While bourbon is considered America’s native spirit, rye was actually the favored whiskey among her earliest colonists and continued to be popular well into the 1800s, especially in northeastern states like Maryland and Pennsylvania. George Washington even famously distilled rye at his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia. By U.S. law, rye whiskey must be made from a mash of at least 51% rye (with corn and malted barley typically rounding out the remainder of the mashbill). Rye must adhere to the same production standards as bourbon: aged in new, charred oak containers, distilled to no more than 160 proof, entered into barrel at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. A straight rye whiskey must be aged for at least two years. Rye whiskey production largely ceased in the U.S. after Prohibition, despite its popularity with America’s nascent cocktail culture at the time — although rye has always been popular in Canada, and rye remains a major component in many Canadian whiskeys today. The resurgence of American whiskey in the late 1990s and an explosion in the popularity of craft cocktails around the same time has launched a revival in rye whiskey production — and consumption — in America.

Top Rye Whiskey Posts:

Knob Creek Rye
WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey 10 Years Old
Woodford Reserve Rye

Review: Wheel Horse Rye Batch 3

By Christopher Null | January 13, 2022 |

In the past we’ve covered the first edition of bourbon and rye from Wheel Horse — sourced from O.Z. Tyler in Owensboro, Kentucky and bottled in Rhode Island. Now the brand is continuing apace with further batches, though there don’t appear to be any changes in the production process. Today we look at Wheel House…

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Review: George Dickel x Leopold Bros Collaboration Blend Rye

By Drew Beard | January 5, 2022 |

This latest limited-edition release from George Dickel flew a bit under the radar this fall, but it’s got quite the backstory. Dubbed George Dickel x Leopold Bros Collaboration Blend Rye, this is, as the name suggests, a collaboration between Tennessee’s George Dickel and Leopold Bros, a Colorado distillery that was one of the earliest craft…

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Review: Sagamore Spirit Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey

By Drew Beard | December 30, 2021 |

We’ve been keeping tabs on Sagamore Spirit, the Baltimore-based rye whiskey producer, since they first hit the shelves in 2016 with an impressive portfolio of contract-distilled offerings. In recent years we were impressed by their ambitious, and sometimes unusual, finishing program that offered up surprisingly enjoyable oddities like a Calvados Finish and even a Tequila…

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Review: Ruddell’s Mill Bourbon, Rye, and Cherries

By Christopher Null | December 29, 2021 |

“The Covered Bridges Whiskey Company” is a New Jersey-based operation making Kentucky whiskey, including a straight bourbon and a straight rye. In other words, while the company has a lush backstory about the value of covered bridges, gristmills, and the history of one Isaac Ruddell, dating back to 1788, this is still all sourced stock…

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Review: WhistlePig “The Boss Hog VIII: LapuLapu’s Pacific” Rye Whiskey 17 Years Old 2021

By Christopher Null | December 12, 2021 |

It’s December, so that must mean it’s time to get down with another release of WhistlePig’s prized Boss Hog, now in its eighth edition: LapuLapu’s Pacific, which is double finished in rum casks. It’s a single barrel release that’s “almost” 18 years old, but still technically a 17 year old bottling. Let’s dig into the…

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Review: Whiskeys of Hudson Whiskey NY, 2021 Releases

By Christopher Null | December 9, 2021 |

Gardiner, New York’s Tuthilltown Spirits is one of the old guard of craft distilling, having been on the scene since 2005 with its Hudson Whiskey brand. The brand’s squat bottles and quirky production techniques — which pioneered miniature barrels and the use of loud music to vibrate barrels in the warehouse — are legendary. Like…

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Review: Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye 10 Years Old and US-1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon 2021

By Drew Beard | November 29, 2021 |

The limited releases just kept on coming this year from Michter’s. Hot on the heels of the 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon and the Barrel Strength Rye, shelves were stocked, however briefly, with the newest 10 Year Old Single Barrel Rye and the eagerly anticipated return of US-1 Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon. Michter’s fans…

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Review: KO Distilling Distiller’s Reserve Rye Bottled-in-Bond and Bare Knuckle Cask Strength High Rye Bourbon

By Drew Beard | November 28, 2021 |

As fall kicked off this year, KO Distillery in Manassas, Virginia announced the release of two new expressions, both of which are meant to satisfy whiskey-drinkers’ growing love of rye (or so says the press release). First up is Distiller’s Reserve Bottled-in-Bond Rye, the follow on to last year’s Distiller’s Reserve Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon made from 100%…

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Drinkhacker’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 25, 2021 |

Ready for Christmas? Ready for Christmas 2023, maybe? Our long day’s journey into night may have continued unabated this year, but we’re hopeful you’ve at least found some ability to get out of the house, maybe take a trip, and reconnect with friends and family this season. Naturally, you’re still not going to be able…

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A Visit to Frey Ranch Distillery

By Monica Uhm | November 17, 2021 |

When Frey Ranch distillery, based in Fallon, Nevada, released their first four-grain straight bourbon in December 2019, we at Drinkhacker were instant fans. (We also reviewed their follow up rye and single barrel bourbon #22). The whiskeys stand on their own merit; and a recent visit to the idyllic working ranch and their first annual Whiskey…

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