Whiskey 101

Whiskey in Durham is a liquid library of sorts, boasting roughly 300 different whiskey options, one of the largest selections in the state, in fact.

Whether you’re a beginner and would benefit from a flight of whiskeys priced $10–$22 to discover which style pleases your palate or fancy a $1,000 bottle, there’s a type everyone can enjoy, says owner Rhys Botica.

“Bourbon whiskey is a very social drink that allows you to interact, sip and enjoy,” he said.

Just like wine or beer, whiskey has its own nuances and notes. What can affect the flavor are the barrels they are aged in, the length of time it’s aged and added ingredients to the corn, barley and rye based spirit.

Bottom line: Whiskey has to be aged a minimum of two years, the barrels are only used once and the water is traditionally filtered through limestone, says Botica, because that’s how water was purified in Kentucky, considered the homeland of American whiskey.

Pop culture influences like AMC’s Mad Men and HBO’s prohibition drama Boardwalk Empire has definitely influenced more patrons to try whiskey, said Botica.

“We definitely selling more highball sets, pre-prohibition drinks and signature cocktails,” he added.

Although most whiskeys are made in United States, Canada, Scotland and Ireland, Botica said Japan has a great whiskey called Suntory that’s also on the menu

“They have been making whiskey for more than 100 years,” he said.

For a small member’s fee, patrons can also enjoy a selection of cigars as Whiskey is one of the few cigar bars left in town and recently opened a VIP room upstairs above the bar that is available for private parties up to 300 people. Wine and beer — 16 North Carolina drafts on tap in fact — are also available.

With its cozy tavern ambiance with leather couches to lounge and enjoy a drink with friends, Whiskey is a quiet retreat until around 9 p.m. when there’s live jazz by the Brian Horton Trio on Thursdays and pianist Ryan Hanseler performs 7–10 p.m. on Saturdays.

For more information, visit www.whiskeydurham.com.

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