Looking for a birthday gift for a traditional man in your life? A guy that likes everything traditional and classy? Sip Dark has years of experience dealing in high end whiskey accessories, and we know just the kind of guy you’re thinking about. He loves to relax with friends with a quality beverage, he likes to have his feet up by the fire, he loves walks in the countryside and he’s a dog person.View full article →
Food lovers know how satisfying it can be to perfectly match a meal with a wine, but did you know that whiskey is also a great accompaniment to food? The Scots know this all too well, and have long been matching food with their wide range of Scotch whiskies.View full article →
Scotch is one of the most popular whiskeys around, and it has a surprisingly long history in Europe. The United States produces some incredible whiskeys, but the sheer amount of history the beverage has in Scotland really does give the country an edge.
Scotch whiskey was originally made from malted barley, and the first mention of the beverage was in 1495, within the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. To this day, whiskey distillers who create scotch must abide by a strict set of legal requirements, to ensure that the quality is as high as it is expected all over the world.
Scotland has a multitude of extremely popular distilleries that create this fantastic beverage, one of which is Glenmorangie.
Award-winning Scottish distillery, Glenmorangie, has announced that it will be released its eighth rollout of a Private Edition Series, called Bacalta. This is the first ever whiskey from Glenmorangie that was finished entirely with sun-baked Malmset Madeira casks.
The latest scotch from the renowned distillery is 46% ABV, and the casks used for maturing were made using air-seasoned and tight-grained American oak staves. Heavily toasted and filled with Malmset Madeira (which was specially sourced for this project), the casks were left to bake in the American sunshine for two whole years.
When the casks were ready, they were shipped off to Scotland where they were filled with Glenmorangie’s specially selected whiskey, which had already been matured in barrels previously used for bourbon. This amazing process is what produced the Glenmorangie Bacalta Scottish whiskey, and the distillery seems excited about it.
Dr Bill Lumsden, the Director of Distilling at the famous distillery, commented on the launch:
“For years I had longed to create the best Madeira-finished whisky possible. Realising that ambition took time and dedication, as every step of extra-maturation was tailored exactly to our specifications – rather like haute couture. Connoisseurs will recognise the radiating warmth of our bespoke sun-baked casks in Glenmorangie Bacalta’s aromas of ripe apricots, white chocolate and mineral notes. There are complex tastes of mint toffee, baked fruits, honeycomb, almonds and dates, mingling with marzipan, white pepper and melon – and a rich, syrupy finish. Glenmorangie Bacalta is a burst of sunshine in a glass.”
At Sip Dark, we love great whiskey – that’s why we sell some of the very best whiskey glasses around. Our range of Glencairn glassware allow you to experience the full aroma of your single malts and whiskey blends, thanks to the tulip-shaped bowl. Our online store offers everything from high quality nosing glasses to our classic Glencairn Flight Set.
Remember that good whiskey is all about the experience, so if you’re looking forward to experiencing Glenmorangie’s latest offering, make sure you have the right glasses at hand!
New to whisky? You’ve got a lot to learn, and plenty of cocktails to explore. Whether you’ve just had your first sip of great American whiskey, or you’re just looking to learn more about the world of whiskey cocktails, Sip Dark is here to help.
Not only do we bring you the very best in whiskey rocks (seriously, have you tried our amazing Soapstone cooling rocks yet?), we also know what makes a great whisky cocktail. So before we introduce you to our four favorite cocktails that we think you need to try, we’re going to explain some of the basics of cocktail making.
So you’ve got your favorite scotch or bourbon whiskey to hand, and you’re ready to start making cocktails.
Now you know some of the basics, we’re excited to introduce you to some of the classic scotch and bourbon whiskey-based cocktails. You’ll probably have heard of many of them, through classic movies and literature – and now’s your chance to experience them yourself!
The most common story told about the origins of the Manhattan cocktail goes as follows. In the Manhattan Club in New York City in the 1870s, the Manhattan was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet being hosted by the mother of British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Lady Randolph Churchill hosted the dinner in honor of Samuel J. Tilden, a presidential candidate at the time. However, the story is almost certainly historically inaccurate as Lady Randolph was in Europe at the time.
To make a classic Manhattan, you’ll need:
To make the cocktail, take a small handful of ice and add it to your cocktail shaker. Next add two parts whiskey to one part vermouth, and 2 dashes bitters (whether it’s Angostura or otherwise is up to you!). Take the orange peel and rub it around the rim of your cocktail glass (if you don’t already have glasses, take a look at Sip Dark’s great range of whisky glasses), and then strain your cocktail into the glass. Add a couple of cherries and you’re good to go!
The Old Fashioned is another legendary cocktail, and the sweetness balances out the taste of the rye whiskey used to create it. It’s sweet, bitter and smooth, and not difficult to make.
To make an Old Fashioned, you’ll need:
Start by combining the bitters, syrup, whiskey and ice cubes and stir thoroughly. To top it off, squeeze a little orange peel into the glass to release oil from the zest, and then leave it in the cocktail as a garnish. The sweetness of the syrup mixes perfectly with the cocktail’s bitterness – and it’s seriously easy to make.
The Hot Toddy is different to most cocktails, in that it’s served hot and in a glass with a handle. If you’re preparing the cocktail at home, it’s not uncommon to simply serve it in a teacup or mug. This is a warming drink that’s perfect for cold weather, or even when you’re ill. It was invented in the mid-1800s and was originally any spirit served hot with water and honey, designed to cure illness.
Today, the Hot Toddy is a rye whiskey cocktail that’s great even when you’re on top of your game!
Here’s what you’ll for a Hot Toddy it:
To make this delicious hot cocktail, pour your whiskey and honey into a glass, teacup or mug. Add the nutmeg and clove to the mixture, and then pour in boiling water from your kettle. Stir thoroughly, and then finish the cocktail with a slice of lemon, either resting on the rim of the glass or just floating in the cocktail. Enjoy!
Finally, there’s the whiskey sour. A legendary whiskey cocktail that makes use of raw egg white, this is not necessarily the easiest to make. If you’re willing to accept a challenge, however, then you might just be able to pull this off.
Here’s what you’ll need for a Whiskey Sour:
Start by putting all the ice and ingredients in a shaker. You should ensure that your shaker is chilled. If the ice and shaker does not sufficiently chill the cocktail, then the egg white will not froth as much as you need it to.
Once in the cocktail shaker, shake for around 20 seconds. Then strain the cocktail into a glass, and top it with a slice of orange. You’re done!
For those who are new to whiskey, it’s important you have all the right equipment. Whether it’s a high quality whiskey glass, or your very own engraved, custom whiskey spheres, Sip Dark has something for you.So get experimenting, and enjoy these classic whiskey cocktails!
Love whiskey, but get confused by the variety of glasses used by seasoned drinkers? Don’t worry! Sip Dark is here to put things right, and introduce you to the many drinking vessels used in whiskey drinking, and how you can get the most out of the experience.
Whiskey tasting is such a popular pastime not just because it provides a social experience to the drinkers, but because of the incredible diversity in taste. Whiskeys are left to mature in barrels made of different woods and soaked in different substances, creating unique flavors in every batch. To really understand these flavors, it’s essential that you use appropriate glasses and learn how to experience those tastes and smells.
In this guide, we’ll look at the different kinds of glasses that are available, as well as the way in which you are meant to taste whiskey.
The NEAT glass is not a traditional whisky glass, but it’s certainly popular. It was created by accident, when a mistake was made in a glass blowing factory. The error resulted in a glass that has a wide lip and spherical base, that makes it perfect for moving harsher vapors away from the nose.
NEAT stands for ‘Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology’, and it is used for the purpose of getting rid of light ethanol molecules and maintaining heavier molecules within the glass. It’s a great glass for newbies, but for the more experienced whiskey drinker, you might want to keep in some of those harsher vapors.
The Snifter is a much more traditional whiskey glass, and it’s often seen accompanied by a cigar and a man in a suit. It’s a classy, traditional drinking vessel that is designed in a way that allows the drinker to hold the glass almost horizontal, without spilling a drop of whiskey.
Interestingly, though, it’s not the best for people who want to taste everything the whisky has to offer, with its tight rim and wide body that release harsher vapors that overpower some of the lighter aromas.
The Tumbler is easily the most common whisky glass, and for good reason! The wide rim is practically the same width as the body, allowing all vapors and aromas to escape equally, making it ideal if you’re looking to experience everything the whiskey offers. Fill it up with your favorite American whiskey, pop in a couple of our very special Whiskey Bullets, and enjoy!
If you haven’t already heard of our Whiskey Bullets, ask yourself why! These stainless steel bullets are a great way to chill your whiskey in your glass, without diluting it with melting ice.
Now we come to the Glencairn. This glass has a short and solid base that makes it popular with people who don’t like stems on their glasses. It’s narrower and taller than a tumbler, and owing to the slightly wider base, it’s perfect for swirling your whiskey. This bowl shape at the bottom gathers the whiskey’s natural aromas and allows them to travel easily up to the rim, making it exceptionally popular with whiskey connoisseurs.
Sip Dark also has a range of Glencairns available. Imagine drinking your favorite whiskey from our high-quality glasses, with our stainless steel cooling bullets. What an experience!
Finally, there’s the Tulip glass. This is a glass based on the design of the traditional Spanish copita glass used for sherry. It’s the choice of master distillers all over the world, and perfect if you really want to immerse yourself in the world of whisky.
It has a stem like a wine glass, but also a tall and narrow shape with a bowl that’s wider than the rim. The long stem stops the drinker’s hand from coming too close to their nose, which can affect the smell of the whisky (believe it or not!). The bowl shape them pushes those great aromas up to the narrow rim, letting you experience every single flavour and smell infused into the beverage.
If you want to truly appreciate whisky, this is the glass for you.
No, we don’t mean knocking it back as quick as you can! To understand appreciate the flavors infused into your favorite scotch or bourbon, you’ll need to learn how to drink it. This is an art form you’ll learn more about as you continue your journey, but this guide is going to simplify it to give you a head start.
Believe it or not, but what we taste is dictated as much by our noses as it is by our mouth. A flavor is created by a combination of taste and smell, which is why the shape of the glass is so important. So before you take a sip of your whiskey, be sure to put your nose inside your glass and take a sniff. The first smell you experience will be mostly alcoholic, but once it clears your nostrils, the second and third sniffs will be much more satisfying. It’s now that you will begin smelling the aromas that are infused into the whiskey during the maturation stage.
After smelling your whiskey, you now need to take a small sip and roll the liquid around in your mouth a little. Don’t just swallow it immediately – let it sit on your tongue and see what flavors you can experience. Given that whiskey is matured in wooden barrels, it’s possible that you’ll get a smokey flavor. You may also taste the classic vanilla or toffee flavors.
Smelling your whiskey as you drink will make you appreciate the hard work that goes into it so much more, and you’ll soon get the hang of it. Instead of sipping your whiskey without paying attention, you’ll soon be spending an hour enjoying your whiskey and noticing hints of new flavors every time. It’s an enjoyable experience and it’s accessible for everyone!
Convenient bottling of the ingredients has led to an obscured view of what a whiskey sour should taste like. The name reveals that it is meant to be a lip-puckering drink, but there should also be a sweet side to balance that out. For many drinkers, the sour was their introduction to the wonders of whiskey, hopefully leading them to try it straight.
Whiskey sours date back over a hundred years, becoming infamous for containing a unique combination of sugar and lemon juice, along with your whiskey of choice. Now while the drink may be intriguing, its past is not nearly as illustrious.
A man by the name of Elliot Stubb is credited with creating the first whiskey sour back in 1872, but the first reference to the drink came two years earlier in a Wisconsin newspaper. It may be unclear how the drink really became mainstream, but after over a century of delighted sourpusses, that point seems moot.
Combine all of the liquid ingredients in a cocktail mixer, add the ice, and shake until well-blended. Strain the mixture into the ice-filled glass and garnish with the lemon rind, maraschino cherry and orange slice.
In the over a hundred years the whiskey sour has been around, creative minds have found ways to improve on the original recipe. Some of these variations are simple additions to add depth or flavor to the cocktail, while others make it seem like a completely different drink.
Add a Dash of Egg Whites – Known as the Boston Sour, a dash of egg white will make the cocktail have a little more froth with the bite.
Use Apricot Brandy – Substituting the bourbon for Apricot Brandy makes the drink sweeter, yet stiffer, as does the half ounce of Remy Martin added to the drink. The Baltimore Bang can also be made using Cognac, a nod to the bottle that is left on Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore gravesite each year.
Tap Into Maple Syrup – The Maple Rye Sour is almost entirely unique. Maple syrup replaces the Gomme, and rye whiskey replaces the bourbon. A bit of orange juice is added to make the cocktail appear bright and cheerful, while covering up the whiskey bite. You can also add a small amount of Luxardo Amaro Abano liqueur for a luxurious finish.
Go Herbal – The Libertine is slightly complex to make, but well worth the effort. Start by boiling a sprig of rosemary with two ounces of simple syrup. Let it cool before taking the rosemary out and adding the syrup to four ounces of bourbon, two of lemon juice and two teaspoons of orange marmalade. This is transferred to the glass before shaking together a tablespoon of maple syrup with fresh orange juice and one egg white. Spoon that over the cocktail and use a fresh sprig of rosemary to garnish this deliciously herbal cocktail.
Be Bitter – The Scottish Dream uses grapefruit juice, cinnamon syrup, and of course Scotch as the base ingredients, adding a dash of black mission fig bitters for good measure.
Make it a Sherry Sour – Using a dry sherry with the sour mix will add a floral note to the drink. Dubbed Pedro’s Revolver, this cocktail gained fame at the Grey Plume Restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska and uses rye whiskey for the base.
Spice it Up – Substitute Aquavit for the bourbon and add Tawny Port, lemon juice, and cinnamon syrup before pouring the mixture into a wine glass. Now float some red wine on top with a sprinkle of nutmeg and you have accomplished the spicy Otto’s Sour.
Take a Trip to the Big Apple – The New York Sour replaces whiskey with a flavorful VSOP and rich cognac like Remy. These, along with orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar are blended together before being poured into a wine glass. A half ounce of dry red wine is then spooned over the top, resulting in a complex blend of flavors that work marvelously together.
Get Punchy – The award-winning Citrus SAVEUR combines white corn whiskey, grapefruit juice, and mint simple syrup for a cocktail that tastes like it belongs in a laced punch bowl.
Go For Foamy Flavor – When you mix the Boston Sour with Buffalo Trace Bourbon and use fresh lemon, you achieve a cocktail that has a hint of vanilla flavor topped with a rich layer of foam. Bartenders call this concoction the Melisse whiskey sour.
Make it Sweet with Marmalade – One teaspoon of orange marmalade and a couple of drops of Angostura bitters is all it takes to copy this whiskey sour recipe served at Clyde Common Tavern in Portland.
Get Bitten by a Rattlesnake – The Rattlesnake Cocktail is a combination of blended whiskey, absinthe, lemon juice and simple syrup, made frothy with the addition of an egg white. This drink has been around since the 1930s, promising to kill rattlesnakes, cure their bites and even make you see them.
Come Back from Death’s Door – A whiskey sour with a hint of the tropics, White Whiskey Punch relies on a white whiskey like Death’s Door for its refreshing color. Mix it with pineapple juice, fresh lime, and syrup, add a pineapple wedge, and you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the beach in the Caribbean.
Add a Touch of Rouge – For Alexis’ Bordeaux Sour you will need a few extra cherries for muddling along with an ounce of Lillet Rouge. An egg white, orange bitters and a splash of seltzer round out an array of ingredients for a whiskey sour that will make you blush.
Sour drinks are the perfect complement to the biting flavor of whiskey and bourbon. There might be over a dozen ways in which the whiskey sour has been reinvented since its introduction, but each one still has that unique combination that has made it the classic cocktail.
When comparing bourbon vs whiskey, bourbon stands out from the numerous whiskey types with its deliciously sweet flavor. Bourbon is an amber-colored pioneer in American history, establishing itself as one of the most well-known distilled spirits around the world.
Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented grains. Within the category of whiskey drinks lies multiple subsets including bourbon, scotch, and Irish whiskey. Advancements in technology have given manufacturers control over all aspects of production from harvesting grains to storing spirits.
Whiskey is made in different parts of the world. Distillers use diverse grains including wheat, rye and barley. On the other hand, bourbon must contain a grain mix of at least 51 percent corn. Bourbon must be stored in barrels at no higher than 62.5 percent concentration, while whiskey can be stored at a minimum of 40 percent concentration.
Whiskey encompasses a variety of unique spirits that are found in liquor and grocery stores. The world’s leading whiskey guide evaluates over 4,600 different types of whiskey with helpful, unbiased information.
In 1897, the government set the standards for distilling whiskey with the Bottle in Bond Act. This act requires bourbon to be distilled no more than 160 proof. The aging of the barrels often adds alcoholic content that can be dissipated with water as needed. Other whiskeys can go up to a maximum of 190 proof, making them more concentrated.
Bourbon has not always been the popular drink it is today. In the early 1900’s, bourbon was viewed as a cheap commodity with an extremely bitter taste. Bill Samuels transformed the bourbon landscape with the emergence of Maker's Mark Distillery.
A fundamental difference between bourbon and whiskey lies in the whiskey barrel. The government requires bourbon to be stored in new, charred white oak barrels which can be reused for other types of whiskey such as scotch and Irish whiskey.
If aged for less than four years, the bottle must be labeled with the age duration. Straight bourbon is aged for at least 2 years for a full-bodied flavor. Jim Beam leads the bourbon whiskey industry with their aged Kentucky straight bourbon with its smooth, mellow flavor.
Legally, for whiskey to be classified as bourbon, it must be produced in America. Other whiskey makers operate around the world using color and flavor additives, but authentic bourbon only adds water to reduce the proof percentage as needed.
The popularity of the alcoholic beverage subset is unmatched by other types of whiskey in the industry. Spirits such as Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey may qualify under government regulations but are not marketed as bourbon. Production regulations extend to other types of whiskey, such as rye whiskey that is distilled from at least 51 percent rye.
When comparing the two, bourbon represents an American-made spirit that is popular throughout the world. Whiskey lovers know the difference between bourbon and whiskey lies not only in the manufacturing regulations but in the smooth, sweet taste of bourbon.
Liquor drinkers throw the word proof around like it’s a badge of honor, not really understanding how that honor was earned. Proof is a big part of a whiskey’s description, letting the drinker know how much alcohol they are about to consume.
In the United States, it is required by law for every alcoholic beverage to list its alcohol content by volume. On a whiskey bottle, the proof will be listed right next to that, and reflect exactly two times the alcohol content. This may seem superfluous, but the reasoning is imbedded in the history of spirits.
Three centuries ago, the production of whiskey was rudimentary. There were no high tech tools lying around to help distillers figure out how much alcohol their blend contained. The best way (at the time) to find out was to pour a small amount over gunpowder and set it on fire.
Whiskey that had been diluted would not spark the wet gunpowder. Instead, it would quickly fizzle out. This showed that there was a very low alcohol content to the bottle. Strong whiskey would cause the gunpowder to catch fire, and even spark, giving the distiller the “proof” they needed that their blend was an intoxicating one.
Eventually the method became a little more scientific, and numbers were assigned to indicate the point at which there was enough alcohol in the whiskey to spark the gunpowder. In some cases, that point was too much, which is why we sometimes see a proof that is over 100.
In the 1730s, the hydrometer was invented, which allowed for a more accurate measurement of the alcohol percentage per volume. This eliminated the need to waste good whiskey by setting it on fire. Still, the term stuck because by that point that is what the consumer expected.
By the turn of the 19th century, United States distilleries had a very simple method of measuring alcohol by volume in place. The government began requiring that the alcohol content be displayed by percentage on each bottle. This is the ABV number you see printed. Whiskey distillers are still allowed to print the proof as well, which is twice the amount of alcohol, even though that information is technically already there.
Since the bottling laws in the U.S. obligate whiskey distillers to list the actual alcohol content as a percentage by volume, having the proof displayed would seem redundant. Yet, traditionalists prefer to refer to their favorite spirit by its proof. Just imagine how it would sound asking for a Jack Daniels, 50% alcohol to your local bartender. A glass of 100 proof Jack straight just sounds cooler.
The art of distilling whiskey has been evolving for centuries, yet there are some components that we are just not willing to give up. Distilleries may have abandoned actually setting their liquor on fire, but the word proof won’t ever lose its place on the bottle’s label.