Ask any scotch drinker and they’ll tell you that there’s a true art to drinking scotch whiskey. There are different methods you can practice when drinking a single malt scotch whiskey. This type of whiskey is made from fermented malted barley in a single distillery. There are many delicious and unique ways you can taste this whiskey and still end up with a delectable and smooth flavor every time. Learn the proper ways to drink and enjoy single malt scotch whiskey.
How to Drink a Single Malt
There’s a certain technique that’s best to try when tasting a single malt. Follow these steps to get the most flavor out of your single malt scotch with every sip you take.
1. Serve it at Room Temperature
You might’ve heard that alcoholic beverages taste best when served chilled. While this might be true for most alcohols, it’s not for scotch whiskey. It’s best to serve this drink at room temperature to help bring out the most flavor. This is because the room temperature allows the aromas of the whiskey to evaporate and spread throughout the room. If you were to refrigerate the whiskey, the flavors would tighten and have a tougher time expanding, which could trap some of the flavor in.
2. Drink it Neat
If you’re interested in capturing the full flavor and sensation of your whiskey, consider drinking it neat, rather than on the rocks. For those who are more sensitive to high alcohol content, take small sips to avoid overwhelming yourself. Drinking it neat allows you to find different hints and notes within the drink more easily. As you taste it, search for unique flavors that may be included in your scotch whiskey, like smokiness, vanilla, spice, or woodiness.
3. Add Some Water or a Bit of Ice
Even if you take small sips, you may still feel like the overall flavor of the whiskey is too much to handle. If this occurs, add a dash of water to your drink for a bit of softness to the overwhelming alcohol flavor. This helps reduce the sharpness of the beverage without covering up the overall flavor significantly. You can also make the drink a little more palatable by adding a couple cubes of ice. Try to avoid adding a large amount of ice, if possible, since a chilled scotch whiskey might dilute your drink too much.
4. Look at the Color of the Scotch Whiskey
Before tasting your scotch whiskey, hold it up to the light to check its color. Doing so gives you a better idea of how your particular scotch whiskey was matured. For instance, if your liquid forms a more golden color, this means it most likely came from casks that were made of sherry oak. If it appears to look a little pale, it was matured from a bourbon cask.
5. Lower Your Head to Nose the Drink
Right before your lips touch the whiskey glass, take a moment to open your mouth and breathe in to locate the different scents and flavors surrounding your drink. Take tiny, sharp sniffs of the drink, rather than deep inhales like you would with wine. This keeps you from burning and overwhelming your nose from the intense aroma that a scotch whiskey tends to give off.
6. Take a Sip of the Scotch Whiskey
Now it’s time for you to take a sip of your delicious scotch whiskey. The best way to do this is to curl your tongue into a scooping spoon shape. From there, sip the drink out of your glass. As the liquid hits your mouth, refrain from swallowing the whiskey immediately. Instead, take your time to embrace the flavors by letting it sit on your tongue. Let your taste buds take in the drink and try to detect certain notes and hints of various flavors. Doing this every time you take a first sip helps you better differentiate each new scotch whiskey you try.
Ways to Love Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
Single malt scotch whiskey is a delicious alcoholic beverage than can be incredibly easy to enjoy. Check out these tips to help you embrace the taste more fully and love the single malt scotch whiskey even more.
Find Out How Old Your Scotch Whiskey Is
Many myths and legends will tell you that older scotches are typically the best kinds to drink, but don’t believe everything you here. If you’re a new scotch drinker, you may actually enjoy older ones more than others, as it’s usually smoother and a little more mild to drink. For those who are looking for a stronger and bolder scotch whiskey, go for a drink that’s younger.
Consider the Region Your Malt Comes From
Scotch usually comes from one of six regions, and they all make a unique whiskey taste that some find easy to differentiate from others. If you’re interested in a more saltier flavor, look for a scotch whiskey that originates from the Islands and Islay. Newer scotch drinkers might enjoy those that taste a little sweeter of honey and vanilla. These come from The Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.
Try an Unpeated Scotch First
Have you taken a drink of scotch or whiskey and felt there was too much smokiness? That’s called peat and is usually a defining characteristic of scotch. If you’re still starting out in the scotch tasting game, try scotch that is only lightly peated or unpeated all together. This can be easier for beginner scotch whiskey drinkers to get started with to familiarize yourself with the taste of scotch whiskey as you eventually move up to bolder flavors.
Single malt scotch whiskey is a great drink to enjoy on a night out with friends or when you’re relaxing at home. As you get started with regularly indulging in a glass or two of scotch whiskey, take your time exploring different tones, notes, and flavors until you discover a scotch whiskey that’s your go-to drink.