Seasoned whisky drinkers often complained about waste – the waste of a whisky when it is not drunk neat. The assumption that whisky must be drunk as intended by the whisky distiller often intimate beginners and causes some to avoid the liquid altogether. Do we need to drink whisky neat every time? Well, not if you are looking to drink whisky for different reasons! There is no right or wrong way to drink whisky. In fact, whisky is a versatile drink.
We look to bartenders and observe how they serve whisky to understand how other people are drinking whisky. We realised that bars serve whiskies in more ways than one!
What are some of the other ways to serve whisky? Let’s find out!
Mixed with Soda aka a Highball
The world credited the Japanese with the invention of the Highball, but the Scots also have drunk whiskies this way since the 16th century. A rich and heavy whisky can benefit from the adding of soda water to make it a Highball, or what we call a “long drink”. It creates a refreshing beverage and also dilutes the alcohol level of the whisky. It is especially enjoyable on a hot day where all you want to do is to chill at a local bar!
With Iceball or Ice Cubes
Whisky is refreshing when it is drunk with an iceball or ice cubes. The ice dilutes the whisky slowly while retaining most of the flavours. It is also an excellent way to test whether a whisky can stand up to the onslaughter of ice and water. A complex and well-balanced whisky will put up a good fight against the ice and water, creating a multi-facade drinking experience for the drinker. A whisky bar will serve whisky with a solid piece of ice as it melts slower and does not dilute the whisky as quickly as ice cubes.
Some bars chill whisky the same way that they chill wine. Interestingly, some whiskies perform better when chilled. We tried chilling whiskies with overwhelming flavours, and the lower temperature does subdue the flavours just a little to make the whisky more manageable. It is also a fantastic way to enjoy whisky without getting it diluted with ice or water.
With a Splash of Water
Some whiskies open up only after a splash of water. Usually, the water is served on the side with a dropper so that the drinker can add the water when he or she wants to. In our opinion, the best way to open up a whisky is to add a drop of water to it, swirl it around and try it again. It often works wonder without diluting the whisky much.
Have it with a mixer
This happens mostly in a pub or a club where people look to drink more than they should. Most of us probably started drinking whisky this way. Add it to a mixer and enjoy it without tasting the alcohol burn. However, as we mature and walk deeper into the whisky forest, we do forsake this habit for more advanced ways of drinking. That does not mean that others who drink their whiskies with a mixer are wrong. We all have to start somewhere, isn’t it?
As a Cocktail
Of course, we are familiar with whisky cocktails. These are perfect companions for dinner or a light drink before a party. Famous whisky cocktails such as Old-Fashioned are popular in Singapore and have always been a favourite among many drinkers. Bartenders who shake up brilliant whisky cocktails are valued (even treasured) by whisky lovers because there are still some days where you want to drink something lighter than a whisky!
Finally, the most basic serving method is to have your whiskies neat. While this is the premium choice of most seasoned whisky drinkers, remember that it is not necessary the best way. If you are not comfortable to drink it neat, why not have it with ice, water, soda or even any other mixers? There is no fixed way to drink whisky! Your bartender is more than happy to serve you whisky in whichever way that you desired!