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5 Tips on How to Make Whiskey Taste Good

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

When it comes to whiskey, some elements can affect the taste. The type of whiskey, the aging process, and even the type of barrel used for aging can all play a role in the final flavor.

Even though different people have different preferences when it comes to the taste of whiskey, a few things can be done to improve the flavor.

The easiest way to improve the taste of your whiskey can be as simple as adding ice or water, though even the type of glass and the amount of air can make a difference in the taste.

To help you make the most of your drink, we will look at the different ways to make the best of your whiskey!

5 Best Tips on How to Make Your Whisky Taste Good

Add a Drop of Water

add a drop of water

Not only one of the oldest tricks in the book but also a move that will make you look like a true connoisseur.

While it’s true that some people see adding water to whiskey as sacrilege, the practice serves a purpose, and that is by opening up the flavor of the whiskey.

When first distilling the whiskey, it is very high in alcohol content and can be pretty harsh to drink. Adding water to whiskey lowers the alcohol content and allows the subtle flavors of the whiskey to come through.

This is because water releases more aroma molecules, allowing them to evaporate into your nose as opposed to being trapped in a bottle.

Because flavor appreciation happens at least as much in the nose as on the tongue, watered-down spirits might make drinkers believe they are tastier and help them look past particularly offensive ethanol on the nose.

So, don’t be afraid to add a drop or two of water to allow the whiskey to flourish, especially when cocktails aren’t an option.

If a drop or two of water becomes your thing, try using a Pipette (a water dropper specifically for drinking whiskey).

Add Ice to Your Dram

add ice to your dram

Similar to adding a drop of water, dropping in an ice cube is a way to allow aroma molecules to release. But adding ice has a few distinct benefits of its own.

First, ice can help to dilute the whiskey more effectively than a drop or two of water. This can be beneficial if the whiskey is particularly strong or if you want to enjoy it over a more extended period of time.

Additionally, the ice can help to release even more aroma molecules, providing a more intense flavor experience.

Of course, adding ice will also cause the whiskey to lose some of its heat, so it is essential to find the right balance for your personal preferences.

Use Specific Glassware When Drinking Whiskey

use specific glassware

When it comes to drinking whiskey, the type of glass you use can make a big difference. Master distillers and experts in the industry prefer tulip-shaped glasses with a tapered neck. Or, more specifically, a glass called the Glencairn.

The shape of the glass allows for more oxygen to reach the whiskey, which releases more of its aromas. The tapered neck also concentrates those aromas, making them easier to detect.

In addition, the tulip-shaped glass provides a small surface area for the whiskey to interact with oxygen, which helps soften the drink’s harsh edges and round out its flavor.

Using a tulip-shaped glass allows a concentrated delivery of aromas to the nose through a narrow rim. The thinner rim also impacts the intensity of aromas, giving the drinker a more intense experience.

On the other hand, a wider bowl allows for more air circulation and prevents the concentrated delivery of fragrances.

This can be beneficial for those who want to enjoy the subtle flavors of whisky without being overwhelmed by them. So if you’re looking to get the most out of your whiskey drinking experience, be sure to pour it into a Glencairn glass.

Take a Deep Breath

If neat is the only option, the best practice is to stick your nose in the glass and sniff.

When it comes to whiskey, the nose knows. The complex aromas of a good single malt can give you clues about its history, its production methods, and even where it was bottled.

But if you want to get the most out of your whisky-sniffing experience, there’s one crucial tip to keep in mind: before you take a whiff, slightly open your mouth.

According to Neuroscientifically Challenged, the air bypasses the olfactory bulbs responsible for processing smells when you breathe through your nose.

By keeping your mouth slightly open, you allow air to flow directly to the bulbs, which will help you appreciate all the complex aromas of the whisky. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to pick up on all the subtle notes in the whiskey.

Another sniffing tip: smell using both nostrils moving side to side. This is because both nostrils are different and will pick up other qualities.

You’ll get a more complete picture of the whiskey’s aroma by sniffing with both nostrils. The right nostril will pick up on subtler scents. The left nostril is better at detecting heavier scents.

So next time you’re at a tasting, remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the whole bouquet of your favorite dram.

Use Mixers

seagram’s 7 whiskey prices and variations

When done correctly, mixing whiskey with other ingredients can create a truly unique and enjoyable experience.

Try mixing your whiskey with ginger ale or cola. The sweetness of these beverages complements the bold flavors of whiskey, resulting in a well-balanced drink.

If you prefer something more unique, consider adding bitters or citrus juice. These ingredients can help enhance the flavor of whiskey and add sophistication to your drink.

So, whiskey neat, on the rocks, or in a paper cup- all that matters is your own preference. Understanding how adding to your drink affects the flavor can help you make the best decision for your next glass.

How to Make Whiskey Taste Good – Final Thoughts

If you enjoy the whiskey’s flavor undiluted, drinking it neat is the way to go. On the other hand, adding a bit of water or a mixer can help smooth out the flavors if you find the whiskey too strong.

Ice can also be used to temper the drink’s heat while still allowing the full flavor of the whiskey to shine through.

Ultimately, the best way to make whiskey taste better is to experiment with what works best for you.

About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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