Drinking whiskey is an opulent, versatile experience. With flavor notes, styles, alcohol levels, and more, the beverage is as diverse as each taster’s palate. One of the most popular drinks worldwide, there is a whiskey out there to suit every preference. Much like the flavors and styles of the spirit, there are also a variety of ways to drink whiskey. After you make your personalized whiskey bottle, you’ll want to know the best way to sip on your creation.
While there isn’t a right or wrong way to drink your unique whiskey, there are many different options to choose from that can enhance your experience. We’ve created the ultimate guide on how to drink whiskey to make everything less intimidating. No matter whether you’re a beginner or a longtime whiskey drinker, learn which whiskey drinking style is right for you.
NEAT / STRAIGHT
When talking about how to drink whiskey, the main debate is whether to have it neat vs on the rocks. If you’re one for tradition, drinking whiskey neat may be the best option for you. Whiskey neat, or straight, simply means drinking the whiskey without any additives like ice, water, or mixers. Whiskey neat is a method that is usually for more seasoned whiskey drinkers who prefer the pure taste of the spirit without any dilution.
With this approach, the whiskey gets poured directly into a glass from your personalized whiskey bottle. For an enhanced experience, inhale the scent of the whiskey to savor the drink’s aroma, take a small sip, and swirl it in your mouth to pick up on the distinctive tastes of the palate. Make sure you sip slowly to taste the nuanced flavors of the whiskey.
ON THE ROCKS
The other side of the whiskey neat vs on the rocks debate contends that enjoying whiskey on the rocks is a better, more refreshing option. Whiskey on the rocks is a method of how to drink whiskey that calls for pouring the drink into a glass over ice, rather than directly from the bottle without anything added. One can also use whiskey rocks, or whiskey stones, as an alternative to actual ice cubes to cool their whiskey, which prevents dilution.
Some whiskey drinkers appreciate ice for its ability to bring out different flavors and aromatics in the whiskey. Many others sip their whiskey on the rocks to enjoy a cool beverage, as opposed to room temperature. For less dilution, one can add larger ice cubes or a significant amount of ice cubes to the glass. Using more ice or larger ice cubes will melt the ice slower than smaller ice cubes, enabling the enjoyment of the beverage without diluting the flavor.
Having whiskey on the rocks vs neat also helps reduce the intensity of the alcohol, which can be overwhelming for some. The gradual dilution of ice may be especially beneficial to those that are new to whiskey. An option for beginners and experts alike would be to add a single ice cube at a time to their drink to experience the impact on flavor and temperature.
With a Twist
Another option for how to drink whiskey is with a twist. Whiskey with a twist means enjoying the whiskey with a “twist” of a citrus fruit peel, such as a lemon or orange peel. The meat and pith of the fruit are not typically included. Adding a twist adds or enhances citrus notes to the whiskey thanks to the flavorful citrus oils in the fruit’s peel. To enjoy your drink with a twist, add the twist of citrus fruit into the whiskey or hang the rind of the fruit on the glass as a nice garnish.
With a Splash of Water
Whiskey can also be savored with a splash, or drops, of water. This method is different from neat vs on the rocks since you purposefully dilute the whiskey. It is favored for its ability to release more distinctive aromas and flavors. According to research, it all has to do with the chemical makeup of whiskey. Adding a splash of water releases the hydrophobic elements in the whiskey, consequently also releasing the various flavors and aromatics that are present.
To enjoy whiskey this way, start by adding just a few drops of water. The key is to not dilute the whiskey too much, which will impact the whiskey tasting notes. Sip the whiskey to taste and repeat by adding a drop or splash of water to your glass until you achieve a taste to suit your palate. Taking the Palate Test can help determine which flavors align with your personal tastes from fruits and vanilla to a little spice and smokiness.
AS A COCKTAIL
When figuring out how to drink whiskey, enjoying the spirit with a mixer or as part of a cocktail is one popular option. Great for a unique experience or beginner whiskey drinkers, a cocktail can help highlight assorted characteristics in the whiskey and create new flavors. Try shaking or stirring whiskey into a classic or modern cocktail. Some popular whiskey cocktails to try out include a whiskey highball, whiskey sour, old-fashioned, and manhattan.
Choosing How to Drink Whiskey
There is no right or wrong way to drink whiskey. The choice is all yours based on taste preferences, experience level, and more. Whether you are choosing between whiskey neat vs on the rocks or mixing it into a cocktail, there is a myriad of ways to drink whiskey. Immerse yourself in the ultimate whiskey experience by creating your own personalized whiskey blend at home. No matter how you choose to drink your whiskey or the type you prefer, you’re sure to appreciate the complex and delectable flavors that the drink has to offer. Start experimenting and create your perfect bottle today!