Regardless of what spelling you use (whisky vs. whiskey), generally, whisky is a spirit made from fermented grain mash. The specific grain used, such as rye, wheat, barley or corn, depends on the final variety. Each type completely differs from the next because every country's regulations shape the production process. Scotch must be aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels, while U.S. bourbon is required to contain at least 51 percent corn and is aged in charred, new oak barrels. With all the rules, varieties and classifications, navigating the vast, complex world of whisky (and whiskey) can be difficult. Food & Wine's guide helps you discover more about what you're drinking with easy-to-understand information and delicious recipes.

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Northern Standard

This drink is even better a Manhattan, thanks to three different bitter elements. Created by mixologist James Ives, the Northern Standard is a full-flavored cocktail that uses Knob Creek rye aged in charred barrels to balance out the richness of Carpano. Equally strong as it is smooth.
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The Smallest Whisky Bar on Earth Is as Magical as It Sounds

Nestled in an Alpine village, the tiny space has five stools and hundreds of the world's best whiskies.
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People Sleep in Tents for a Chance to Buy This Rare Whiskey

The annual release of Snowflake whiskey from Denver distillery Stranahan’s draws hundreds of loyal fans.
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Big-Batch Rye Sours

Hibiscus flowers, curaçao, and lemon juice bring bright and refreshing floral notes to this rye-based cocktail.
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5 Unexpected Cheese and Whiskey Pairings

Wine and cheese pairings get all the love—it’s time to switch it up.
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The Best Juleps for Your Derby Party

More than 127,000 juleps are served at the Kentucky Derby each year. You can make at least one. 
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More Whisky

5 Ways Modern Whiskey Makers Are Bending the Rules

Steeped in tradition, the rules surrounding whiskey are strict. Yet today's makers are taking some new (and delicious) liberties
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5 New Whiskies That Are Worth Your Money

Liquor stores are constantly inundated with new brands of whiskey. Whether it’s a recently launched boutique brand or “hand-crafted” bourbon, a new bottling from one of the big guys or a questionably flavored expression, there’s no shortage of new whiskies to try.From bourbon and rye to Scotch and Japanese whisky, the category continues to not only expand to include new types of whiskey, but also to experiment within these established categories. Sometimes that means altering the types of casks the whiskey is aged in; other times the amount of time it spends in a barrel is shifted.It can be difficult to figure out which new bottlings are worth your hard-earned buck. You wouldn’t want to drop $80 and end up with a whiskey that you’ll only drink when the rest of your stock is out, right?Rest assured, these brand spankin’ new bottles of Scotch, Irish whiskey, rye and bourbon will satisfy any kind of whiskey-tooth.This piece originally appeared on Liquor.com.