liquor with a consistently sweeter flavor profile, then you’ll likely enjoy bourbon, which is a specific variety of whiskey. In general, you’ll find that bourbon has notes of:

  • Caramel
  • Oak
  • Vanilla

You’ll also find other ingredients being added to the mash to add to or highlight certain flavors. A bourbon mash is always at least 51% corn, and once that mark has been met, other grains are added, such as:

  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Wheat

The spice flavors resulting from the grains chosen complement bourbon’s naturally sweeter flavor, giving it a warming sensation that runs through your whole body. Bourbon is aged in new charred oak barrels, and this plays an integral role in flavor development, as no additional coloring or flavors can be added once the bourbon is poured into the barrel. Like other kinds of whiskey, bourbon can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, and included mixed drinks.

Learn About Canadian Whiskey and Other Varieties

Whether you’re a fan of bourbon or prefer a nice glass of some other type of whiskey, Columbia Distributing carries these spirits and many more. With several brands of Canadian whiskey and American bourbon, you’re sure to find a flavor profile to suit your taste. We provide these alcoholic beverages to businesses, ensuring that their shelves are stocked for all seasons. For more information on the products and brands we carry, contact us today.