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Ask Paul: What is the Difference Between Whiskey and Whisky? and Rum and Rhum?

By Paul Adams Published

Do differently spelled liquors taste different?

MB. asked: Can you explain the difference between whiskey and whisky?

In all that discussion of various kinds of whisk(e)y, I ignored the fact that some whiskey has an “e” in it and some does not.

Here in the U.S., we spell the whiskey we make (including bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, and others) with an “e”. Irish whiskey is spelled the same. But if you pick up a bottle of Scotch, or Japanese Suntory single malt, or Canada’s purple-bagged Crown Royal, you’ll notice it’s labeled “whisky” with no “e”.

These whiskies (that’s how you spell the plural) are all distilled from grain, just like  American ones. They’re just spelled differently due to fanciful quirks of history.

That was a quick answer. So, while we’re here:

Heidi asked: What’s the difference between rum and rhum?

You’ll sometimes see bottles labeled “rhum”: Is it just an affectation, like calling vodka “vhodka”? Is it a national spelling difference for the same thing, like whiskey and whisky?

“Rhum” is the French word for rum, but when it’s spelled that way on a bottle label, it refers to rhum agricole, “agricultural rum,” which is a particular type of the spirit.

Rum is a broad term, referring to liquors derived from the products of the sugar cane industry. When sugar cane is refined into sugar, the main by-product is molasses, and most familiar rums are made by fermenting molasses. An enormous variety of different rums can be made with molasses as a starting point, depending on the process used, the strains of yeast, the distillation method, and the aging.

But you can also make rum from freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, and if you do, you can call it rhum agricole, or rhum for short. It tends to have a more vegetal, herbal flavor than molasses-derived rum. (But things are never that easy: In Brazil, if you make the same sort of spirit, you call it “cachaça.”)

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.