A Beginner’s Guide to the Right Way to Drink WhiskeyBy Angelica Malin
“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” Raymond Chandler
The first step in the world of whiskey can be daunting for the uninitiated. Especially, when there are hundreds with strong opinions about the elixir. The liquor brands, varieties and the ways one can drink it can leave the beginners in a hustle. To fall in love with this magic potion, one must acquire its taste and then start experimenting with the ways to drink. This liquid sunshine is a drink like no other, and in the words of Mark Twain “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough”. So, here is a comprehensive guide for the newbies who have just entered the league of drinking whiskey. Choose from the best liquor brands and get started with your journey.
First, Choose Your Drink Vessel!
The presentation can really make a difference, trust us. On your debut, if you think of having your whiskey out of a plastic cup for a Styrofoam glass, you will indeed not have a good experience. Your first encounter with whiskey should be a well planned one. Tulip-Shaped glassware is what we recommended as it really does make a difference. It not only concentrates the vapours and flavours but also allows you to really ‘nose’ the whiskey.
Give it a Neat Beginning
If you are making your debut with the best single malt whiskey, skip adding ice and go for the ‘neat’ route. Many whiskey connoisseurs feel ice can ruin the strong, distinctive flavour of single malt. If going the neat route is not your thing, go for blend instead of single malt. Not liking the taste in the first attempt is totally fine. Pat your back for at least trying the whiskey neat. Try the combinations mentioned below for a warm welcome from the whiskey’s end.
On the Rocks
One of the best ways to treat your palate is by going the ‘On the Rocks’ route. Hold the glass from the bottom and pour whiskey up to the height of two fingers. As a novice, we want you to notice the flavours before you treat your taste buds. Lift the glass to your nose and smell the aroma. Be sure of not bringing the glass too close to the nostrils as you may jam them and won’t notice any of the flavours. Once you are done noticing the flavours, drop 3-4 ice cubes and taste it chilled. When tasted chilled, whiskey flavours taste different.
Add Drops of Water
You must be thinking what a drop of water would do, right? Well, it makes a lot of difference. A little splash of water releases water-repellent (hydrophobic) elements in the glass and allows to detect more aromas on the nose and more flavours on the palate. Use a straw to drop water in your whiskey glass, stir, swirl and take a sip. You will be surprised how a drop of water has changed the taste and aroma. The higher the number of drops, the more diluted your whiskey will become. So, be sure of measuring the water quantity well to maintain the taste.
Try Some Cocktails
If you are still not able to enjoy whiskey with just ice or water, try it in a classic cocktail. Some of the popular whiskey cocktails include Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, Mint Julep, Sazerac, Irish Coffee and Lynchburg Lemonade. All these cocktails have a distinct flavour, and we are sure you might find something that suits your taste buds.
Once you have acquired the taste, try experimenting with different brands. Happy Drinking!