There are More Ways to Drink Whisky Than You Think

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.

Neat or straight

Whisky straight up, on its own (meaning no water or ice whatsoever, just Whisky!), 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 flavor notes in your drink. If your aim is tasting the Spirit, this method is the way to go, as using ice/water excessively can numb the palate and inhibit the aroma.
You’ll also need the right Whisky glassware. What is the best glass for drinking Whisky Neat?

For instance, Glencairn glass is popular among Single Malt connoisseurs who drink Whisky neat or with a drop of water. It’s a perfectly crafted drinking vessel that combines both form and function to deliver the ultimate tasting experience. It's used in most Whisky labs as it is engineered to bring the richness of aromas and flavors so that you can notice every tiny nuance.

The glass’s shape and quality make some difference, but at the end of the day, the real business has happened in the barrel. If you don’t own a Glencairn glass, any tulip-shaped glass or Whisky tumbler is perfectly fine.
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On the rocks

Some Spirits are meant to stand solidly on their own, while others benefit from the addition of ice. Served over ice a.k.a "Whisky on the rocks," still sounds pretty hardcore anyway, doesn’t it?

This could be a refreshing drinking method if you’re trying to acclimatize yourself to Whisky, but it does degrade some of the flavors for a couple of reasons.

A useful tip on Whisky serving: Try adding big cubes or spheres to your Whisky. They melt slower, so it gets chilled but less watered down than regular ice cubes.


The best glass for Whisky on the rocks is the Whisky tumbler, otherwise known as the ‘’rocks’’ glass, the Old Fashioned glass, or lowball glass. Due to its wide rim, the tumbler isn’t ideal for nosing, but it doesn’t need to be – this one’s for filling with ice and a Whisky of your choosing, or for serving up any number of classic cocktails.
A clever alternative to ice is Whisky stones. These actual stones are placed in the freezer before making it to your glass and relieve you of the dilution problem while still giving you the chilled serving. Whisky stones are fantastic for the Whisky purists who like their drams cold. It’s also just an excellent accessory to have in your drinks cabinet/fridge.

Whisky with water

Some people believe that adding a few drops of water to your Whisky releases the flavors. Especially for high-proof Whiskies, this will dilute the Spirit a little bit and soften the alcohol punch. Others will say that the dilution still compromises the drink. Try adding a splash of water one step at a time. If you end up with too much water, your only remedy is to add more Whisky.

Adding water to Whisky

Generally, a simple glass with a wide brim, ideal for nosing, is a safe bet for drinking Whisky with water. There is some preference towards tulip-shaped glasses that concentrate Whisky aroma towards your nose and are great for swirling.

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 flavor. Regardless, the elixir beckons more convincingly than a cup of cocoa.


Glassware for warmed-up Whisky and Whisky Tea: To maximize your drinking experience, you can be as creative as you want with your glassware, but a simple glass mug will do the trick.

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 flavor while adding even more aromatics.

Whisky tea
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’s essentially adding a fizzy drink to your Whisky. It can sweeten the drink, as well as soften the hangover. The Japanese love to add soda to their Whisky, while over in the west, we enjoy additions such as coke and lemonade.

Flaviar even captured the delicate art of Japanese Highball in a can and created a hard seltzer. We spiked pure and crystalline sparkling water with a superior Whisky blend we made exclusively for HaiBall. Purists may mock, but if you like the taste, let them.


For Haiball’s drinking vessel, choose the tumbler’s taller brother as it allows for plenty of ice, Spirit, and mixer. The shape doesn’t matter with the Highball but serving a Scotch and soda in a Glencairn glass wouldn’t do.


The Manhattan, the Whisky Sour, or the Mint Julep 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.

The Manhattan

→ 2 oz (60 ml) Rye Whisky
→ 1/2 oz (15 ml) sweet Vermouth
→ 1/2 oz (15 ml) dry Vermouth
→ 1 dash aromatic bitters
→ Splash of Orange Liqueur
→ Orange peel for garnish
Method: Stir liquid ingredients together with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Whisky Sour

→ 2 oz (60 ml) Bourbon
→ 1 oz (35ml) lemon juice
→ .75 oz (20 ml) simple syrup
→ 1 egg white
→ Maraschino cherry and orange peel for garnish
Method: Add all ingredients into a shaker and dry-shake without ice for 10-15 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry and orange peel.

Mint Julep

→ Bouquet (or at least 8 leaves) of fresh mint
→ 1/4 oz (7ml) simple syrup
→ 2 oz (60 ml) Bourbon
→ Crushed ice
→ Garnish: mint sprig
Method: Lightly muddle syrup and mint in a Collins/Highball glass or Julep cup. Add Bourbon and pack with ice. Stir well. Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome and garnish with a mint sprig.
So, what’s your favorite way to drink Whisky?
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