How To Enjoy A Good Glass Of Scotch

How to drink scotchNorth California areas practically have wine in their bloodstream.  However, when the fog creeps in from the ocean and brings its chill, even the smoothest of reds cannot meet their needs.  It is time to pull out the gold.  Not the metal, but the ultimate comfort drink, Scotch whisky.  It is time to leave the vineyard and seek the cask.

While there are many whiskies available Scotch whisky is different.  In order to be authentic Scotch whisky must meet these standards:

Scotch whisky, as its name implies is made in Scotland.  There the water is mixed with barley and malted.  The starch is converted to sugar which will ferment into alcohol.  The wet grain is mashed in a large vessel to extract the soluble sugar from the barley malt.  This sugar is now converted to alcohol by the action of yeast.  The resulting liquid is distilled using pot stills.  The purified alcohol is then pumped into oak barrels or casks and aged in the unique process of Scotch whisky.

For the best Scotch whisky tasting experience:

  • Serve in a Glencairn crystal Scotch whisky glass
  • Keep serving sizes to approximately one half of an ounce of Scotch Whisky
  • Drink Scotch whisky neat or mix up to a 1:1 ratio with distilled water at room temperature
  • Sip slowly, allowing the Scotch Whisky to linger over the tongue.

While old movie stars may have favored Scotch whisky on the rocks, ice kills the flavor.  Scotch whisky is not a spirit to be consumed chilled.  It has warm, complex flavors that the rapid cooling disseminates harshly.

On the other hand, pure, flavorless distilled water can highlight the profiles of the flavor.  Simply add the amount desired and swirl to mix.  Water dilutes the alcohol allowing a creamier texture to develop.  It allows the individual to prolong the glass and enjoy the subtleties he or she might have missed otherwise.  Perhaps a note of spice or hint of caramel that would have otherwise been missed will be detected.

While many assume older scotch is better, personal preference is actually the best guide.  Many prefer the taste of the younger bottle.

After a gentle swirl, take time to smell the Scotch whisky from a few inches away, and then bringing it closer.  Be careful that the alcohol does not overwhelm the nose.  Open the mouth slightly to allow the flavor profiles to develop fully.  As with wine, each individual experience a large range of textures, smells and tastes.

Many factors affect the aroma and taste of the Scotch whisky.  The shape of the still should be wider at the base and provide a long neck.  Copper is the preferred metal.  The type of oak used in the cask and time of aging all influence subtle flavors.

To best experience the flavor of Scotch whiskey, choose one of two flavors other than tasting.  Cup the hand over the glass and allow the whiskey to wet the palm.  Rub the palms together until dry and inhale the spirit’s scent.  This allows you to pick up on any subtleties, especially if testing a sherry single malt.  The other way involves dipping the tip of the finger into the glass and rubbing the damp finger on the back of the hand until dry for a similar experience.

Posted in