Whisky Advocate

What’s your extreme cold weather dram?

January 16th, 2009

It’s painfully cold here in Pennsylvania today, with my thermometer outside showing 7 degrees (F). I might have to pour myself a cask-strength Islay whisky tonight to keep me warm. Or maybe a rye whiskey. It’s supposed to go below 0 tonight.

What’s your drink when the temperature plunges? (And don’t tell me you live in Hawaii!)

35 Responses to “What’s your extreme cold weather dram?”

  1. CK says:

    While I fancy myself a “peat freak” and most associate Islays with the cold weather, I would have to go with Glenfarclas 105. Higher strength, a little cozier, a little sweeter but not too much; like comfort food in whisky.

  2. John Hansell says:

    CK, good choice. GF 105 is warm, rich, and very satisfying. A comfort whisky indeed!

  3. Joe M says:

    Broke out the Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye last night. As the ice slowly melted and the spirit moved from deep amber to golden and cloudy, each sip grew tastier and more satisfying. A great American Whiskey experience on a cold night. Had a fire going in the fireplace as well.

  4. John Hansell says:

    Joe, I got the fireplace (actually a woodstove with a glass front) cranking too!

  5. Håvard Eide says:

    On a cold Norwegian night ( and they can get pretty cold ) I pour myself a Laphroaig or Ardbeg 10yo, doesn’t get better than that 🙂

  6. JC Skinner says:

    A double of fresh poitin or young blended Irish whiskey (White Bush, Tullamore Dew, Paddy’s), add a slice of lemon studded with cloves. Pour boiled water to fill, then add sugar and a cinnamon stick to taste.
    It’s the only answer when the barometer heads south.

  7. John Hansell says:

    Havard: I guess you got us beat up there in Norway with regards to cold weather. And I’m whining about 7 degrees…

    JC: Sounds good. I’ll have to try that one.

  8. Rich says:

    it was so cold this morning here in the Twin Cities, that one of the MPR weatherman’s thermometers broke. sounds like a joke, but it’s all too true. i guess you could say it froze up… literally. the thermometer that *was* working recorded -32 F air temperature at the airport, about five miles from my house. as far as i’m concerned, weather like this calls for either my 1982 Talisker 20 C/S, or my 2007 Lagavulin 12 C/S. it has to be something strong and peppery/smoky to cut through the ice.

  9. John Hansell says:

    Rich, -32F? Good Lord! Yes, a CS Talisker would work just as well as a CS Islay whisky. Maybe Bruichladdich should distribute CS samples of Octomore–for medicinal purposes, naturally.

  10. Mark says:

    I don’t know, I like something with a bit of smoke or spice to it on a cold night.

    However, what’s really coming to mind is Abelour’s a’bunadh. Hot, strong, and exploding with sherry overtones. Very comforting..

  11. Oh, gee – what is -32 Fahrenheit in Celsius? Around here (Austria) we had at least minus 12 degrees Celsius, cold enough for me to be happy that I don’t need to leave my apartment to get a Laphroaig 10 (best enjoyed in colder times!!!).

    For me, whiskies with a lot of body to them are better in winter, those with less in summer (i.e. Ardbeg 10, Tobermory etc). Balvenie is a good choice for autumn and winter, I think…! Also: Old Pulteney (but dose carefully).

    For some reason (and contradicting everything I just said) I felt like a Glenkinchie (and a Laphroaig 15) tonight. Plus some White & Mackay blended.

  12. Ryan says:

    I’m thinking the Longrow Tokaji finish

  13. John Hansell says:

    Thomas, 32 F is 0 C. -12 C is about 10 F.

    Ryan, yes, Longrow would work too!

    It seems like the preference is towards smoky whiskies or richly sherried whiskies. And cask strength if possible.

  14. Louis says:

    That’s an easy one. Ardbeg 10 year old or Uigeadail, Laphroaig Cask Strength, Bruichladdich Peat Proposal or Infinity. The Bowmore 16yr/1989, Caol Ila 18, Lagavulin 16. Compass Box Whisky Peat Monster & Eleuthra.

    Cask strength is only for late night dramming. Well, maybe not this weekend. My wife hates peat, but she will accept a sip when it gets really cold.



  15. Sam S. says:

    How about some A’bunadh as was already mentioned, or Bookers (at 126 proof), if it’s OK to mention the (e) stuff on this blog.

  16. John Hansell says:

    Sam, It’s absolutely okay to mention stuff already mentioned. A’bundadh fits into the rich, sherried CS single malt category that seems to be popular. And yes, if there ever was a time for Booker’s, it’s now!

  17. Rich says:

    Thomas, -32 Fahrenheit = -36 Celsius. in other words: really, really cold. 😉

  18. John Hansell says:

    Rich, I thought he meant 32 F and that the (-) was an em dash. Either way, we got his answer for him. And either way, it’s really cold.

  19. B.J. Reed says:

    Laphroig 10 YO Cask Strength would be my first choice – Talisker 10 YO not too far behind.

  20. Josh Kolchins says:


    When it’s this cold (it’s about 20 degrees here in DC), I reach for an Islay with a lot of peat, phenols, smoke. Tonight it will be Ardbeg Airgh Nam Beist or Laphroaig Quarter Cask. As much as I love sherried malts, cold weather is all about Islay and Skye for me.

    – Josh

  21. sam k says:

    Rittenhouse Rye, bottled in bond at 100 proof. I ordered a case through our PLCB last month for the astonishing price of $150 (tax included), and it’s about perfect for the -2 degrees F I’m looking at right now.

    Think about it. For less than the price of a single bottle of another good whiskey, I’m sitting on 12 bottles of excellent American spirit (OK, six after Christmas presents were doled out) that will hold me for the rest of the really frigid months. Considering the recent comments on the price of whiskey here, this could get to be a regular thing!

    I also made some homemade rock and rye that I’ll be sending a sample of to the Malt Advocate offices soon. Enjoy, and stay warm!

  22. Tim McCann says:

    Sazerac 18 for me tonight. A little bite from the dram to go with the bite in the air.

  23. David S says:

    11 F (feels like -4 F) here in NYC. And I am a dram or two in to a bottle of Laphroaig 10. Unfortunately, I still have to walk the dog….

  24. John Hansell says:

    David S, I’ll be walking the dog soon too! But after a Caol Ila 25 yr old, some Four Roses Single Barrel and a draft of Chimay Tripel, I’m ready for anything.

    Sam, K we’ll be looking for that Rock & Rye. And it looks like you’re in good shape with that Rittenhouse Rye BIB. That should keep you for the whole winter!

  25. Gary Gillman says:

    My personal vatting of Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 1985 100 proof, VWFRR 13 years old and Black Maple Hill 18 year old rye.

    That insistent, aged violets-like top-note of the BMH melds to perfection with the deep spicy and barrel tones of Van Winkle’s fine stuff.


  26. sam k says:

    Chimay Tripel on draft? I’ll be right over! We got down to -13 last night, the coldest I ever remember here.

    Four Roses Single Barrel may be my favorite (affordable) bourbon, ever! Any idea when (if) it might make it to PA?

  27. John Hansell says:

    Part of my decision-making process on what to drink last night was the status of some of my bottles. I had about 1/4 bottle left of the Four Roses and Caol Ila. I had a whisky drinking buddy over last night. We sat in front of the fire, had a couple of drams, and then I sent him home with what was left in the bottles. I don’t like to have whisky bottles that are less than 1/4 full, because of oxidation concerns, so when one gets that low, we drink it or I send it home with a friend who will finish the bottle in short order. It solves my whisky oxidation problem–and it ensures a good supply of friends. 😉

    Sam, I don’t know when you will see Four Roses Single Barrel in PA. But I’ll send an email to Jim Rutledge and find out.

  28. Barry Jay says:

    Well…not what I will be drinking…but WHAT am I drinking. It’s 8 degrees outdoors here in Marlboro NJ and I’m having a Balvenie 21 Port wood….sitting in front of the woodstove in the basement. Fire…Good! Scotch Even gooder….
    Cheers all!

  29. David S. says:

    Well, much warmer tonight at 21 degrees F in New York. The plane is still parked in the river outside my building and I have a dram of Old Rip Van Winkle 18 year old poured inside. This really warms you up.

  30. Yang Wang says:

    drink Moutai, eating chinese hot pot

  31. lawschooldrunk says:

    Well, I am the abnormal one that really loves it when it gets cold. (I was rolling my eyes the whole past week in DC where people were remarking how cold it was- mid 30s! That’s tropical when compared to places that have it bad like fargo, the twin cities, or chicago.)

    Here in NY, home for MLK and inauguration, I reveled in the friday night 2 degree weather. In any case, my cold-weather dram has a stipulation that comes with it- it must be drammed outside, while breathing in the fresh, crisp, cold air (and gazing at the stars helps) to truly appreciate it.

    I go for laphroaig QC, lagavulin 16, or aberlour a’bunadh. Though, personally, I don’t think there is anything related between the cold and cask strength malts.

  32. Last night’s cold (and sharing your view that nearly-empty bottles should be used quickly) left me with only one option…Ardbeg 10!


  33. bgulien says:

    As a newbie from the Netherlands, I can recommend one of the 3D Bruichladdies or, my favorite, Ardbeg Renaissance.
    I know the Renaissance is not sold in the US, and that’s a pity. You lose out on one of the great whisky’s.

  34. Mark says:

    This was a great post. Now things are starting to warm up, so how about one about our favorite spring and summer drams?

    Just a thought.

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