Whisky is a fabulous drink that has been enjoyed for centuries by the most elegant and stylish of men. The combination of flavour and aroma make it one of the most popular alcoholic beverages around and one that deserves a taste. While many people spend a lot of time thinking about what whisky to try and how they are all made, it is just as vital to learn how to drink it properly. This will help you develop your palate and enjoy the experience much more.
Tips for beginners to whisky drinking
Before we move onto some great whisky drinking tips, it is wise to introduce you to the basics for the newcomers joining the club of this wonderful drink. Firstly, whisky is a drink to be sipped and enjoyed slowly so don’t go necking it in one go like a shot of Sambucca. You need to take time to enjoy the fantastic flavours and combinations the whisky brings to your palette.
Another good tip for total beginners is to not jump straight to the aged single-malts straight away. Although these are great drinks, for the newbie they will probably be too much in terms of that fiery effect (peat) on the palate and may lead to you concluding it’s not the drink for you. If you start with something less aged and smoother, it will benefit you greatly. For beginners, adding a drop or two of water can also help smooth the harshness out and make it more pleasurable. Water can also help open up the flavours too, although many seasoned whisky drinkers would rail against adding water to their dram.
Five great tips on how to drink whisky
Choose your glass carefully: By far one of the best tips for anyone when drinking whisky is to choose your whisky glasses you very carefully. There are a range of different choices on the market from rocks glasses to tulip glasses, and it really does make a difference to how the whisky will taste and smell. You will also enjoy the experience more by using a quality, heavy glass that feels good in your hand.
Use Whisky Stones: For many whisky drinkers, using water or ice in their drink is a real no-no. If this is the case for you, then why not try out some whisky stones? These will do the same job as ice but avoids the watering down effect you get and stops it going too cold. Although you want it chilled, letting a whisky get too low in temperature can affect the taste – whisky stones help avoid that.
Swirl it in the glass before you smell it: The first step once you have your drink ready is to gently swirl it from side to side in the glass. Don’t go too crazy or you will end up spilling it everywhere – just a gentle horizontal action is all that is needed. Doing this will begin to distribute the flavours through the whole of the drink and around the glass, meaning your palate will pick them up better.
Smell before you taste: Once you have opened the whisky’s character a little by swirling the glass, raise the glass to around chin level and smell it. Don’t jam your nose in too close or all you will get is the alcohol. Take a few gentle breaths in through your nose and see if you can pick out the various ingredients. You may smell things like maple or smoke along with other more unusual fragrances in the floral or citrus area. Really take your time to enjoy this – it is very important. Indeed, most master whisky tasters use their nose more than their mouth to appreciate a good dram.
Take a small sip to start with
When you are ready to take your first sip of the whisky in your glass then make it a small sip. This will enable you to focus on whether you like the type you are trying and all the different ingredients within it, such as notes of vanilla or caramel. Don’t take too big a gulp to start with or it will have the opposite effect and flood your taste buds with too much stimulus. After sipping, slowly swirl around the mouth before swallowing for maximum effect.
Learning how to drink whisky is essential
Although it may seem a little over the top to some, learning how to take your whisky in the acceptable manner is a great skill to have. Not only will it help you enjoy your whisky even more and expand your palate, it will also give you great kudos with friends. In addition, if you go to a social situation where this skill may be required, you will be armed with it to avoid any embarrassment.