Like bourbon, its sweeter counterpart, rye is a quintessentially American type of whiskey. Although there are Canadian ryes, they can be quite different from those made in the United States. (They even spell "whiskey" differently as "whisky.") Federal law requires that rye whiskey must be made from a mash containing at least 51 percent rye grain, distilled to no more than 160 proof and aged in charred, new oak barrels. If the spirit is aged for at least two years, it can be further designated as "straight rye whiskey."
Many of the selections on GAYOT's list of Top 10 Ryes have been aged considerably longer. Enjoy the recent rye renaissance by downing these fine whiskeys straight, or harken back to their heyday and mix them in a Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned.