A Beginner's Guide to Whiskey Drinking

A Beginner's Guide to Whiskey Drinking

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“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough” – Mark Twain

It’s a truth that few can deny that for those of us who appreciate the subtleties of a fine whiskey, there’s nothing that can rival the intoxicating experience of that very first sip. However, if you’re new to the tipple, it can be more than a little bewildering. Is it drunk cold? What’s the difference between single malt and blended? Do I need a special glass?

So, in this short guide, we’re going to address each in full. Let’s dig in.


Q: What temperature do I store and drink whiskey at?

A: As with all things alcohol, everyone’s got their opinion about the right temperature to store you whiskey at. However, there’s a general consensus that most whiskey should be stored between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius. Those are cellar conditions, by which we mean a cool, dark location. If you don’t have a cellar, a dark cupboard will suffice.

Whiskey storage

If you’re drinking your whiskey neat (i.e. without ice or water), this is the right temperature too.

Q: What’s the difference between single malt and blended whiskeys?

A: This one’s a biggie, and indeed, it’s more confusing than it needs to be, so let’s clear it up. Single malt and blended whiskeys are distinct, but not as distinct as most imagine. Single malt whiskey is a blend, but a very specific type.

Put simply, a single malt whiskey is nothing more or less than the product of a single distillery. That means it can be created from a number of barrels or batches. A blended whiskey, meanwhile, will be a product of more than one distillery. Neither classification is considered worse than the other.

Q: Do I need to put water or ice into my whiskey?

A: This is entirely your choice. Some prefer their whiskey neat, whilst others enjoy a single ice cube or a splash of water. Experiment and find out what you like!

Q: Do I need a dedicated glass?

A: Whiskey drunk from your hands will still be whiskey, but a dedicated glass can truly enhance the flavour and experience of your drink. High quality lead-free crystal glasses not only help to keep your drink pure, but add a degree of theatre to your drinking experience that can’t be underestimated.