If whiskey-making were a soap opera, this would be the moment in the plot when the gentle but worn-down sweetheart (played by corn), is left for the sultry, spicy first love (played by rye).
Lucky for us, this drama isn't on TV; it's real--and drinkable. Rye whiskey sales have tripled in the last five years, convincing storied corn-loving distillers from Knob Creek to Woodford Reserve to George Dickel to hop on the bandwagon. Here's your crib sheet.
What to buy: A wealth of rye has flooded the market recently (see the slide show). Of the newer brands, we're partial to the product by Tennessee whiskey maker George Dickel, which launched in November. At $27 for 750ml, it's an everyday rye that still has fruity nuance and sharp edges.
How to drink it: Classicists should enjoy rye as part of a Sazerac or a Manhattan, but lately we've been turning to brighter mixers. The bittersweet flavor of grapefruit--either fresh-squeezed juice or bitters--rounds out the whiskey's inherent spice, and vinegar shrubs parallel its boozy sharpness.