The Rise of Rye - 5 Great Rye Whiskeys for Summer

The Rise of Rye - 5 Great Rye Whiskeys for Summer

For many years, bourbon has been America's choice of Whiskey. Corn, the principal ingredient in bourbon mash, is both inexpensive and plentiful, assuring a steady supply of Kentucky bourbon to the people. Little known fact, though - prior to US government subsidization of corn during the first and second world wars, rye whiskey was the spirit of choice in America. In fact, many popular cocktail recipes like the whiskey sour were actually converted from rye to bourbon as bourbon's popularity continued to rise. Cask Cartel offers a wide selection of rye whiskeys from around the world.

For the past few years, American rye whiskey has seen a bit of a renaissance, and Cask Cartel offers a wide selection of ryes from around the world. Mixologists and bartenders are incorporating bourbon's spicier, dryer cousin into a new generation of rye cocktails, and the spirit has also gained popularity straight up or on the rocks as a sipping whiskey. To get a handle on this oft-misunderstood spirit, we must first understand the difference between rye and bourbon.

Differentiating between different types of whiskey almost always comes down to the same thing - what’s in the mash? Mash is the blend of grains that compose the main ingredient in whiskey. These grains are heated and various methods are used to encourage the breakdown of starches into sugars, all of which are part of the fermentation process. When it comes to bourbon, corn is the main ingredient in the mash. For a whiskey to be legally considered bourbon in the United States, the mash must contain at least 51% corn.


Rye, on the other hand, fittingly enough uses a grain called rye (the same grain used to create rye bread), and, rye mash must legally contain at least 51% rye grain.

Scientific details are great and all, but what about the thing most of us care about - taste? As we know, the whiskey flavor palette ranges all over the place, but generally rye whiskey presents a drier, spicier alternative to the inherent sweetness of bourbon. Try switching out your favorite bourbon-based cocktails recipes for one of these great rye whiskeys and you will not be disappointed.

Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whiskey

Named to commemorate the first year of the famous Pendleton Roundup Rodeo, Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whiskey is a unique rye whiskey that features a rare 100% rye grain mash. Aged for a minimum of 12 years, Hood River Distillers brings us a spicy, peppery whiskey with lots of heat and notes of tobacco, oak and butterscotch. From its name and history to the saddle tooling and bucking horse on the label, this rye is all about the rodeo.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Whisky

Speaking of bucking horses, High West Yippee Ki-Yay Whisky is another bottle with a rodeo-centric label. This blend of straight rye whiskeys is unique, setting itself from the pack by aging fine rye whiskey in barrels that formerly housed vermouth and syrah wine. When these aged whiskeys are blended together, something entirely new is created, with cinnamon and cherry flavors leading the way into a spicy berry finish that’s great for sipping.

Rebel Yell Rye Whiskey Small Batch

A straight rye whiskey with enough moxy to hold up to even the most stringent classic cocktails, Rebel Yell Rye Whiskey Small Batch is made in limited quantities to assure you’re getting the most consistent experience every time. A sweet chocolate nose gives way to flavors of mild flavors of wood and a surprisingly sweet and spicy palette with a warm finish. As unpretentious as it gets, Rebel Yell is a classic American Rye.

Bob Dylan | Heaven's Door Straight Rye Whiskey

When MGP partnered with Bob Dylan to create Heaven's Door Straight Rye Whiskey, they decided to try and create something unique in the whiskey world - a straight rye whiskey finished in toasted oak cigar barrels that were air-dried in the low-lying Vosges region of France. This proprietary finishing process results in a smooth, spicy rye with notes of wheat, nutmeg and hay. This rye can take you right up to Heaven’s Door, but it’s up to you to knock.

Bulleit Straight Rye Mash Whiskey

Experts call this a “high-rye” whiskey, but that’s an understatement - with a 95% rye to 5% barley mixture, Bulleit Straight Rye Mash Whiskey is just about as rye heavy as it gets. But don’t be fooled - it’s actually the top-secret, proprietary yeast strain that Bulleit uses to ferment their whiskeys that gives this rye its unique character. Look for an exceptionally long, smooth finish, preceded by a flavor profile rich in vanilla and tobacco notes.


Following whiskey trends can be just like following music - sometimes you’re into the flavor of the month, sometimes you want an old classic. With this list of outstanding rye whiskeys, you summer cocktail playlist will keep you nodding your head, tapping your toes, and sipping from your glass all summer long.

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