Wits End guide to Whiskey
(or Whisky if you’re drinking the Scottish stuff)
If you’re a seasoned whiskey lover you probably don’t need us telling you how to drink the stuff. But if you’re just discovering the wonderful world of whiskey here are a couple of tips you might want to consider the next time you order:
The next time you order a shot of something like Bakers (107 proof) or Noah’s Mill (114 proof) ask the bartender to put a tiny amount of water in a cup for you. Take your first sip without water and then repeat with a few drops of added water. Notice how the whiskey opens up? There’s more complexity and accents. Give it a shot!
By law, whiskey can be no less than 80 proof and one of the reasons for that is because anything below would be too watery…SO DON’T ADD ANY! All you’re doing is washing away the subtle characteristics of the whiskey. Of course if you’re someone who simply doesn’t like the taste of straight whiskey ask your bartender to recommend a lighter, younger whiskey with lots of citrus and floral notes and you’ll end up with a refreshing cocktail you’re sure to enjoy, and therefore should have more of the mash mix up front and nto quite as much “bite.”
Take a sip and note how it tastes and feels on your lips before entering your mouth. Is it a bit spicy? Smoky? What are the flavor accents?
Let it wash over your tongue for a few seconds but don’t slosh it. Note the depth and weight of the whiskey. Can you taste it opening up? Is it changing or adding more flavors?
Now swallow and pay attention to how it feels and tastes in the back of your throat. Some whiskeys are big “finishers” with a strong burn and plenty to offer at the back end. Some are more subtle. Which do you prefer?
Of course, feel free to enjoy whiskey any way you like. Neat. On the rocks. With soda or water. Mixed into a “Manhattan”, “Old Fashioned”, “Rusty Nail” or any other whiskey based cocktail. But if you’d like to experience the full complexity of our assortment of whiskeys we do recommend that you give the above method a try.
If you have any more questions just stop by the bar and ask our expert bartenders. We’ll even let you read our whiskey books!