Think you know a thing or two about whiskey? Then prepare to have your knowledge tested as the "Whiskey Institute" comes to Charleston Sept. 11 and 12.
Whiskey has more to it than you might think; such as you don't have to drink it covered with cola or slug it straight from the bottle, nor do you have to be wearing overalls and sitting in a rocking chair to enjoy it. Whiskey is more than just a liquor; it is America's only native spirit, with a history in this country dating back over two centuries.
The name whiskey is derived from old Gaelic and literally means "water of life." Bourbon, a particular variety of whiskey that can, by definition, only be produced here in the ol' U.S. of A., has over 200 identifiable flavor descriptors.
Corn-based methods for making whiskey were first adapted as early as 1775 and still continue to this day, with nearly 95 percent of American-made bourbon hailing from Kentucky.
Tennessee whiskey, such as Jack Daniel's, is whiskey that has been steeped through 10 feet of crushed sugar maple charcoal. This extra step in the distillation process differentiates it from other bourbon.
Woodford Reserve claims the prestigious and complicated title of "the oldest, newest, slowest, smallest distillery in the country." Woodford Reserves Distillery dates all the way back to 1812. It is the only distillery in the world to use copper pot stills to produce their hand-bottled bourbon whiskey at careful, but deliberate pace.
Lucky for us, these two whiskey institutions are joining forces in Charleston to host the Whiskey Institute on Sept. 11 and 12. Master Distiller of Jack Daniel's Distillery, Jimmy Bedford, and the Distillery Manager Dave Scheurich of Woodford Reserve Distillery are coming to town to lead a series of functions, all pertaining to the wonderful world of whiskey.
The "Men of Whiskey" will explain how to properly enjoy a premium whiskey and elaborate on the countless possibilities and applications of America's native spirit.
The event will be a two-part affair, aimed at enlightening both regular consumers and those in the service industry about the intricacies of whiskey and how to properly enjoy and evaluate it, whether by itself or in a variety of recipes.
If gulping moonshine is your idea of enjoying a drink, then the Whiskey Institute might not be for you. But if you love fine cuisine and a good glass of whiskey straight up, then mark your calendars for the four-course whiskey dinner hosted by Peninsula Grill on Sept. 12. Not only will the dinner feature a variety of dishes prepared with both whiskeys, it will also include an interactive discussion with Scheurich and Bedford and a tasting of the best each label has to offer.
"There is a nice culinary connection with premium bourbons and food," says Scheurich. The whiskey experts plan on explaining just how the spirit can be infused with foods to bring out the many levels of flavors within, some of which include vanilla, cherry, apple, chocolate, citrus, and caramel.
On Sept. 11 and 12 there will also be whiskey training sessions at the Planter's Inn for Charleston's top chefs and bartenders in which the two whiskey aficionados will elaborate on the complexities and numerous applications of the liquor.
"Charleston has a tremendous historic past, and Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel's both have historical pasts and are historic landmarks, making this a great venue to speak at," says Scheurich.
So whether you want to don your thinking cap or your drinking cap, get ready, because the Whiskey Institute is coming to intoxicate you with knowledge.