What’s the best way to drink whisky?June 15th, 2011
Any way you damned well please! That’s the short answer.
Now for the long answer.
If you only drink your whisky the optimal way to appreciate its aromas and flavors (say, with a splash of water and in a nosing glass), then I think you are missing out on whisky’s versatility. (And maybe your pinky is in the air just a bit too much?)
There are times when I want to get the most out of my whisky. Still, there are also times when my whisky is not the main focus of my attention–times when it just an integral part of a pleasant experience, but not the main part.
I’ll give you three examples that I experienced just this past week or so.
A few of my friends were together with me fishing over the weekend. After being in the hot sun all day, we wanted something refreshing to drink. We had been drinking beer for a while and wanted something different. The solution? A glass of bourbon and ginger ale on the rocks. Not some fancy bourbon. It was whatever I had lying around the house, and it did the trick. Our conversation was the main focus of my attention, not the bourbon.
On another occasion, I poured myself a measure of Ardbeg Alligator. Again, it was hot out. I also think the room temperature where the Ardbeg was being stored was slightly warmer than normal. I put a small ice cube in my glass. It cooled off the drink, added some water, and tasted great!
Finally, one evening, sitting around a campfire, I pulled out a fine cigar to smoke. But what to drink with it? I already had a coupe of beers, so I opted for a good bourbon (W.L. Weller 19 yr. old, if you are curious.) I poured a measure into a small “rocks” glass–no ice this time–and enjoyed it with my cigar. It was great!
In all three instances here, I wasn’t “John Hansell the whisky reviewer.” I was just someone enjoying whisky in a way that seemed appropriate at that given time. I think that if you drink your whisky with an open mind in addition to an open mouth, you will get more pleasure from it.