There are More Ways to Drink Whisky Than You Think

Whilst many purists will assure you that neat is the nectar style to go for, no one can dram up your measurements better than you. Here’s some classic Whisky drinking styles, try them out and suit up.

Whisky straight up, on its own, is the championed method of many connoisseurs. This method can taste overpowering if you’re not used to alcohol, but it does lend itself to showcasing the various flavour notes in your drink.

Whisky Neat / Photo: Facebook - Glenlivet

On the rocks
"Scotch on the rocks" still sounds pretty hardcore anyway, doesn’t it? This could be a refreshing drinking method if you’re trying to acclimatise yourself to Whisky, but it does adulterate some of the flavour, for a couple of reasons.

Whisky on the rocks / Photo: Facebook - Teeling

A clever alternative is Whisky stones. These actual stones are placed in the freezer before making it to your glass, and relieve you of the dilution problem, whilst still giving you the chilled serving.
Drops of water
Some people believe that adding a few drops of water to your Whisky actually releases the flavours. Others will say that the dilution still compromises the spirit. We say; legal drinking age dictates that we should all be grown up enough to make our own decisions.

Warmed Up
Who doesn’t love a hot toddy on a winter’s evening? Warming Whisky up comes with some of the same problems as cooling it down; the tasting notes are at their peak at room temperature and so drastically changing this will alter or efface some of them.

To make a hot toddy, some people will add twists such as lemon, honey, cinnamon or other spices such as cloves. All of these can complement the drink beautifully, but they will also go towards masking its original flavour. Regardless, the elixir beckons more convincingly than a cup of cocoa.

Hot toddy / Photo: Flickr - dinahmp

Whisky Tea
Mixing Whisky and tea is not at all uncommon in Japan, China and other parts of Asia. Often floral notes from teas such as Darjeeling can balance the dry fruitiness of a Whisky, softening its flavour whilst adding even more aromatics.

Meanwhile, Whisky & iced green tea is a crisp and clean-cut alternative. If you fancy a long drink to take you into the small hours, or refresh you on a hot day, this could be your bag.

As outlandish as this sounds, it essentially adding a fizzy drink to your Whisky. This can sweeten the drink, as well as soften the hangover. The Japanese love to add soda to their Whisky, whilst over in the west we enjoy additions such as coke and lemonade. Purists may mock, but if you like the taste, let them.

Highball / Photo: Flickr - bigbabyhead

The Manhattan, the Whisky Sour, the Mint Julep...they wouldn’t have survived the century if they weren’t good. It’s just probably not advisable to splash your Macallan 50YO around with sugar syrup, in terms of long term pension plans. However, some popular complements to a stellar blend include rosemary, bitter lemon, ginger, blood orange, honey, berries, fig, mint and limes.

Mind you, still keep the drinks at least two parts Whisky; it’s not Vodka, you don’t need to pretend it’s not there.

By Greg


Greg is a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. His mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about Whisky, Whiskey, Gin, Beer and fine dining through his website, GreatDrams.com, writing, brand building and whisky tastings.



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