Wondering how to enjoy whiskey properly? It's a real concern and a good question to ask yourself. (And to ask us!) There are definitely some answers you should know. Whiskey is made to be enjoyed. But you're correct: proper techniques and "rules," if you will, do exist. Today, we'll make sure you understand the wide and glorious scope of savoring every whiskey moment.
Learn How to Enjoy Whiskey Properly
Welcome to our brief guide on how to enjoy whiskey properly. This isn't meant to be intimidating. The best part about all this is that you're entering the whiskey game and you're wanting to do things right. We applaud you. You'll catch on quickly and be well on your way to appreciating and indulging correctly. Here's your chance to dive in confidently!
3 Easy Steps: Pour, Sniff, and Sip
First, get to know the overall proper form. Understanding how to enjoy whiskey properly begins with three basic steps. The perfect pour, the all-important sniff, and the ultimate sip. We'll break it down for you in the following sections. Don't worry. This isn't difficult. And it'll boost your whiskey experience, as well as your whiskey street cred. You'll look and feel like a pro.
Whiskey Pouring Technique
Whiskey etiquette begins with how you pour. First, grab a glass vessel for serving. Plastic and other products may influence the flavor. And you don’t want that. You don’t want to go crazy with this pour, either. Usually, 1.5-2 ounces is an acceptable amount. A tip: Wrap your index finger around the bottom of the glass. Pour slowly until you reach the top of your finger.
Whiskey Sniffing Technique
Next, it’s time to “nose” the good stuff. It’s been said that your nose can detect far more aromas than the tongue can taste flavors. Incredible, huh? That’s why we say sniff before you sip. Swirl your whiskey gently in your glass. Keep your mouth open as you lightly sniff. If you breathe in too deeply, the alcohol will burn your nostrils. This is where some pre-tasting conversation can happen if you’re with some friends. Discuss what you’re inhaling. And compare it later to what you taste.
Whiskey Sipping Technique
After a minute of sniffing, take it slowly. When you hear the word “technique,” you know it requires focus. Seriously, this is how to enjoy whiskey properly. There is no taking a shot or gulping in this game. Some people swish, but we recommend simply holding the whiskey on your tongue. Then swallow it. Next, breathe out through your nose. And remember: keep your poker face. No spitting, sputtering, or making faces.
Ways to Drink Whiskey
Purists will tell you there's only one way to sip whiskey. They say, "It's neat or nothing." But real talk? That's a total lie. Whiskey can be enjoyed in a few ways, and we'll discuss those here. We recommend trying them all. And don't let anyone sway you. Explore each of these, and drink whiskey on your own terms.
Neat, On the Rocks, or with Water
We do suggest beginning with your whiskey neat. At least, try it straight. But don’t let the snobs tell you it’s the only way. Add a few drops of water to explore new flavors. They do, indeed, bloom in the liquor with water. Use a straw or a dropper to add it. And try ice or whiskey stones if you want a refreshing, cooler experience. Ice can enhance your whiskey pleasure for sure--especially during the hotter months.
Whiskey in a Cocktail
We like whiskey cocktails that let the whiskey shine. So, if you want a cocktail, try an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. And these can be great for parties and celebrations. They’re both crowd-pleasers for those who don’t enjoy whiskey neat. Tip: And since we’re all about how to enjoy whiskey properly… rye whiskey holds its own in a cocktail. It has a prominent flavor profile. So, consider using it for those mixed drinks.
Must-Have Whiskey Accessories
We’re about to tell you the truth about your home bar or whiskey station. And trust us. This is all part of how to enjoy whiskey properly. You’ll need high-quality whiskey glasses and air-tight decanters. These will keep the whiskey’s flavor intact. The unique decanters also allow for conversation starters. Plus, blind tastings! You and your guests aren’t worried over labels and brand names. You’ll truly be tasting whiskey. And enjoying it for the right reasons.
New to the whiskey realm? Let us have your questions below. If you’re a seasoned whiskey pro reading this, we’d love to hear from you, too. What are your favorite bottles for newbies? And what are your personal tips for how to enjoy whiskey properly?