Gear Patrol: American Single Malt Whiskey Is (Almost) Ready for Prime Time

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Distillers across the country are pushing the boundaries of whiskey-making — one unpredictable bottle at a time.

You don’t need a history degree to get American single malt. But it wouldn’t hurt.

Before the United States even went by that name, the Cherokee and other indigenous tribes made their booze out of fermented plants and berries. Early European settlers used rye, which grew like a weed on the East Coast and imparted delicious flavors of spice to liquor. As Europeans moved westward, they grew corn — another wonderful crop for distilling and drinking. And let’s not forget to mention rum, made cheaply out of molasses down in the Caribbean.

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