Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 3, 2011

Libation Education: Irish Whiskey vs. American Whiskey

I've only recently become a fan of whiskey, and I'm still learning the differences amongst all those delicious amber spirits out there.  So what's the deal with Irish versus American whiskey?  Is there really a difference?  Well, here's the simple Lush Chef explanation...

The primary difference is that the Irish make their whiskey with barley, often a blend of pot-stilled malted and un-malted whiskey.  Us Americans make ours with corn, rye or wheat.  There are 4 different kinds of American whiskey - Bourbon, Tennessee, Rye and American Blended, but we'll get into those differences on another day.  When all those Irish immigrants came over to the States, there was a plethora of corn, so they made do with what they had.

Irish whiskey tends to have a barley/malt flavor and is lighter and less sweet than the American full-bodied version.  The Irish also age their whiskey in old barrels, and often in ones that used to store another type of liquor like rum or bourbon, thus the subtle differences in flavor amongst whiskeys from the same distillery.  Using these older barrels means the whiskey takes longer to mature (minimum of 3 years), whereas us Americans like everything shiny, new and fast.  We age our spirits in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years, so we don't have to wait as long for the good stuff.