Whisky Advocate

Rye: A History

by David Wondrich

When I began drinking rye whiskey, something like 25 years ago, I was still in my 20s. It’s safe to say there weren’t many like me; the 1980s were the nadir of the spirit’s long and distinguished history and the few companies still making it seemed to be waiting for its last few drinkers to die so that they could discontinue it entirely. I could say I took to it because it was my native whiskey—I was born on the banks of the Monongahela, in the heart of rye country—or because I appreciated its peculiarly sharp, spicy taste. Both true, but mostly I liked it because it was cheap and, truth be told, it sounded old-school and badass to ask a bartender for a shot of rye while all about me were ordering Cape Codders and Long Island Iced Teas.

Rye: A History

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