What The Spelling Of 'Whiskey' Reveals About Its Origins

When drinking alcohol, many of us prefer whiskey over any other type of liquor. And it's not a surprise — whiskey is one of the most popular liquors in the world, so smooth you should just drink it straight. A dark-colored spirit that's been distilled and made from grains such as rye, wheat, barley, and corn, per Brittanica, whiskey can be consumed in many ways: straight (ideally), on the rocks, or in cocktails.

Of course, if you like cocktails, you've most likely already ordered a classic whiskey-based libation, such as a Manhattan, whiskey sour, Old Fashioned, or Rob Roy, all of which have a rich history. Interestingly enough, the country with the highest whiskey consumption in the world is India, followed by the U.S., France, and Japan (via Liquor Laboratory). As beloved as the beverage is, there are many confusing words and regulations in the world of whiskey. For example, did you notice that whiskey is sometimes spelled whisky? As you'll see, the spelling reveals a lot about its origins.

'Whisky' is the preferred spelling for Scottish, Japanese, and Canadian spirits

You're probably among many people who've noticed that whiskey is sometimes spelled whisky. How come? Grammarly reveals that whisky (without an E) refers to Scottish, Japanese, or Canadian spirits, while whiskey (with an E) refers to those spirits distilled in the U.S. and Ireland. The plural versions are whiskies and whiskeys, respectively. Both are pronounced the same — just be careful you're reflecting the right country of origin when writing it down. And though each country makes the drink slightly differently, the varying spellings still describe the same overall spirit.

A bit confusing? The etymology is strange, too. Merriam-Webster reports that the distilled spirit "can be traced back to the Medieval Latin phrase aqua vitae, meaning water of life." E or no E, the only thing that matters is that your whiskey is of high quality and tastes exceptional, so why not take a look at the best Scotch whiskies to drink in 2022?