Whiskey & Bourbon: Are They the Same Thing?

A person walks into a bar and sits on a stool. The bartender asks the classic question, “What’ll you have?” You have a choice to make. You might order your favorite drink – say, a martini or a gin and tonic. Or you might be a bit more vague and say, “I’ll have a whiskey,” or “Give me a shot of bourbon.” After all, whiskey and bourbon are interchangeable, right? Aren’t they the same thing?

No. They are decidedly NOT the same thing.

Whiskey is a generic term for alcoholic liquor that’s made from fermented mashed grains. Think of whiskey as an overall term like soda. Just as there are many types (cola, ginger ale, lemon-lime, soda water, tonic water, club soda, and root beer) and brands (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, A&W, 7Up, etc.) of soda, there are many types of whiskey. Nine, in fact. They are:

  • Rye
  • Canadian
  • Japanese
  • Bourbon
  • Tennessee
  • Irish
  • Scotch
  • Blended
  • Single Malt

So you can see that bourbon is a specific type of whiskey. What makes bourbon different is that at least 51% of its makeup has to come from corn. And, to be called bourbon, it must be made in the United States of America. About 95% of all bourbon is made in Kentucky. And here’s another fun fact: a brand new barrel has to be used every time bourbon is aged. That’s right – it’s a one-time use kind of thing.

FYI – The bourbon barrels don’t get thrown out, though. They are sold to whiskey makers, tequila distilleries, and craft breweries. Those companies use them to add that distinctive bourbon flavor to their products.

At K-9 and Coffee Lounge, we’ve created our own special blend of bourbon that is infused with walnut, pecan, coffee, and vanilla, and we age it in our own oak-charred barrels (single use, of course!).

In addition, we offer 70 kinds of whiskey so you’re sure to find a new favorite. To help you decide, we offer bourbon flights – a selection of 4 different brands for you to sample.

We also offer something different: smoked bourbon. This new twist adds robust layers of flavor that people love. And, to enhance your enjoyment and elevate the experience, we offer a fine selection of cigars. If you’re not sure which one to pick, we can recommend a cigar that pairs well with the bourbon of your choice.

Many of our customers who enjoy bourbon have joined our exclusive Bourbon Club. Members of this elite group get discounts on drinks as well as their own engraved decanter, a 2-liter barrel, and a nosing glass plus invitations to special bourbon tasting events.

The next time you’re passing by, stop in for a drink. When the bartender asks, “What’ll you have?” ask for one of our favorites: WhistlePig Boss Hog Siren Song or Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey. Or, you could order one of the flights we offer. Soon enough, you’ll be an expert and we’ll overhear you making recommendations to your friends. Cheers!