If we had a nickel for every time we’ve gotten in an argument with somebody over the proper spelling of whisk(e)y, we’d probably have enough money to buy a bottle by now. So it’s time to set the record straight. You needn’t argue with your buddies anymore — here’s the lowdown on the age-old whiskey vs whisky debate.
Put bluntly, there’s absolutely no difference between the two aside from spelling. Whiskey and whisky are the same thing — they both refer to the delicious distilled booze made from fermented grain mash, and aged in oak barrels for an impossibly long time. However, it’s also worth mentioning that certain regions prefer different spellings, and since different areas produce different styles of whiskey, this can sometimes lead to confusion.
Generally speaking, distillers from Great Britain, Canada, and Japan all tend to prefer “whisky”, whereas “whiskey” is typically more common in the US, Ireland, and just about everywhere else. It’s not always that clear cut though — there are some American brands (such as Makers Mark) that opt out of the “e”, just as there are a handful of Canadian and British whiskies that opt into it.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re drinking whisky or whiskey — it’s going to be delicious no matter what. If you’re sharp, you might be able to figure out the region a particular whiskey comes from based on the spelling on the label, but this a shaky foundation to make a guess on. It’s best to go off of taste anyway. Give ‘er a sip and let you tongue figure out the country of origin — it’s way more fun that way.