A Gentlemen's Guide on How to Drink Scotch


It is estimated that 44 bottles of Scotch Whisky are shipped to 180 markets around the world every second. This spirit has an illustrious history and the ways to drink it are just as varied as the many types available on the market. So how do you consume it properly?

While it is down to individual preference, some tips can help. Read on as we tell you how to drink Scotch correctly. 

1. Pouring

Most bars will serve you whisky in an open tumbler-style glass, used for drinking Scotch with ice. However, the perfect way is with a designated whisky glass known as a snifter. 

These glasses have a wide bottom and narrower top, like a tulip bulb. It allows the whisky to breathe while catching its aroma in the glass. This is the best way to sip neat whisky as it provides a rounder concentration of the flavours. 

2. Should You Put Water in Scotch?

This is a matter of preference. Water will suppress the alcohol molecules in your whisky as well as the flavours taken from the barrel during the maturing process. However, this is not a bad thing as it can open up new notes and balance. 

Cask strength and barrel-proof whiskies will tend to get better with a drop of water. You only need a few drops from a pipette. Try tasting a whisky without then you can always add water later to see which you prefer. 

3. Adding Ice

Aficionados would turn their nose up at the thought of ice in whisky. This is because it tends to melt quickly, diluting the whisky too much. While it is fine to use ice, the low temperature may also weaken some of the flavours. 

When adding ice, go for one large cube as it will melt slower so that your drink does not become overly diluted. This allows you to open up the flavours bit by bit. 

4. Drinking Whisky Neat

If you are drinking scotch neat, then try to get it served in a snifter glass. However, unless you are in a designated whisky bar you will probably get it in a rocks glass.

Don't just think about drinking single malt neat either. There are other types of Scotch available, such as blended. Marketing has seen single malt become the benchmark, but there is much more of an art form to making a blended whisky and often more variety. 

5. Adding It to Cocktails

One of the most important Scotch drinking tips is to try it in as many different ways as possible. If that includes cocktails, then dig in. 

Scotch work well with citrus flavours, such as orange, lemon, bergamot and grapefruit. Pear, ginger and honey will also be an excellent accompaniment. The better the whisky in the cocktail's base, the better the drink will be. 

How to Drink Scotch Answered

Now you know how to drink Scotch, invest in a few quality bottles. Get good glasses and try drinking them in different ways at home. Next time you are out in a bar, you will have a better idea of what you want. 

This article is one of many to help you get the best from your food and drink. From bars to restaurants, the Modern Gentleman can keep you sophisticated in the coming year. Click here to read our three best whisky cocktails for the modern gentleman. 

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