A Tale of Mash and Oak, Part V: How to Drink Whiskey

Enjoying whiskey is all about discovering your personal preferences. Here's a cheat sheet to help you navigate the terms and jargon you'll hear.

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whiskey glasses

Neat: A pour straight from the bottle, no ice or mixers.

With water: If you go this route, stick with a few drops, certainly no more than a spoonful. If you want to dork out as I have, buy a whiskey water dropper (it literally looks like a big eye-dropper).

On the rocks: A pour with an ice cube … or sometimes, the bartender will give you about 50 cubes. Again, you can drink it however you like, so don’t be afraid to request one or just a few ice cubes. I do.

Cocktails: There are so many whiskey cocktails. If you’re just starting out, an Old Fashioned is a classic call, and it’s delicious. Manhattans and Mint Juleps are also classics. I love Kentucky Mules, basically a Moscow Mule with whiskey instead. Boulevardiers, like a Negroni minus the gin, are also popular.

Glasswear: A lowball glass is commonly used to serve whiskey. If you really get into tasting and want a fun glass for the task, try a Glencairn. The shape is modeled after the traditional nosing Copita glasses used in whisky labs in Scotland. Master blenders from Scotland informed and approved the design.

An accessory note: I am not a fan of whiskey stones and have never found that they actually hold their chill. Yes, they look cool and are often sold by distilleries, but if I were starting over again, I would pass.

Next up – Part VI: Sam’s Recommendations