I am always asked the question, “what is the best way to drink whiskey?” I always reply “Any way you like it.” If you like it with Coke, drink it that way. I always said Bourbon and Coke is better than Coke neat. There is no wrong way to drink whiskey.
For me, the most enjoyable ways to drink whiskey are either neat in a Glencairn whiskey glass or in a good cocktail – a Whiskey Sour for Bourbon, Manhattan for Rye whiskey. I do like a what I call “Book Bourbon” I like to take a Glencairn glass and give it a nice, big pour with a good Bourbon and sip on it for a couple of hours while I read a book. The aroma and taste will change as the whiskey opens up and breathes. I rarely drink whiskey over ice. Cold numbs the taste buds and you miss the subtle nuances of the flavor. I will occasionally add a splash of water to a whiskey – particularly if it is over 115 proof. The high alcohol percentage of high poof whiskey will also numb your taste buds after the first drink. These are my preferences, but maybe not your own. Drink whiskey the way you like it and don’t let anyone tell you are wrong.
That brings me to what can ruin a drink of whiskey. I am reminded of a story Maggie Kimberl is fond of telling. She once asked a well-known cigar maker what is the best way to smoke a cigar. He replied “Any way you like it, is good. However, I can tell you what can ruin a good cigar – smoking it while sitting next to an asshole!” I say the same thing about a good drink of whiskey! There is an ephemeral nature to drinking whiskey and I have written a blog on the subject. You can find it here. However, I will add that the company you keep will either enhance or detract from the enjoyment of your drink.
These are my thoughts on the best way to drink whiskey. I hope this answers the question once and for all. The best way to drink whiskey is any way you like it.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller