How goes it gents?
We hope you all are having a wonderful day. Even if you already are, this article will definitely make it that much more awesome! If you recall, MP gave our beloved students a brief introduction to the world of whisk(e)y as a gateway to our fine spirits series.
Now that we know a little bit about our mission, it’s time for us to pack our bags and get ready for this amazing journey. To help everyone prep for departure, you’ll need to bring the following items…
Wine is best indulged in a tall wine glass. Beer is properly poured into icy cold mugs, pint glasses or boots. Champagne is elegantly delivered in a skinny flute. Tequila is best consumed in a shot glass. Vodka is traditionally taken in a plastic red cup. Regardless what your drink of choice is, there usually is a specific vessel that houses your liquid. The same logic applies when it comes to whisky. If you are simply looking to drink your whisky, then look no further than the traditional tumbler glass. The round and bulky look and feel of the glass provides a sturdy grip to the user while portraying a manly image. If you are looking to taste your whisky, then you MUST get yourself the godfather of all whisky glasses: the Glencairn whisky glass (aka the nosing glass). The Glencairn is famous for its short round body and the narrow nose at the top. The size of the glass makes it the perfect measurement to hold the precise amount of alcohol while the narrow opening allows the fumes emitting from your drink to be concentrated for a more defined aromatic experience. NOTE: The rule of thumb is to usually drink blended whisky out of the tumbler glass while indulging single malt whisky out of the Glencairn.
Having the right cup is just the beginning. When it comes to consuming whisky, there are multiple ways of ordering your drink. Here are some of the common methods of ordering whiskies:
· “Neat” – 100% original. Have the drink without any ice, water or other ingredients. AKA “Don’t eff with my drink”.
· “On the rocks” – Serving your drink with a cube of ice or ice cubes.
· “With a splash…” – Mixing your alcohol with a tad bit of other liquid: water, soda, juice, etc.
Here is what you need to know:
· Drinking whisky “neat” usually allows the consumer to taste the 100% raw ingredients and alcohol concentration of the spirit. BUT, depending on the type of whisky and alcohol volume, there are minor exceptions (read on).
· When it comes to “on the rocks”, MP recommends this should be saved for the mixed drinks (i.e. Jameson and Ginger, Jack and Coke, Juice and Gin, etc.) over crushed ice. When it comes to consuming whisky by itself (blended or single malt), all you need is one single ice cube to sufficiently chill your drink without diluting the flavors. REMEMBER IT WELL!
· When ordering whisky “with a splash”, the intention is usually to bring some other flavors (fruity, sweet, etc.) into the equation. It’s usually wise to have a splash of soda or juice in strong blended or cheap whiskies for those who aren’t yet accustomed to the rich flavors of this excellent spirit.
· Bonus: remember how I mentioned above that there are exceptions to adding something into single malt whiskies? Here’s what you should do (with a caution of course): you are allowed to add a couple drops of water (cold or room temperature, but NEVER warm or hot) into your single malt scotch, or any whisk(e)y of your choice. The reason for introducing a bit of water to a whisky drink is to 1) dilute the alcohol volume. Typically when alcohol concentration is lowered to between 38-45%, it is enough for one to savor the raw ingredients and flavors without being overpowered by the alcohol. 2) The addition of H2O actually causes a slight chemical reaction with the oil particles within the whisky and in return, triggers the release of more aroma and flavor from the alcohol.
In addition to having the right materials, one must also bring his or her senses to this exquisite show. The three important senses are needed in order to fully immerse oneself: sight, smell, and taste. One must first disconnect these individual senses from the central nervous system and use them separately. Only when you reach the stage of consuming the whisky do you reconnect all three senses and prepare yourself for a mind-blowing experience…
To find out how to properly use your senses and connect the dots, be sure to check back for our part 3 of this whisk(e)y mini series.
Photos used under CC from Patrik Nygren, Can Mustafa Ozdemir