How to (properly) drink whiskey straight
As the popularity of whiskey rises more and more, so do the number of people who disrespect the drink by neglecting to learn how to drink it properly…so, as we always do, we took it upon ourselves to educate the masses. We recommend scotch for this tutorial.
- Pour your whiskey into a glass.
Select a small glass tumbler, such as a lowball glass, to really get the most out of the scent and flavor of the whiskey. Try to avoid using a plastic or polystyrene cup as you might find that materials other than glass impart their own flavor to the whiskey. For a really old-fashioned experience (and if you don’t mind a little metallic flavor), try drinking your whiskey from a tin or copper cup.
A little whiskey goes a long way. Start by pouring yourself 1 finger (about 30-50 mL): wrap your index finger around the bottom of the glass (outside of the glass please!) and pour up to the height of the top edge of your index finger.
- Before any water or ice, try the whiskey neat.
Before you add anything else to the whiskey, sample a little of it in its pure state. This will not only give you a better idea of the whiskey’s flavor & aroma, but will also help you decide whether or not you really want to mix it with anything/ If you enjoy the taste of alcohol, you may just prefer drinking your whiskey neat.
- Smell the whiskey a few times as well
Put your nose in the glass and take a deep huff. You may need to do this a few times to really get a sense of the aroma, since the smell of alcohol may be overpowering on the first sniff. Then you may start to notice other notes, like spices and wood. Keep your mouth open while you smell the whiskey to enhance both your sense of smell and sense of taste, which will allow you to understand the whiskey better.
- Roll the whiskey around in your mouth before swallowing.
Don’t just gulp the whiskey down. Take a small sip and move it around on your tongue. After you swallow, wait for a moment before taking another sip so that you can appreciate the aftertaste. You may notice flavors such as caramel, toffee, or vanilla. Some like to “chew” their whiskey before swallowing it, making sure that it coats the entire tongue and inside of the mouth. Breathing through your nose as you swallow the whiskey can also help you experience the aroma more fully. If you don’t like the taste of the whiskey on your first sip, don’t give up on it right away. The first sip may taste overwhelmingly like alcohol, but you will probably begin to notice other flavors on your second or third taste. It's an acquired taste, so it takes time to truly appreciate the complex flavors and aromas of whiskey.
- Add a splash of water to enhance flavor
Add a few drops of fresh, clean water to your whiskey and give it a quick stir. Doing this will dull the harshness of the alcohol and bring out the other, more subtle flavors of the whiskey. Experiment with adding water very little-by-little until you achieve the flavor you’re looking for.
Although you may also add whiskey on the rocks, we don’t recommend it because the ice freezes up the aromas of the drink and make it hard to appreciate the subtleties in it. Take your time with this drink. Unlike vodka and tequila shots, whiskey is made to be appreciated.