The drinking of whiskey has become an iconic sight in films and TV programmes alike over the years, with men, in particular, often seen agreeing big business deals over a glass on the rocks or looking to their drinks cabinet for the perfect remedy to a stressful day. Reminiscent of the gentleman’s clubs of times gone by, it’s portrayed as a distinctly ‘manly’ pursuit, but in 2021, just as many women are enjoying a whiskey-based tipple as the spirit makes its way into an increasing array of creative drinks and cocktails.
Enjoying a good whiskey might seem as simple as pouring your favourite over some ice and kicking back in your favourite chair, but in actual fact, there is an art to enjoying the perfect glass, and according to the experts, this classy drink should be treated with the utmost respect in order to enjoy it to its full potential. No matter how many bottles you currently have stacked up in your drink’s cabinet, there is always something new to learn, and a few simple tips will help you to elevate your whiskey drinking experience to whole new heights. Drinking whiskey is about much more than the drink itself, and in fact, is an entire lifestyle.
The simplest way to enjoy your whisky is neat, cleansing your palate with cool water between sips
We asked the experts at Whiskey Rocks to share all of the things you need to know to make the most of the nectar.
Back to basics
Believe it or not, there is a certain etiquette involved when it comes to drinking whiskey, and getting it wrong could cause all manner of embarrassment in an important social or business situation. If you’re the one doing the serving, then the first rule of thumb is to ensure that you do so in the right glasses. Serving from a crystal decanter into matching crystal glasses is the traditional and most sophisticated way to go about it, and makes for an all-round more enjoyable drinking experience, too. You can even customise them for your use – they offer a better presentation than cloudy shot glasses and green bottles and will win you respect from the word go.
The simplest way to enjoy your whiskey is neat with a side of water, which is used to cleanse your palate between sips. You might also like to add a few drops of your water to the whiskey itself, as this can help to open up the flavours – but be careful, if doing so and add the water little by little, as pouring in too much can ruin the experience.
Whisky – or whiskey, depending on where it’s from – is a complex spirit full of flavour
Of course, you can always add ice instead and enjoy your whiskey on the rocks – but be warned that if you’re too over-enthusiastic with the cubes then this can significantly alter the taste.
The art of tasting
When it comes to the drinking itself, there is an art to that, too. Some whiskeys can be surprisingly strong, but avoid coughing when you take a sip as this won’t do much to help you uphold your carefully cultivated reputation as a whiskey connoisseur. Instead, get a feel for your whiskey first. Inhale deeply, with your nose around two inches from your glass to awaken your senses and prepare your mind and body for what’s to come. It will release the aromas and allow you to pick out certain elements, much like during wine tasting. Most whiskeys are complex, and simply swigging and swallowing is to do them a disservice – you wouldn’t dream of doing so with a fine vintage of wine, so show your whiskey the same respect to enjoy it to its full potential.
Whiskey history is a long, adventurous story
As you take each sip, allow the whiskey to come into contact with each of your tastebuds and note the different flavours and tastes you experience. Sipping should be done in a slow and considered manner, so be prepared to take your time. Drinking whiskey slowly in such a way is a sociable way to enjoy a drink – after all, the goal here is not to get drunk, but to fully appreciate a complex and luxurious spirit that you’ve no doubt paid good money for. So, now that you’re fully clued up on how to make the most of yours, it’s time to arrange that post lockdown evening of drinks with friends.