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Whiskey and rye

(article, Liz Crain)

Kate Hopkins, of the food blog the Accidental Hedonist, is currently working on a book about whiskey. Which means that, like many food bloggers, she's using her blog as a way to work out subjects and sections of her book.
Most recently she's been researching rye whiskey, which she wrote about in a recent post called "The Fall and Rise of Rye." Once upon a time in America, Hopkins writes, rye whiskey was on a par with whiskey, scotch, and bourbon. But since Prohibition, it's been very difficult to find. 

According to Hopkins, rye whiskey was made popular by Scottish and Irish immigrants in Maryland and Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s to late 1800s. Why? Because rye was a prevalent grain in those states, so it was mashed and fermented into alcohol. (Typically, whiskey and bourbon are made with a corn mash.)

"It has only been in the last five years that the demand for true ryes has been on the increase," Hopkins writes. "As the artisanal revolution has migrated from the beer industry into the spirits industry, old and 'authentic' recipes have become desired. People have started demanding authentic spirits in the older recipes. When a cocktail asks for a jigger of rye, no longer is 'Canadian Club' enough to do the trick."
Hopkins' favorite rye whiskey of the moment? Old Potrero, distilled by Anchor Brewing Company (yes, the makers of Anchor Steam beer) in San Francisco.