Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

53 minutes ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Rye Bother? An Inside-The-Barrel Look At American Whiskeys

Sep 9, 2013
Originally published on September 13, 2013 2:18 pm

Ten years ago rye whiskey was on the brink of extinction.

Despite its venerable history as the whiskey made by George Washington, only a handful of distillers were bottling this quintessentially American spirit. And you definitely couldn't order a rye Manhattan at your local cocktail lounge.

My, how times have changed.

Now craft distilleries have popped up across the country devoted solely to making the golden liquor. And hipsters from Brooklyn to San Francisco can impress their friends by commenting on the peppery notes imparted by the rye in their Old Fashioned.

Rye lovers say the whiskey is spicier, edgier and less sweet than bourbon, which is made of corn. But few studies have actually looked at what makes American whiskeys unique — how fermenting rye versus corn changes the taste, aroma and mouth feel of the spirit.

Chemist Thomas Collins is trying to fill in those blanks. He and his team at the University of California, Davis, have analyzed the flavor profiles of about 70 American whiskeys, including 38 bourbons and 10 ryes.

In many cases, Collins says, what matters the most for a whiskey's flavor isn't what grain is in the bottle but where the spirit was produced — and what other whiskeys are made at the distillery.

Through their analysis, Collins and his colleagues discovered about 4,000 unique compounds in the 70 American whiskeys, they said Monday at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Indianapolis.

That's not so surprising. Any beverage that has been roasted, fermented and then aged in oak barrels is bound to serve up a sensory smorgasbord of compounds.

But when Collins and his team whittled down the list to about 30 to 50 critical flavors in each whiskey, a surprising pattern emerged.

Rye and bourbons made at the same distillery had flavor profiles that looked more similar to each than to other ryes and bourbons, respectively. In other words, each distillery left a stronger fingerprint on the spirit's character than the grain did.

In contrast, the ryes made at operations that don't also produce bourbon had a unique flavor profile distinct from corn whiskeys.

Why? Collins isn't exactly sure, but he thinks a big reason is that the dominating flavors in American whiskeys come from the wood, not the grains or the yeast.

All bourbons — and most ryes — are aged in oak wood barrels that are charred to release an array of flavor compounds. Think vanilla flan, burnt caramel and smoky wood. These compounds seep into the whiskey as the spirit sits in the barrels. If distillers are aging their rye whiskeys in the same type of barrels that they use for their bourbons, then the two liquors wind up with a similar flavor profile.

"When you look at the unaged whiskeys, then you can see the difference between rye and corn bourbons," Collins says. "But once the spirit is put into the barrels, the wood compounds dominate the flavors that come from the grains."

"Craft distilleries — or ones that just focus on making rye — must be doing something different in terms of the aging or the distilling process," Collins says, to get a unique character to their ryes.

Another factor blurring the line between whiskeys is the fact that many ryes don't actually have that much more — er, rye in them than corn, says Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Va.

By law, rye whiskeys must contain at least 51 percent rye. The rest can be corn, wheat or any other grain. The same goes for bourbons, except they need to be 51 percent corn.

"The vast majority of Tennessee bourbon and rye on the market are some mixture of rye and corn together," Harris tells The Salt. "Sometimes it's disclosed. Sometimes it's not."

Recently, more craft distillers — like WhistlePig in New York, Old Potrero in San Francisco and the shop Harris runs with his wife — are starting to make 100 percent rye whiskeys. Then the difference between bourbon and rye becomes crystal clear, says Harris.

"When I taste 100 percent corn bourbon, it tastes like Halloween candy corn. It's super sweet, with almost a caramel-type flavor," he says. "With a whiskey that's 100 percent rye, there's not as much upfront sweetness. And there's a white pepper note at the end that really distinguishes rye from corn."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.