Whiskey is as old as hills, as long as those hills were created somewhere around the 1200s.
Though its origins aren’t fully agreed on – some say it was the Italians who perfected making alcohol out of wine through the distillation process. However, it was (unsurprisingly) the Scots who have records of the first shipment of whisky being sold to the King.
With these centuries of experience drinking whiskey, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of ways to do the job. Part custom, part science, and part art - the drinking of whiskey has its own dos and don’ts that not even the most expert tipplers can agree on.
Keep Your Whiskey Ready for Practice
And so, we ask the question again: are you drinking whiskey wrong? Well, there’s no definitive answer, and you have to choose for yourself what suits you best.
But let’s see what the experts say.
According to Scots
It’s possible the Scots invented whiskey (or whisky, by their spelling), so why not see what the OG whiskey drinkers have to say on the matter?
Scotch should be drunk from a whiskey snifter, according to tradition. If you’re not familiar, the whiskey snifter is small up at the top like a champagne flute but widens down at the bottom and often comes with a stem. It’s also much shorter than a champagne flute, probably half the height. The idea is that the shape of the glass preserves the delectable whiskey smell, thereby increasing flavor.
Scotch should also never, according to whiskey experts, be polluted by ice. Ice is believed to completely numb your tongue (preventing you from tasting), and also just blowing out the taste of the whiskey itself, leaving you with plenty of inebriation but not much flavor.
Third, it’s strongly believed that using a dropper or pipette to splash a bit of water in the Scotch helps to mellow out the flavors as well.
Is There Any Truth to Adding Water?
Many whiskey drinkers the world over swear by the tried-and-true wisdom of adding a few drops of spring water to your glass before tipping it back.
Folk wisdom goes that the water dilutes the heavy alcohol tastes and vapors, killing some of the nose-drying, throat-scraping burn and instead allowing you taste the actual flavors of the aged wood and the smoke.
It turns out, folk wisdom was right. The Journal of the Science of Food and agriculture published a study that backed up the popular claim. To quote the study, when talking about the effect of adding water to spirits: “This effect would reduce the spirit–mouthspace partition coefficient with the resulting decreased release of flavour volatile in the mouth. This mechanism would explain the decreased impact of undesirable, immature aromas when wood matured spirits are consumed.”
So, there you go. Adding water doesn’t just dilute it, it starts a chemical process that actually dulls the harsher flavors.
Can I Ever Put Ice in Whiskey?
Of course you can! Whiskey isn’t a homework assignment – it’s a leisure-time drink that’s meant to be enjoyed however you like it. Whiskey on the rocks is a classic drink and won’t be going away anytime soon.
However, if you’re concerned about either diluting the drink (which can happen) and ending up with a watery mess, OR you’re tired of your bros giving you guff about putting ice in your drink, OR it’s just a hot day and warm whiskey sounds like an awful idea, there are a few methods that can help.
Many people prefer the use of whiskey stones, whiskey bullets, or even these awesome Sipdark whiskey balls to cool their rye or bourbon without messing with the flavor. Whiskey drink chillers come in all kinds of styles and materials, from stone to stainless steel, and can be frozen in your freezer and dropped into your drink without any fuss or dilution.
In a Cocktail
Whiskey neat and whiskey on the rocks (or with whiskey stones) may be damn manly, but it can get boring if that’s all you ever drink. Why not mix it up with a classic whiskey cocktail?
Some of the best cocktails for whiskey lovers who want to still taste whiskey are the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, the Mint Julep, or a Sazerac. If you’ve never tried one, hit up a cocktail website and try them! You can even invite your friends over to a “bring your own ingredients” party and try a bunch of new recipes.
There’s No Wrong Way to Drink Whiskey or Use Whiskey Stones
Unless you’re drinking it from a work boot, your whiskey drinking habits are completely acceptable.
However, even if you like your way, why not try one of the methods mentioned above to add a little spice to your life?
Tell us what you think – what’s YOUR favorite way to drink whiskey?
Swing by Sipdark now and pick up some whiskey bullets or to continue your education on the whiskey lifestyle.