Whisky Advocate

What’s your warm weather whisky?

April 25th, 2009

It’s 85 degrees here in lovely Pennsylvania. Summer showed up early this year.

I’m having a party later on. I’ll be starting with some beers, but will probably work my way to whisky (or whiskey) later on. I’m contemplating what to have.

What’s your warm weather dram? Do you go with a lighter whisky, or do you just say “To hell with it” and still drink your cask strength Laphroaig?

51 Responses to “What’s your warm weather whisky?”

  1. Dave K. says:

    I tend toward bourbons or rye in warm weather for some reason. Ridgemont Reserve 1792 is nice on a day like today….

    • John Hansell says:

      Yep. That always works for me. My party is outside and stocked in my outside bar is a bottle of AAA (Ancient Ancient Age) 10 year old. I have a feeling I (and my liver) will be visiting that bottle later on…

  2. jazz lover says:

    John go with the Cragganmore..

    • John Hansell says:

      I put a bottle of Chivas Royal Salute on the bar for the blend drinkers coming. Cragganmore would certainly work, but the only Cragganmore I have open is the 10 year old limited edition–but that one’s aged in sherry casks. A bit too heavy for this weather.

  3. Eric in PA says:

    Yep – go with the blends over ice for summer weather. I was so cold earlier this week, I made a Hot Toddie with 12 year old Highland Park, now that it’s hot out, might go for something simple like Ballantines over cracked ice. Although I plan to start with some Heinekin light pretty soon. 🙂 Enjoy your party!

  4. BA says:

    I’ve got a lovely 10yo Braeval (indie bottled under ‘Deerstalker’) that is lightly fruity and almost citrus-like. Would be perfect.

  5. Greg Tuttle says:

    I love me some Powers Irish. Tasty but light.

  6. Neil Fusillo says:

    I seem to tend toward the younger speysides/highland whiskies in the warmer weather. Balvenie 10,12, Cragganmore 12, Macallan 12. Clynelish 14.

    But one of the Islay malts that ALWAYS seems to make the cut is the Ardbeg Uigeadail. Something about its perfect balance of phenol and smoke…. just seems to be right in both hot or cold temps for me.

  7. sam k says:

    Sure doesn’t have to be a lighter whiskey that satisfies in the heat…just add ice to some Wild Turkey Rye 101 ($17.99 this month at your PA local) and toast the coming warm weather. I’m actually already ahead of you on that account.

    As Pete Wambach was fond of saying, “It’s a beautiful day in Pannsylvania!” I just wish we could be drinking Monongahela Rye…then it would be a spectacular day!

  8. Chris says:

    I’d fall into the “to hell with it, where’s the Islay peat monster” category. 🙂

  9. John, our high temp in 2008 was 84 degrees, and that was in the “heat” of the afternoon. Hot evenings hang around 55, so my hot weather dram might be The BenRiach Curiositas or your cask strength Laphroaig. In past lives and hotter climes, I heartily agree with your Royal Salute. Yum.

  10. Yossi says:

    Glenmorangie Astar, all the way! It was 86 here in CT and that was my choice. I didn’t regret it one bit.

  11. Håvard Eide says:

    Summertime is always a bottle of Scapa for me! But that doesn’t mean that I stack away my bottles of Ardbeg for the winter….

  12. Luke says:

    At home: Redbreast 12 Year Old after 10 minutes on top of a warm radiator (body temperature is best with Pure Pot Still).
    On the Town: A Hot Irish made with Powers Gold Label, brown sugar, cloves and a thick slice of lemon (an old Dublin classic).

  13. JC Skinner says:

    I don’t like to keep a lot of bottles open, so for now I’ll still be drinking the Redbreast 12 yo and some Lagavulin distiller’s edition (at least until the weather picks up here in Ireland!)
    Generally, when we do get a spot of nice weather, I enjoy a bourbon on ice in the sun, and if abroad I’ll even seek out a mint julep or mojito by the beach.
    But I like to open a light Irish too for warm weather evenings, and a nice crisp Green Spot or a Knappogue can be just the ticket.

  14. Sam S. says:

    Maybe a younger Glenmorangie, Macallan, or Glenlivet over a little ice.
    As a TV reporter I once heard say, “A little ice marinade.”

  15. Louis says:

    The Van Winkle and WL Weller 12 year olds are perfect lazy, summer afternoon drams. On the scotch side, I like the Bruichladdich 10 (from after the distillery reopened) and Glenmorangie 10.

  16. Ken Young says:

    Dalwhinnie or Edradour are two of my recommendations.

  17. Jon W says:

    I tend toward lighter, lower abv whiskies and beer although like others I don’t completely forgoe the big stuff. Any of the well known German wheat beers are great warm weather drinks.

    Also, I like an occassional (ok, more than occasional) Old Fashioned. My recipe is pretty simple. Just two shots of bourbon or rye (or one of each) in a rocks glass over two ice cubes, with a splash of bitters and a slice of orange. Yummy.

  18. John/WhiskeyHunter says:

    Greenore 8YO.

  19. Greg G says:

    In the winter, I’ll introduce my scotch collection into the bourbon mix. Spring through Fall, it’s pretty much bourbon only. And most times, neat.

  20. Tim F says:

    Summer is Mizuwari season at my place – something lightly peated served long with filtered water from the fridge and a load of ice. Great for cooling off on a hot day.

  21. Dear John,
    When it gets hot, I find myself drawn to the Islays. Ardbeg 10 and the Bowmore 16 1989 (bourbon cask) seem to get frequent hits when the thermometer spikes. Cheers.

  22. B.J. Reed says:

    Maybe a Rosebank, Glenmorangie 10 – Something with spice, maybe my favorite, the Old Pultney Millennium bottling – Too late here in Nebraska though – 50s today 🙁

  23. Rich says:

    i’m one of those for whom single malts have no season. my taste buds have far more influence than the temperature.

    living in Minnesota, where the temperature ranges from -30F to 105F, the weather would exert way too much influence on my options if i let it.

    as a peatfreak, i wouldn’t want to have to wait out the summer before i could hit the Islays…

  24. Thomas Widter says:

    I gravitate towards the cask strength whiskies I have open these days (Ledaig, Aberlour, Laphroaig). Which might not be the recommended thing, but feels right anyway. Somehow the sunny weather allows my body to deal with alcohol a lot better. Thank you, summertime!

  25. Kevin says:

    Buffalo Trace on the rocks – in my mind nothing beats it on a 90 degree day.

  26. Michael says:

    I was drinking Pappy Van Winkle with 2 ice cubes over the weekend and it was wonderful. I too am in PA and it was in the 90’s. Normally I stick to bourbons in the summer but never rule out a single malt. What I want to know is how do I get invited to one of your parties, John?

  27. David G says:

    I’m more of a seasonal whiskey drinker… my intake between Sept-March must be triple what it is during the rest of the year. Spring and summer, I tend to stick to lighter fare – I have a new bottle of Heaven Hill’s wheat whiskey that I’m betting will make excellent summer drinking fare.

  28. CK says:

    While I am not drawn to Islays any more at one time of year than another (I love them always), I find nothing makes the sun go down easier in the summer than a bourbon (Buffalo Trace or Four Roses usually), one ice cube and one mint leaf. A poor man’s mint julep, maybe, but it hits the spot every time.

  29. Lew Bryson says:

    When it’s really stinking hot, I go with rye presbyterians: tall glass, lots of ice, about four fingers of Pikesville Rye, topped off with ginger ale and a squeeze of lemon.

    But if it’s just hot…Four Roses 80 on ice, maybe the best 80 proof bourbon on the market.

  30. sam k says:

    90 degrees today, and I’m mixing the Wild Turkey rye with soda on ice. Yes, I’m predictable.

  31. John Hansell says:

    Wow, what a great variety of responses. (Sorry for the delay in approving some of your comments. I was out on my boat today.)

    Some of you are going for a lighter whisk(e)y. Others are opting for a whiskey cocktail, or an ice cube or two. And, of course, there are the die hards where it doesn’t matter how hot it is outside, you’re still going to drink those heavyweight whiskies.

    Michael, I DO invite you (and everyone else) to three of my parties each year. They’re called WhiskyFest.

    Sam, yes, you are predictable. Nothing wrong with that, my friend.

  32. Red_Arremer says:

    Compass Box Asyla, Rosebank 15 yo 40% G&M are the lightest single malts I’ve got open for the hot weather. But if something really refreshing is needed, I reach for Inverhouse Green Plaid or a G&T.

  33. I like Old Grand Dad 114 on the rocks. The whiskey stands up to the dilution and tastes great cold.

  34. bgulien says:

    I nominate the Ardbeg Blasda as the perfect summer dram.
    Light, not too much peat, full of fruity tones.
    First taste is a coolness on the tongue, citrus taste, more lemon then lime.
    Finish is long and peaty. There the Ardbeg lineage makes itself present.
    Without doubt one of the real summer drams.

    • John Hansell says:

      bgulien, good point. I have heard a lot of negative things about Blasda, but it does lend itself to warm weather drinking, given it is not as intense as other Ardbegs.

  35. butephoto says:

    Funnily enough we were having a Canadian tasting on the forum this weekend and several of them seemed to me would be perfect for warm weather. Light and sweet.

    • John Hansell says:

      butephoto, one key advantage of Canadian whiskies is that they are light and easy to drink during warm weather–and also are very versatile as a mixer or in cocktails.

  36. Lucas says:

    After my tonight’s pre-release tasting it has to be Old Pulteney 30!

  37. Gary says:

    I tend to drink the same whiskey all year round. So when the temps climb I’ll stick with a Woodford Reserve or Van Winkle 10 or 12 yr old.

  38. Leorin says:

    Yes a bourbon (has to be a good old Michter’s if you’re in Pensylvania) or an Irish is generally a good choic.
    I really enjoy Campbeltown Loch 21 or 30 y.o. or a Hazelburn in the summer as well.

  39. Ben says:

    The first single malt I drank with any regularity was Oban 14 over ice – a great dram for a warm night.

  40. Steve says:


    Starting Friday for the Oaks and continuing through Saturday for the Derby I’ll go through a bottle or two (with some help) of Elijah Craig 12yo, my favorite julep mixing bourbon. The first weekend in May is always reserved for homemade burgoo and juleps.

    After that I’ll stick with some of my summer favorites, including Four Roses Single Barrel, George Dickel #12 and Barrel Select, Scapa, Glenkinchie 12yo, Black Bush, Redbreast, and Russell’s Reserve Rye, but will start adding in some of the Canadians that sit most of the year, especially Wiser’s Very Old and Danfield’s as we start getting into the 90’s here in the South.

  41. David K. says:

    Just an observation…

    I remember a while back on this blog that ice in bourbon or single malts was discussed, although as a tangent to a different topic. It wasn’t recommended by too many, if I remember correctly. I guess I’m just surprised to see so many adding it to a single malt in the summer in light of those past comments. To each his own!

    • John Hansell says:

      David K.

      Yes, adding one ice cube was recommended as the best way to enjoy the new Dewar’s 18 year old, according to the press release that was issued. The point was that it was unusual to see a whisky company recommend just one ice cube.

      I can understand using ice in whisky in hot weather, although I don’t normally use it (unless it’s in a Manhattan or another whiskey cocktail).

  42. Alex Cranstoun says:

    Could be Black Bottle 10 with 2 ice cubes or Bunna or Scapa…

  43. Marc says:

    Johnnie Walker Black always does the trick, no matter what the weather.

  44. John Hansell says:

    Marc, I cut my teeth on JWB. I still remember my first bottle like it was yesterday–even though it’s been close to 20 years now.

  45. DramInFram says:

    G&M CC Bladnoch 1988 13 yr. old. Something about the almost vegetal, newly cut lawn on the nose supplements a warm-weather weekend of yardwork in New England suburbia. Forty Creek Barrel Select for the warm evenings c/o John Hall’s team…

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