How to Drink Scotch Whisky
Drinking Scotch whisky sounds as easy as eating a hamburger, but in reality, it’s a lot more complex than what meets the eye. In this article, we’ll be discussing how Scotch whisky originated, how to drink it and the entire whisky-drinking process. If you’re curious to learn more about this beloved alcoholic beverage, keep on reading for more.
Scotch whisky, also known as "Scotch," has a long and rich history that dates back for many centuries. It’s believed that the art of distilling alcohol was brought to Scotland by Christian monks in the early Middle Ages, and by the 15th century, whisky production was widespread throughout the country. Today, Scotch whisky is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world.
There’s a certain art and skill to drinking Scotch. Think of it like tasting wine, it’s a time-consuming, yet memorable experience that leaves you falling in love with its taste and craft. Whisky drinking is so important because it allows you to fully immerse your sight, smell and taste into the drink and appreciate its production from distillery to bottle.
Choosing the Right Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky comes in many different forms that is loved and savoured by many. Choosing the right Scotch whisky can be a personal and subjective decision, as there are many different factors to consider, such as flavour profile, age, and region of origin. It’s important to understand each type of Scotch has its own set of flavour profiles and characteristics that make each one so unique. Some popular examples are:
• Single Malt Scotch whisky is made from 100% malted barley and distilled at a single distillery. It’s renowned for its complex flavours and aromas.
• Single Grain Scotch whisky is made from a combination of malted barley and other grains, such as wheat or corn and is known for its light, sweet flavour profile.
When shopping for a bottle of whisky, it comes down to a matter of two things: your personal taste and reading the whisky labels. The labels often indicate the age, distillery, type of whisky, alcohol volume and region to help you establish the taste and origin of the whisky.
Once you learn how to read a Scotch label, you’ll be able to tell the differences apart. You know yourself best and what you enjoy, so selecting the right Scotch for your palate is a matter of preference. What flavours do you enjoy? Do you care about the different types? It’s a matter of trial and error, but once you figure out your flavour preference, you can experiment more from there.
Selecting the Right Glassware
You wouldn’t eat cereal on a plate, so why would you drink whisky in anything other than a whisky glass? Whether you believe it or not, but the type of glass you choose to drink Scotch matters.
Here are some common glassware you can pair with your Scotch whisky.
1. The Glencairn glass is a small, tulip-shaped glass that is designed to enhance the aroma of the whisky. It has a wide bowl that narrows towards the top, which helps to concentrate the aroma and directs it towards the nose.
2. The Copita glass has a similar shape to the Glencairn glass, but is slightly taller and narrower. It is commonly used in Spanish sherry tastings but has become popular for whisky tastings as well.
3. The Snifter glass has a wide bowl and a narrow top. It is often used for sipping aged whiskies, as the shape helps to release the aromas and flavours.
Choosing the right one really makes a difference. The type of glass you choose allows you to fully immerse yourself in the tasting and can contribute to the flavours and aroma.
Here is a simple guide to help you out:
• Single malt Scotch should be served in a Glencairn glass.
• Blended Scotch can be served in either a Glencairn or tumbler glass.
• Bourbon is ideally served in a tumbler glass
Preparing Your Scotch Whisky for Tasting
This easy step-by-step guide will teach you how to pour whisky correctly and just the right amount.
1. Choose the type of glass you want to drink your whisky from and ensure that it’s clean.
2. Hold it at a 45-degree angle. This will prevent spilling and allows you to be in control of the pouring.
3. Pour in your choice of whisky slowly, keeping the bottle close to the glass. Don’t be tempted to pour in quickly as it can overflow.
4. Try stick to a serving size, which is about 59ml. You can add in more if you prefer.
5. Best rule of thumb is to not fill the glass. Whisky tasting involved swirling it in the glass, so you don’t want to spill that liquid gold.
Whisky is best served at room temperature. This allows you to get the most out of the complex flavours and experience. Adding water to your whisky is for when you feel the taste is too strong. Many people dash whisky with water or add in cubes of ice, and this is always a matter of preference.
Personally, we recommend that whisky should always be served neat. This way, no flavours are diluted or compromised and you can enjoy it at its best.
Tasting Your Scotch Whisky
Tasting your Scotch whisky is the first step of the tasting process. The colour of your Scotch is an indication of how long it’s been aged for. After evaluating the appearance of your Scotch, you should observe its clarity – it should not be cloudy or contain any sediments. It should not have any carbonation or fizziness. If you do see bubbles, it could be a result of contamination or improper storage.
Scotch should be clear, be amber in colour and tasted at room temperature. By taking the time to evaluate the aroma of your Scotch, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity and craftsmanship that goes into making a high-quality whisky. It can also provide valuable information about it and help set expectations for the flavour and overall quality of the whisky.
The finish, also known as the aftertaste, is the flavour that remains in your mouth. A smooth and creamy finish could indicate a well-aged and well-made whisky, while a harsh and burning finish could indicate a lower quality whisky.
Enhancing Your Scotch Whisky-Drinking ExperienceEnhance your whisky-drinking experience by pairing it with food. Certain types of whisky pair excellently with a range of foods. Scotch whisky can be a great accompaniment to food, especially when paired with complementary flavours. For example, an Islay Scotch whisky would pair well with braaied meat or smoked salmon and sherry cask Scotch whiskies would pair beautifully with rich, meaty stews.
Old Fashioned Scotch whisky cocktail recipe
• 2 tsp sugar
• 1-2 dashes of Angostura bitters
• 60ml Scotch
• Soda water
• Orange slice for garnish Mix all the ingredients together in a tumbler until combined.
Add a splash of soda water and garnish with an orange slice. Once you’re done, be sure to store your Scotch in a cabinet that is cool and dark and out of direct sunlight.
There are many different types of Scotch that we encourage you to explore and experiment with responsibly.
Overall, drinking Scotch whisky should be enjoyable, otherwise there is no point. Learn as you go and find what works for you and what doesn’t. To shop our comprehensive range of delicious Scotch whiskies.