For a long time, whisky has been savoured and enjoyed with family and friends, whether it's straight from a unique whisky glass or stirred into a cocktail. If you want to enjoy whisky but are unsure where to start, here are some things you should know.
What is Whisky?
Whisky is a spirit that is usually made from malted barley. However, it can also be made with other grains such as corn and wheat. Once malted, the grain is then mashed, which helps break down the starch in the grain and turn it to sugar. This produces a substance known as wort. This mashed grain is then added to water and heated. It is combined with brewer’s yeast, which ferments and produces ethanol. After this, the liquid is then placed into wooden casks and stored. This is where whisky gets its flavour.
Types of Whisky
Bourbon is the most popular whisky in America, and is the best drink to start with if you’re just beginning your whisky journey. It is made from malted corn, making it sweeter than most other types of whisky.
Rye Whisky is also often considered an American whisky. It is made from malted rye, which makes it stronger and spicier than bourbon. Depending on the brand, some flavours can be more aggressive than others, and may contain hints of fruit or smoke.
Scotch is traditionally made in Scotland, which is where it gets its name. Scotch is made from malted barley and has a sharper flavour than bourbon and rye whisky. It is considered more of an acquired taste and is often associated with wealth and class.
Canadian whisky is similar to bourbon, but is often lighter and smoother. Its sweet flavour makes it an excellent choice for those who are just starting their whisky journey. .
Irish Whisky is made using a combination of malted and unmalted barley, giving it a light flavour. It often has hints of vanilla and a slightly floral scent. This makes it another great introduction to those who are just starting to enjoy drinking whisky.
Ways to drink Whisky
Whisky can be enjoyed any way you want. You can drink it straight from a shot glass – also referred to as drinking it ‘neat’ – or you can mix it into a cocktail such as Whisky Sour or fill your glass with ice cubes. Some common mixers are soft drinks, ice, and splash of water.
Tips for drinking Whisky
Whisky, especially stronger types such as scotch and rye whisky, can be an acquired taste. Not everyone will enjoy drinking it straight, at least at first. You may want to try it mixed with some cocktails first such as Whisky Sour. However, if you want to drink your whisky straight, here is how to do it:
1. Pour a small amount of whisky
Don’t fill your glass for a number or reasons. First, if you don’t like it, it’s a waste. Second, the scent may become more overpowering.
2. Swirl your whisky
Swirling your whisky allows you to smell, or ‘nose’ it properly. Swirl it around until it coats the glass, then breathe in with your nose. While inhaling through your nose, open your mouth slightly. This allows the alcohol fumes to escape so you can enjoy the more pleasant whisky scent.
3. ‘Chew’ your whisky
When drinking whisky, roll it around in your mouth and tongue. This allows you to pick up and savour all of its unique flavours.