Come. Sit down. Share a dram with me.
If you’re not sure what a dram is, it’s time to learn my friend, because July 27 is National Scotch Day. If you don’t know anything about Scotch, get ready, because here’s the basics so you can indulge without sounding like a amadan (That’s Scottish Gaelic for fool).
A dram is the unit of drink when drinking Scotch whiskey (henceforth referred to simply as Scotch). As in, “Let’s have a dram and talk,” or “Pour me a dram, will ya?” But a fair warning, don’t order a dram of anything at your local dive bar, unless you like being looked at like you’re speaking a foreign language.
Like many things in life, Scotch has rules. To be considered a Scotch, a spirit must be made of malt whiskey or grain whiskey (or a blend of the two) distilled in Scotland. If it’s not made in Scotland, it’s not Scotch.
Scotch must also be originally made malted barley, although other grains can be added later, and it must be aged in oak barrels (not pine or maple or cherry) for at least three years.
Scotch has to have an alcoholic strength per volume of 40 percent, not to exceed 94.8 percent. This means Scotch runs between 80 Proof and 189 Proof. Hint: there is no weak Scotch.
Scotch comes in five different varieties, which on the surface seem rather confusing, but we’ll break it down for you.
So, in a nut shell, when a Scotch is single, it means it was made at one distillery, not that it’s looking for a date on Saturday night. When it’s blended, it’s from multiple distilleries, kind of like a blended family where love actually exists. When it’s a malt Scotch, it’s made only from barley mash, you won’t find ice cream floating in your glass. When it’s a grain Scotch, the mash is made of barley and at least one other grain. This one gets to stand alone because hopefully you won’t misinterpret it.
Now, get ready for National Scotch Day and have a drink (or two) with a friend. And when you do, tweet about it with the hashtag #NationalScotchDay to share the love!