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Do you like drinking whiskey, but find that you don’t really know all that much about it. As a drink whiskey is actually a lot more complex than most people realize – and delving into it can make drinking much more enjoyable.
To get you started on the road to whiskey appreciation, there are five things that you need to know when you drink it.
Swirl, Sniff, and Sip
The best way to drink whiskey is to swirl it, take a sniff, and then sip slowly – in that order. Swirling the whiskey will help mix in any water that is present, and bring out some of the flavor. Sniffing will let you enjoy the aroma, which is an experience in itself, while sipping will let you slowly taste the complex notes of the whiskey’s flavor.
If you follow these steps you’ll begin to develop a better understanding of the flavors and notes in the whiskey – and it will help you appreciate them more.
A Little Water Goes a Long Way
At the end of the day, it is really up to you how you want to drink your whiskey, but you should know that a little water can make a world of difference. To put it simply water can help to ‘bring out’ the flavor of whiskey and allow more of its taste and smell to come to the surface.
For best results, you should add water drop by drop – using a pipette (or just a straw). With each drop that you add you can give your whiskey a swirl and take a sip until you find the flavor satisfying.
Ice is Not Necessary
Despite the fact that ordering whiskey ‘on the rocks’ (i.e. with ice) is popular, don’t make the mistake of assuming that ice is necessary to drink whiskey. In fact to be perfectly honest ice can stop you from enjoying some of the flavor of whiskey as it numbs your palate.
If you want to add ice just to cool your whiskey, you should opt to use a large ice cube that will melt slower (so it won’t dilute your whiskey as much). Alternatively, you could find specialty cooling stones that will do the trick.
Store it Well
Although whiskey is easy to store, you should still be mindful of how it is kept – especially if it is a particularly good whiskey that you’re saving for a special occasion. As a rule you should make sure that it isn’t directly exposed to sunlight and the room temperature is low (or it will evaporate a whole lot faster).
It would also be best to store the whiskey upright to avoid accidental spillage due to loose corks or screw-caps. In the long term you may want to check and tighten the caps periodically just to be safe.
Whiskey Doesn’t Age Outside the Barrel
Most everyone knows that whiskeys that are ‘aged’ are worth more. However you need to know that whiskey only ‘ages’ while it is still in the barrel – and not outside after it has been bottled.
Suffice to say, keeping a whiskey bottle for a long time in order to ‘age’ it isn’t going to work. At best the whiskey might become a bit more valuable due to rarity – but even that only applies to limited casks or special editions.
See how knowing a little bit about whiskey can help you to enjoy it more? But keep in mind that everything listed above is just advice, and not hard and fast ‘rules’ that you should feel compelled to follow.
When all is said and done the only ‘rule’ that you need to remember is that you should drink whiskey in whatever way you feel lets you enjoy it best. To that end, you should feel free to experiment, try drinking it in different ways, and figure out where your preference lies.