Vault of Spirits presents:
How To Enjoy Your Whisky
There are numerous opinions on how to best enjoy your drink within the wide world of whisky. Some will claim that it depends on the type of whisky. Yet the correct answer, of ocurse, remains: Take a sip and swallow it, as preferred. And that could be the end of this whisky-drinking tutorial. But what’s with the numerous different types of glasses? Should you add water – and if so – why not just use ice cubes? What’s wrong and what’s right? We’ll give you the five most popular methods, of how to best enjoy your whisky, below. Disregarding all personal biases – the explaination is as follows:
The Highball Glass
If you order a whisky mixed with anything else, it’s probably this glass you’ll be presented with. It’s commonly a tall, rounded glass that easily holds a straw and a slice of garnish. Typically accompanied by ice cubes, it’s shape allows for a rapid cooling cooling of the drink. This is a glass that is used to enjoy the impression of whisky, (usually in the background of coke, club sods or ginger ale) rather than all aspects of the whisky itself. If you prefer your whisky mixed with bubbles, the highball glass is an outstanding choice.
The Whisky Tumbler Glass
'The Old Fashioned'
The audience favorite also goes by the name of lowball. The size is ideal for a dram, and you have plenty of space for both ice cubes and your favorite mixer. If you ask for a double whisky, this is the glass you’ll see in most cases. Its popularity is largely due to the appearance of whisky on the silver screen, where a man in a suit is seen pouring whisky into a tumbler glass containing an ice cube or two. This treatment, however, does more to disguise the taste of whisky and less to properly experience it to its fullest. As all whisky should be enjoyed at room temperature, the cooling will result in a much milder taste. The ice cubes also contribute to watering down the whisky, and this will of course impact the end result.
It is still common to find a whisky that just feels overpoweringly strong. But no more than a few drops should be added to your glass, as all whiskies are carefully sampled and adjusted before bottling. In any event, it would distort the impression that the whisky was created with. It should be mentioned that adding a drop or two can sometimes bring taste notes to the foreground, that would otherwise be less prevalent. The tumbler glass, with its wide rim and grip-friendly size, makes it easy to add both ice and soda. If you already are familiar with the whisky and the taste is your number one priority, the tumbler glass makes for a great and classic choice.
The Tulip Glass
The tulip glass is – as the name implies – an onion-shaped glass with a rim that narrows in from the mid section of the glass, rising to its end in a smaller rim. It can be found in a number of different sizes and is used for many types of drinks, including both beer and wine. The whisky tulip glass is reminiscent of a miniature wine glass and is typically used for taste testing. The shape of the glass perfectly captures the aroma and assists the olfactory sense, without getting in the way when its time to taste.
The technique consists of first gently swirling the liquid, commonly known from cognac. This both “opens up” the whisky and contains the vapors from the surface of the liquid in the top of the glass. At the same time it is easy to assess the “legs” of the whisky, referring to the trail left on the side of the glass as the oily drops slowly settle down, when the liquid gathers in the bottom. These are prevalent in all whiskies and depend on the conditions of both filtration and maturation. After all, all whiskies are unique. The tulip glass is the winner if you are cracking open a new bottle, and you want to experience the whisky in all its glory.
The Shot Glass
'The Time Traveler'
A classic glass. The shot glass is found in a number of different sizes. However, it is most commonly a small glass that can be held with two fingers and holds less than 4.5 cl. It is often accompanied by a glass of beer, also known as a chaser – a milder drink that substitutes the strength of the previous. The term chaser is, interestingly, applied to the reverse in the UK – meaning a shot glass of liquor that is enjoyed after a sip of the classic pint. The shot glass is optimal for drinking a measure of any kind of drink in a single mouthful, but hardly optimized for experiencing anything outside of alcohol intoxication and its effects. If the consequences are priority number one, you may as well skip the cleaning and proceed directly to…
The earliest glass that whisky was historically presented in. Enjoying the adoration of countless fans worldwide, it is persistently growing in terms of popularity. Bottles come in any number of sizes and shapes, some even including a handle so you can keep a firm grip on your favorite whisky. Commonly, the wide bottom of the bottle is eventually narrowed into a lengthy section before ending in some sort of removable device. Cork stoppers are the preferred material in quality whisky. Its purpose is to tighten the bottle after breaking the seal, ensuring that the whisky can remain within the same quantity for decades without evaporating. Unfortunately, this is far from the ideal method of serving whisky and enjoying its many characteristics.
The experience of evaporating alchol is always the first thing to greet the nose from the bottle. The bottleneck is too narrow to add ice cubes and makes it increasingly difficult to mix the whisky with the contents of other bottles. The air that replaces the space inside the bottle can – over time – bring an unpredictable off-taste to the whisky. Sometimes the exposure to air can benefit the whisky, however, prolonged exposure is most oftenly to the detriment of the liquid. For that reason, it can be highly recommended that you pour your half full bottles into smaller ones, if possible. And if you absolutely have to drink from the bottle, we recommend that you do it responsibly – in moderate amounts – and possibly consider seeking some kind of professional help. If all other options are exhausted and the last cup is in the dish washer, the bottle is the solution.