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: Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Bourbon, Alter Ego Rye, and Bourbon 15 Years Old

By Christopher Null | February 22, 2021 |

The Doc Swinson’s Collection is a new brand that’s been making serious waves since it hit the scene. This non-distilling producer’s story begins like many, with the discovery of a few barrels of good bourbon that the company bottled up and sold. Since then, Doc Swinson’s has started bottling older and older stock, and —…

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Review: Copper Fox Inauguration Rye

By Drew Beard | February 18, 2021 |

A handful of craft distillers across the country commemorated the recent presidential inauguration with a special spirits release. Virginia’s Copper Fox Distillery used the moment as an excuse to release its first ever cask strength whisky, dubbed Inauguration Rye. While this is the distillery’s first inauguration release, going forward there are plans to set aside…

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Review: Graverobber Unholy Maple Syrup Flavored Rye

By Christopher Null | February 12, 2021 |

Whoops: Graverobber Unholy Rye, from New Hampshire-based Tamworth Distilling, is intended as an annual autumn release, and here it is, February! That’s on us, but all the same here’s a look at this flavored rye (distilled here, not sourced), which is “infused with maple syrup tapped from graveside maple trees.” Maple-flavored whiskey is great, but…

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Review: Castle & Key Restoration Rye – Batch 1 & 2

By Rob Theakston | February 12, 2021 |

It is finally here. After numerous stop-starts, years of restoration, courtroom battles, personnel changes, delicious gins, waiting for the barrels to age with great patience, and lord knows what else to which the public is unaware, we have whiskey from Castle & Key. For those not watching along at home, allow us to catch you…

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Review: JK Williams Gold Zephyr Bourbon and Stormy River Rye

By Christopher Null | February 8, 2021 |

Did you know: Before 1837 and 1919, Peoria, Illinois was home to 73 distilleries and 24 breweries and was known as the Whiskey Capital of the World. Before Prohibition, Peoria paid more liquor tax than anywhere else. JK Williams was a Peoria-based bootlegger of the time, and last year Andy Faris and Stacy Shunk purchased…

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Review: Mayor Pingree Rye and Bourbon 13 Years Old (2020)

By Christopher Null | February 2, 2021 |

We know Michigan-based Valentine Distilling best for its eponymous vodka, but  the company also produces gin and a number of whiskeys, two of which we review here. What’s in these bottles of “Old Ping,” named after a beloved Detroit mayor who served in the 1890s? We’ll describe each in turn. Mayor Pingree Rye Whiskey (Orange…

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Review: Few Spirits Immortal Rye

By Christopher Null | January 6, 2021 |

For its next trick, Evanston, Illinois-based Few Spirits has dropped Few Immortal Rye, a version of its cask-strength Few straight rye whiskey (70% rye, 20% corn, 10% malted barley) that’s proofed to bottling strength “with cold-extracted “8 Immortals” tea from renowned Denver-based tea purveyor, The Tea Spot. Immortal Rye is thought to be the first…

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Review: Michter’s US-1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye 2020

By Christopher Null | December 26, 2020 |

This 2020 release of Michter’s Toasted Barrel Rye almost slipped through the cracks here at Drinkhacker, but we’re squeezing it in here before the end of the year. This bottling, in line with all the toasted barrel offerings, is made by taking fully matured Michter’s US-1 Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye at barrel strength and…

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Review: Axe and the Oak Colorado Mountain Bourbon and Rye

By Drew Beard | December 17, 2020 |

Axe and the Oak Distillery in Colorado Springs, Colorado began as the passion project of five friends with a love of good whiskey. It’s unclear how many of the original crew are still involved in the whiskey-making today, but for the better part of the last decade the distillery has been turning out bourbon, rye,…

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Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2020 – Barrel Proof Rye

By Christopher Null | December 11, 2020 |

A new Single Barrel Special Release has arrived from Jack Daniel’s, and this 2020 offering is a little different than what JD usually puts out. Namely, it’s not a Tennessee Whiskey but rather a rye, bottled straight from the cask in a single barrel format. A previous version of the Heritage Barrel Release series hinted…

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