|White Whiskey © 2016|
One of the trendy novelty products to hit the craft distilling market is white whiskey. However, you might already be acquainted with white whiskey via its older, more commonly known aliases -- White Dog, White Lightening or Moonshine. Both white whiskey and moonshine are clear distilled grain spirits, but for a whiskey lover there are some crucial distinctions between the two products.
Moonshine carries the connotation of being made illegally, thus some producers have found success marketing spirits under this term. They bank on the added element of romance and danger that comes from drinking a spirit with a notorious name. However, "moonshine" products, whether made in a backwoods still or sold in your local grocery store, do not have much going for them besides their high alcohol content and their lumbersexual name.
Barrel aging is what gives conventional whiskeys of all varieties their flavor and color. Both moonshine and white whiskey lack the strong flavor and color of a traditional whiskey. However, whereas moonshine is completely un-aged, white whiskey is not. Thus, moonshine is harsh on the palate and lacks the any complex character. On the other hand, craft distilleries selling white whiskey take an extra step to mellow and flavor their spirits. Their subtle flavors make white whiskeys smooth and subtly sweet when sipped straight up or on the rocks, and has made this spirit a favorite ingredient in craft cocktails.
Some distillers use charcoal to temper the harsh bite of un-aged white whiskey, a job that the barrel aging takes care of in traditional whiskeys. Others age the whiskey for a short period of time in white oak barrels, giving white whiskey a light and sweet vanilla flavor—like a light bourbon.
If you are a Colorado whiskey lover looking to try a white whiskey, check out a few of my favorite varieties from local distilleries:Distillery 291, Fresh (un-aged, mellowed with charcoal)
Colorado Springs, CO
Deerhammer, Whitewater Whiskey (lightly aged in oak barrels)
Buena Vista, CO
KJ Wood, Dead Drift (no information about processing)