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Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock the past 5 years has noticed the parallel between the explosion in popularity among shows like Mad Men or Boardwalk Empire and the rising popularity of whiskey among Americans far and wide. Of course, the connection is pretty obvious. I’ll be the first to admit it – after watching Don Draper swagger around Sterling Cooper Draper Price sipping some good ‘ol brown water, it’s easy to believe that just a swig of whiskey can magically transform you into the coolest person in the room. Unfortunately, whiskey can be pretty intimidating for some people. And most of the intimidation comes from the slew of myths surrounding our favorite drink. Whether it be “only men drink whiskey” or “my palate isn’t sophisticated enough”, we are here to say that we are sick and tired of hearing all the bullshit excuses. So we’re here today to debunk some of the pathetic myths surrounding whiskey using some words of wisdom from Noah Rothbaum, the author of “The Art of American Whiskey”, whom Business Insider first asked to address some of these misconceptions.
Myth #1: All bourbons have to come from Kentucky
We are going to get right into things and start with the myth that gets us ranting and raving – bourbon does NOT, I repeat, does NOT have to be made in Kentucky. By law, bourbon has to be made in America and unless we completely slept through 5th grade history, America has much more to it than just Kentucky. The other defining point of bourbon is that it must be at least 51% corn. Sure, the majority of bourbon is still made in Kentucky because that’s where the biggest bourbon companies are, but many other states produce excellent bourbons. Let’s look at the most obvious example – Lost Repub is located smack dab in the middle of California wine country and it is the best damn bourbon around.
Myth #2: The older the whiskey, the better
This misconception about whiskey has been around for as long as we can remember. In America, people have been trained to believe that older is better and that age is an important marker of quality. Well, according to our friend Noah, there’s actually a finite number of years you can age whiskey. He says that if aged too long, the whiskey can end up tasting too “woody” from the wood from the barrel. And of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There are indeed, very old 20-year old whiskeys that are worth the big bucks. But there are so many more whiskeys under 20-years old that are just as good.
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Myth #3: Whiskey is a man’s drink
Every whiskey-lovin lady has heard this excuse from their girlfriends and, man, does it get our panties in a twist. This is the most ridiculous fallacy we have ever heard. If a lady wants to treat herself to a Manhattan or two after a long day, so be it! This is one of those stupid culturally-manifested things that formed over time for a myriad of unexplained reasons. Well ladies, listen up, next time someone gives you a weird look for ordering a whiskey neat, tell them this: women are actually better tasters of flavor and have a better palate than men. Therefore, if anyone should be enjoying a rich spirit like whiskey it should be the ladies. Round of applause for that.
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Myth #4: Whiskey is a winter drink
Okay, whoever came up with this one has obviously never had themselves a Mint Julep or a Kentucky Mule on a hot and humid summer day. Those of us who have know that whiskey can actually be very refreshing. So don’t be shy stocking up on Lost Repub in the middle of June, all the haters are missing out.
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Myth #5: Never add anything to whiskey
Ask your grandfather to put an ice cube in your next glass of Lost Republic and chances are, he is going to disown you. This is because a lot of people (especially those of the older generations) are extremely adamant about not adding water or ice to whiskey. They insist it dilutes the drink and infers that you are, for lack of a better word, a wuss. Well, according to our whiskey expert Mr. Rothbaum, adding a little H2O actually opens the whiskey to release more flavors and aromas. Same thing goes for an ice cube (obviously the Whiskey Wedge and ice cube blocks wouldn’t be selling so well if it diluted the drink). But when it comes to ice cubes, always remember the bigger, the better.
So, if you are one of those people who has used one of these excuses to run away from your fear of whiskey, today’s the day to go out, stock up on some Lost Republic, and pop your whiskey cherry. And try not to be too hard on yourself when you find out what you’ve been missing out on your entire life.