One of the most popular and widely accepted spirits in the world, whisky is loved by connoisseurs and beginners alike. The key thing to remember here is that there is no wrong way to drink whisky, but there are many ways in which it can be customised as per your preferences. Here are some such ways you should know about.
From connoisseurs to afficionados to those who are just exploring spirits for the first time after coming of age, whisky is one alcohol that appeals to the masses no matter what your background or region of origin may be. Crafted from grains like barley, corn, rye and wheat which are fermented, distilled and aged in wooden casks, whisky is famed for its deep, rich and often fruity or spicy undertones. Born in Ireland and Scotland, today the world recognises whisky and its most popular types—aged, blended and single malt—and innovators across the world are creating new versions of it everywhere, even in India.
What’s more, given how widely it is available and how pocket-friendly whiskies can be, everybody who likes whisky has access to it. The question, however, remains: How to drink whisky? Or rather, what are the ways in which you can taste whisky’s flavours? Here, the thing to know is that different cultures and people have their own ways of savouring the flavours of whisky, and each method highlights the rich taste and heritage of the drink.
The key thing to remember here is that there is no wrong way to drink whisky, but there are many ways in which it can be customised as per your preferences and demands. So, if you are wondering which are the most popular ways to enjoy whisky, here are five ways you should know about.
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This one is simply not every everyone, and certainly not for beginners—but the connoisseurs and whisky tasters, this is the primary method of discerning the flavour and notes of the spirit. The trick with drinking whisky neat or straight, or even other stronger spirits like rum, is to sip on it and savour every note as they hit your palate. Unadulterated with other ingredients, neat whisky provides connoisseurs a chance to explore the essence of whisky’s aroma and flavour. If you are trying it out for the first time, take it slow, one sip at a time, and hold the sip in your mouth instead of just gulping it down at speed.
2. With Water
The second and the simplest way—and also age-old—to enjoy whisky is with a splash or more of water. In Scotland, the addition of water to single malts and blended whiskies is a revered tradition, while in Japan, the addition of cold water to whisky is also known as Mizuwari. In both these cultures, the addition of water to whisky helps modify the spirit’s chemical composition and provide a new flavour to the drink. You can always experiment with the amount of water you want in your whisky as per your taste preferences.
3. On The Rocks
Adding ice to whisky gives the drink the look and feel of water splashing on rocks on a beach, which is why whisky on the rocks is a popular way of savouring the spirit. Pouring whisky over ice cubes not only provides a beautiful yet simple visual experience but also adds a certain coldness to the drink as the ice gradually melts into the whisky. As the ice melts, it changes the composition of whisky, offer you a whole journey through its flavours over time. This one is perfect for slow drinkers who really love to relish the experience of drinking whisky.
Whether you like single malts, aged or blended whiskies, every single variant makes for the perfect base for a whole range of cocktails, and has done so for almost two centuries now. This is especially true for the USA, where the era of 1880s, known popularly as the Gilded Age, gave birth to an array of classic whisky cocktails like the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned and even the Daiquiri. Since then, mixing whiskies with various mixers, bitters and garnishes has led to the creation of whisky cocktails that people across the world enjoy immensely.
5. Food Flavouring
While most whisky drinkers may not think “eating” whisky in the form of whisky-infused dishes qualifies as a connoisseur’s method, foodies everywhere who love whisky will agree that the combination of this spirit and certain ingredients works immensely well. From whisky glazes and sauces used on roasts, both meaty and veggie ones, to flambeeing pancakes and desserts with a dash of whisky to generate smokey flavours, adding whisky can truly enhance the flavours of food while also creating a whole new experience for whisky lovers.
In essence, there is no one ultimate or perfect way of enjoying whisky. The range of ways to savour this spirit’s essence, in fact, makes it one of the most versatile alcohol variants in the world. So, whether you like whisky on the rocks, with water (hot or cold), or infused with food, exploring every aspect of the spirit and its infusions is likely to take you on a truly spirited journey.