Category: Spirits

How do you spell whiskey?

How do you spell whiskey?

I know that everyone thinks I only worry about politics. Thankfully, that is simply not true.

Spelling lesson time:

whisky or whiskey?

I know… you thought you’d left spelling lessons behind when you left school! And you’re probably wondering why you should even give a hoot about how to spell the name of my second favorite spirit (yes, tequila is my favorite, but too many bars serve lousy tequila so I need a backup plan).

jameson photoWhy do you need to know how to spell the pride of the Irish isle?
Street cred. That’s why.

Oh, to be sure, the spelling’s not the most important thing about drinking whisky. After all, you don’t have to pass a spelling test before they let you buy a wee dram at the pub. But, as with so much in life, it’s the small things that count. They add up. God is in the details. Or is that the Devil? Either way, you’re covered.

Besides, the answer to “How do you spell whisk(e)y?” is really simple:

Both ways.

But, there is an important distinction between the two. You see, whisky (plural whiskies) shows that the product was made in either Scotland, Wales, Canada or Japan, whereas whiskey (plural whiskeys) shows that it was made in either blessed Ireland or in the greatest country ever: America.

This is the kind of interesting information that you can casually throw into conversation with your friends at the pub. They’ll think you’re a connoisseur. They’ll be impressed. I promise.

If they aren’t impressed then they will think you are a reincarnation of Cliff from Cheers. If you are too young to understand that joke then you need to binge watch Cheers.

As a bonus, here’s another whisky spelling trivia gem for you: Despite what I told you above, the official spelling in America is actually whisky. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decreed it so in 1968. Some distilleries obeyed. Others clung to tradition. And in the whisky world, tradition is important. Much more important than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. jameson photoWhich is why they had to give in and allow American distilleries to choose which spelling they wanted to use, and why you’ll see examples of both spellings on American labels.

In case you are interested, I have a particular fondness for Jameson, Tullamore Dew (often called Tully at many bars), Teeling, and Redbreast but I won’t turn down a Connemara or a Bushmills.

Photo by Wicked Little Cake Company