between whisky (meaning only Scotch whisky or Scotch, or Single Malt) and all other distilled mash drinks which are contained under the rubric "whiskey". Canadian Whiskey is made from rye mash, Moonshine whiskey and Bourbon is made from corn mash. Scotch whisky is made from barley mash. Damn those stiff-necked Scots for complicating a simple designation. I assume you will find this distinction on the bottles at your local purveyor of spirits, unless bottling for the American market has dictated a change on the label. Certainly here in Canada and the UK the distinction is still held to.
Vodka which is a diminutive of the Russian term pizhnitsi voda, or the "water of life" is a grain or sometimes potato based drink not considered a whiskey though I have heard it referred to as "Vitsky Blanc" White whiskey. Slivovits, distilled Plum Brandy is also a "water of life as is the Scandanavian equivalent of Vodka called Akvavit.
Whisky itself originates from the Scots Gaelic "uisghe beatha" pronounced Weeshga Baaa, also meaning Water of life. Irish whisky, or whiskey, I'm not sure which, is also called "Uisghe Beatha". Distilled brandy in France is called "eau de vie". Three guesses what that one means.
The Scottish movie from 1949, and the first movie I ever saw, called Whisky Galore from the Compton Mackenzie novel recounts the semi-true story of the shipwreck in the Hebrides during the Second World War of a ship loaded with whisky to pay for arms and armaments from America. The island had been dry for months. Whisky was strictly rationed because it was one of the few tradeable goods then produced in the British Isles. In the movie, which is an absolute delight, the Island physician played by James Robertson Justice says, "It's a well known medical fact that some people are born two drinks below parrr."
The film was re-titled Tight Little Island for American distribution.
Americans continually flew in plane loads of liquor from Ireland for their troops and civilian personnel, but the British were denied that (by the Irish authorities and their own lack of credit) and had to make do with watery beer and the very occasional, very expensive glass of rationed hard liquor.
From a friend's book on his Irish family I pull the quotation: "The Irish don't know what they want -- and they are willing to fight to the death in order to get it."
New Year's Eve seems like an appropriate time to mention a speech that succinctly illustrates one politicians unwavering principles:
If-by-whiskey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey:
If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.