Rye was the first whiskey made in America. Rye was the grain. When [production] got to Kentucky, it switched to corn, to make bourbon and whiskey. Rye has to be at least 51% rye, it has to be the majority grain. Bourbon has to be at least 51% corn.
How long have you been distilling whiskey?
I started in 1954. It’ll be 57 years in September, when Wild Turkey was founded. To me it’s not work. I have my son, Eddie, working with me, and he’s been with me for 31 years. We’ve been in the biz for a long, long time.
What are the best uses for rye?
It’s best in cocktails. It’s more spicy, more peppery, more earthy… and not as sweet as bourbon. It’s what they’ve always used in cocktails: Manhattans, Old-fashioneds. It’s made a big comeback recently with the young people and the mixologists.
Can you give me your favorite rye recipe?
A Manhattan is excellent, but I like a bourbon sour. It’s got citrus flavors and to me, it’s an excellent hot weather drink. I’m not even sure of the ingredients!
Like your drinks made with rye or bourbon? Let us know in the comments.