Drop In On One of These International Whisky Clubs
February 11, 2020 –––––– Susannah Skiver Barton
Drinking whisky is always more enjoyable with friends, but what about when you're on the road and craving companionship, plus a good dram? Join an event hosted by one of these whisky clubs to meet new people, taste great whisky, and expand your network of drinking buddies on a global scale. (Be prepared: not all meetings are in English, so if you don't speak the local language, you may be unable to communicate. Be sure to reach out before showing up, as many events require pre-booking.)
Although Slovakia's drinking culture revolves more around beer, vodka, and fruit spirits, a budding group of whisky lovers in the capital gathers every other month for tastings and education. They focus on scotch most of the time, but have also explored Irish, Japanese, Indian, and Taiwanese whisky.
How to participate: Follow the group on Facebook or Instagram to be alerted to upcoming events, then pre-purchase a ticket.
A casual group of whisky lovers who meet in central London once a month, this club usually follows the “bring a bottle” format, with participants bringing something to share that matches each meeting's theme, such as “Worm Tubs” or “Single Malts under £75.” Other events have an entry fee, typically around £25 to £35, with bottles supplied by the organizers.
How to participate: Check the website's event listings and send a message through the contact page to sign up.
Comprising curious whisky drinkers from around India's biggest tech hub (plus a satellite chapter in Pune), SMAC regularly gathers to enjoy single malt tastings without pretense or inhibition—hence the “amateur” in the name. Scotch makes up a large part of the tasting roster, but is matched by India's locally made single malts like Rampur, Paul John, and hometown hero Amrut.
How to participate: Send a note through the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you're interested in attending a meeting.
This University of Edinburgh club holds once-weekly meetings during the academic year, welcoming guests and members alike. While most tastings center on scotch, the student members promote exploration, and many whisky styles, from bourbon to Australian, make an appearance. A tasting of five to seven whiskies usually costs around £15 for visitors, with any leftovers going for £1 a dram at the end of the night.
How to participate: Join the Facebook group to get details on meetings, held on the campus of the University of Edinburgh.
With 11,000 members all over Italy (and the Italian part of Switzerland), this club and its subsidiary “clans” host 250 events throughout the year. Scotch is a focus, but bourbon, Japanese, and other whisky styles are often represented. Three levels of membership start with a free tier, but non-members are welcome as guests at tastings and other events.
How to participate: Look for an upcoming event on the website and call or email the contact to reserve a place.
From education sessions targeted at beginners to more advanced tastings, like those pairing whisky and cigars, this club in Spain's capital city offers numerous angles to the enjoyment and appreciation of whisky. Its focus is primarily on scotch with other styles tackled occasionally. Tastings cost 25 to 35 euros and are held multiple times a year.
How to participate: Purchase tickets to upcoming tasting events through the club's website.
A nonprofit organization governed by a board, this club holds thirteen meetings a year, hosted by whisky professionals or members. Tastings cover a range of whisky styles, although peated scotch is a perennial favorite, as are beer and whisky pairings and the annual Burns Night. In addition to tastings, members also sometimes host other events like brunches, poker nights, and parties.
How to participate: Guests are welcome, but should be vetted by a member or the host. The fee per event is typically C$60, and guests are asked to bring their own glass.