A Beginner's Guide to Good Whiskey: How to Enjoy This Classic Spirit

Whiskey is an iconic drink enjoyed by connoisseurs for centuries.
Whether you're a seasoned whiskey drinker or new to the world of spirits, the appeal of good whiskey is undeniable.
But with so many brands and types of whiskey to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.
That's where this beginner's guide comes in. In this article, we'll take you through the basics of whiskey, from how it's made to the different types of whiskey available.

We'll also cover the best way to enjoy your whiskey, whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.
So, whether you want to expand your knowledge of whiskey or simply want to know how to drink it like a pro, read our guide to good whiskey for beginners.

The different types of whiskey

Whiskey is produced in many countries, each with their own rules for production and aging.
The two main types of whiskey are Scottish whiskey and Irish whiskey.

Scotch whiskeys are made from malted barley and aged in oak barrels for at least three years.
Irish whiskey, on the other hand, is made from malted barley or a mixture of grains and aged for at least three years. There is also American whiskey, Canadian whiskey, Japanese whiskey and many more.

Each type of whiskey has its own characteristics in terms of taste, color and texture.
Scottish whiskeys are often smoky and peaty, while Irish whiskeys tend to be smoother and fruitier.
American whiskeys are often aged in new oak barrels, giving them a vanilla and caramel taste, while Japanese whiskeys can be light and floral.

Understanding Whiskey Tasting Notes

When you taste whiskey, you can spot different tasting notes, which depend on the type of whiskey you are tasting.
Tasting notes can include aromas of fruit, vanilla, oak, smoke and more.
To fully appreciate the flavors of your whiskey, it is important to taste it correctly.

To properly taste whiskey, you must first smell it.
Bring the glass to your nose and inhale gently to smell the aromas.
Next, taste the whiskey by holding it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
You can try rolling it on your tongue to fully appreciate the flavors.
Try to describe what you taste. You might smell notes of vanilla, red fruits or smoke, for example.

How to store whiskey correctly

Whiskey is a spirit that keeps well, but it is important to store it properly to preserve its quality.
Whiskey should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
It is also important to keep the whiskey upright, so that the cork is in contact with the liquid.
This will prevent oxidation of the whiskey and preserve its taste.

If you have a bottle of whiskey that you haven't opened, it can be stored for years without going bad.
However, once the bottle is opened, the whiskey will begin to lose its flavor and aroma.
To avoid this, it is recommended to consume your bottle of whiskey within six months of opening it.

The best way to serve whiskey

How you serve your whiskey can impact its taste and aroma.
Some prefer to drink their whiskey neat, others prefer it on the rocks, while still others prefer to mix it with other ingredients to create a cocktail.
How you prefer to serve your whiskey will depend on your personal taste.

If you prefer to drink your whiskey neat, serve it in a rocks glass.
The whiskey glass is designed to concentrate the aromas and flavors of the whiskey, providing an optimal drinking experience.
If you prefer your whiskey on the rocks, simply add a few ice cubes to your glass.
This will cool the whiskey and dilute it slightly, which may be desirable for some types of whiskey.

Pair whiskey with a dish or dessert

Whiskey can also be paired with food to create a perfect pairing.
Smoky, peaty whiskeys pair well with grilled meats and spicy dishes, while sweeter, fruitier whiskeys are perfect with desserts and light dishes.
You can also try pairing your whiskey with cheeses or chocolates for a unique tasting experience.

The 5 Best Whiskeys for Beginners to Try

If you're new to the world of whiskey, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Here are five whiskeys recommended for beginners:

Glenlivet 12 years : a sweet and fruity Scottish whiskey with notes of vanilla and citrus.

Jameson Irish Whiskey : a smooth and easy-drinking Irish whiskey, with notes of honey and spices.

Bulleit Bourbon : a rich and spicy American whiskey, with notes of vanilla and caramel.

Nikka Coffey Grain : a smooth and silky Japanese whiskey, with notes of fruit and vanilla.

The Canadian Club : a light and easy-drinking Canadian whiskey, with notes of vanilla and cereals.

Whiskey tasting events and tours

If you want to learn more about whiskey and taste different varieties, whiskey tasting events and tours can be a great way to do so.
Many bars and restaurants offer whiskey tasting evenings, where you can taste different types of whiskey and learn about their making and history.

You can also visit whiskey distilleries to learn about the whiskey making process and taste different varieties.

Whiskey cocktails for beginners

If you prefer your whiskey mixed with other ingredients, there are plenty of whiskey cocktails to try.
Here are some whiskey cocktail ideas for beginners:

Whiskey sour : whiskey, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.

The Manhattan : whiskey, sweet vermouth and angostura.

The Old Fashioned : whiskey, sugar, angostura and sparkling water.

Le boulevardier : whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari.

The Rusty Nail : whiskey and Drambuie.

Conclusion

Whiskey is a complex and fascinating spirit that can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Whether you prefer your whiskey neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, there is a whiskey for everyone.
By following the tips in this beginner's guide, you can learn more about whiskey and learn to appreciate it like a professional.
So, grab a glass of whiskey and enjoy!