A Beginner’s Guide To Drinking Scotch Whisky

Leave your smoking jacket at home (unless you wear it well), and head out to a local scotch bar for an evening of tasting one of the most remarkable spirits available. For generations, scotch was the after-dinner drink for gentlemen only as they retired to the sitting room—women and young people need not attend. Today, both novices and afficionados are quickly realizing that they’ve missed out on this earthy, multi-layered gift from Scotland as it quickly becomes the hottest “new” classic drink of choice.

What Is Scotch?

Scotch whisky (the whiskey with no e) comes to us from the beautiful, misty country of Scotland—and Scotland only. It’s derived from malted barley, usually dried with peat, creating the smokey flavor scotch drinkers love. Then it’s mashed, double distilled, and aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels.

The notes of scotch whisky vary depending on the scotch but are usually smokey, earthy, and medicinal, with citrus or berry flavors, leather, and vanilla. It’s unique, and for those who love it, there’s simply nothing better.

How to Properly Drink Scotch

Certainly, the best way to enjoy any drink is whatever way you prefer. Still, we feel it’s important to discuss the best options for tasting each note of a spirit to gain the full experience. Let’s discuss a beginner’s guide to drinking scotch whisky.

The Glass

Liquors require the right glass for the optimal experience of flavor and aroma. For scotch, a basic short tumbler with a heavy bottom, used for all whiskeys, works well. Another favorite is the whisky snifter. These glasses have a wide bottom and narrow top, trapping the aroma of the whisky in a way that completely satisfies your sense of smell.

Add Water

Contrary to popular belief, adding water to scotch whisky doesn’t weaken it—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Just a couple of drops of water to a dram (2 ounces) of scotch opens it up, releasing the full flavor while reducing the burn of alcohol. And no, easing the burn doesn’t make you less tough; it makes you wise. As the burn decreases, your senses focus on the task at hand—enjoying the layers of notes in your scotch.

You may also add a couple of ice cubes rather than drops of water and experience new notes as the ice slowly melts.

How to Taste Scotch

As with all whiskeys, you can only fully taste scotch whisky when you enjoy it slowly with a few steps in mind.

First, enjoy the aroma. Whisky glasses are designed with aroma in mind. Bring the glass to your nose and lightly breathe in the aromatic notes of your scotch. Each one is different, and the anticipation of the taste builds as you let it permeate your olfactory senses.

Next, take a sip. Please don’t horrify the bartender by throwing back scotch like a shot. It’s a complex liquor created with tasting in mind. Enjoy the sip, and don’t hurry to swallow. Roll the scotch around on your tongue and in your entire mouth. It’s fascinating how different areas of the mouth pick up different flavors.

Last, impress your friends with your description of the many notes you find.

After reading a beginner’s guide to drinking scotch whisky, it’s understandable if all you can now think about is where to buy a fine bottle of this mysterious Scottish drink.

Thankfully, VS Liquor is your source for specialty liquor online. We cater to those interested in only the best and make online ordering simple and quick. Contact us today, and let’s discuss the needs of your liquor collection.