How to Enjoy Whiskey for the First Time

To whiskey novices, the entire process can feel a bit elitist and overwhelming. From understanding the differences to knowing what or how to order—it can certainly turn people off of whiskey altogether. Even though whiskey is one of the most popular spirits out there and only continues to gain popularity, people still have their reservations. Some think it’s too expensive, others don’t even know where to begin. Not only are there various types of whisk(e)y, there are tons of different brands out there.

The good thing about all those options and choices is that you’re bound to find something that’s right for you. The best way to begin trying whiskey is to do just that: try. Experiment with scotch, bourbon, single malts, and blends. It’s all whiskey so you just have to decide which you like the best. Honestly, your preference might change the more you try or even depending on your mood.

It’s important to keep in mind that whiskey is categorized by geography. Scotch is from Scotland, whisky is typically Irish. There’s also Tennessee whiskey that goes through an extra step prior to putting it into the barrels to age. This extra step gives Tennessee whiskey its own distinct flavor profile. That’s the key to whiskey, the distillation process really impacts the flavors. This is why it’s important to taste it through trial and error.

Here are a few ways you can order whiskey to get a good sense of how you’ll enjoy it best:

Neat—This means the whiskey is poured straight from the bottle into a glass. No mixers or ice added.

With Water—If you decide to order your whiskey neat, it’s not a bad idea to ask for a glass of water on the side that you can add just in case. This is just an easier way to enjoy whiskey straight.

Shots!—Ordering a shot of whiskey straight is a bold move, but there are a lot of great shots that use whiskey as a main ingredient.

Whiskey Coke—Probably the most common way to order whiskey and is an easy and tasty introduction to whiskey.

Whiskey Ginger—This spicy and delicious combo makes another great choice to ease into whiskey drinking.

Whatever you decide to try, the main idea here is to explore. Whiskey is such a vast spirit with different categories and subcategories that you can really spend some time exploring the different flavors and still feel like it’s a totally new experience the next time. Cheers!