A Beginners Guide To Drinking Whiskey

Even if you’re not celebrating a special occasion, a glass of whiskey at a whiskey bar or a bourbon bar can be the perfect capper to a night out with friends. One of the best things about whiskey is that you can drink it straight, drink it over ice or make a delicious cocktail with it.

What is whiskey you ask? Whiskey is distilled from grain and that grain can vary from corn to barley to rye. If you’re looking to enhance your understanding and knowledge of whiskey, here’s a few pointers to help you get started:

  • Try it neat: If you go to a local whiskey bar, one of the best things you can do to start off is to try your whiskey neat (as in with no ice). Why? By drinking it neat, you’re able to get the full flavor of the whiskey instead of potentially diluting it a little bit with ice. If you find you don’t like the taste of certain whiskeys neat, you can then add ice or some water. As your knowledge of whiskey grows and you (maybe) eventually try some rare whiskeys, you may find you love the pure taste and prefer to drink it straight.
  • Add some water: You might scoff at adding water to alcohol, but if you’re brand new to whiskey don’t rush to judgement. A splash of water can actually be a drop of magic in your whiskey glass. What it does is it allows the person drinking to detect more aromatics on their nose and since it lowers the alcohol content, you may just be able to taste a greater depth of flavor in the whiskey, particularly with rare whiskeys. A good rule of thumb is to add a little bit of water at a time and keep adding until you find the balance of flavor you’re seeking.
  • Find balance with ice: If you’re new to whiskey, you’ve likely seen commercials or have a friend that always orders whiskey on the rocks. You may think it’s cool to make that order too, but don’t immediately rush to do it. Ice can dull the flavor of a whiskey because it numbs your palate and also dulls the flavor of your drink. If you want something cold, you can add ice (go for smaller ice cubes) and pick yourself up some whiskey stones.
  • Consider cocktails: More than 86% of people have drank alcohol at some point in their life and whiskey cocktails are very popular drinks. If you don’t like the taste or the burn of straight whiskey, you can order a whiskey sour, a Manhattan or any number of other whiskey cocktails.

If you consider yourself a whiskey connoisseur and you’re looking for a whiskey bar that serves rare whiskeys, do some research. Whether you’re looking for the best whiskey selection in Nashville, searching for spirits in the Big Easy or looking for a cool cocktail in Los Angeles, chances are good you’ll be able to find a place with some delicious rare whiskeys.

Be warned that shots of some of the rare whiskeys you find may cost you a bit of money, but if you’re a true whiskey historian who’s always looking for something new to try, it will be well worth the time and the money.

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