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Food & Beverages

10 Things You Should Know About Drinking Whisky

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - May 8, 2020 4 min read

When I reminisce about the good old days, you know, back when every day did not begin and conclude in our bedrooms and going out was an option we had a choice in saying no to, a glass of whisky strikes as a common fixture in most fun memories. The funny thing is, when I first started drinking whisky I was perfectly okay with guzzling a glass of Johny Walker and Imperial Blue with equal gusto. But it took me about a year or two, to transition to the dark side of whisky snobbery. 


Okay, I'm lying. I really don't know all that much, except for what practical experience and conversations with fellow fans of the liquor have taught me over a few years. But along this tipsy journey, I've also discovered a number of crucial and fun whisky facts that in retrospect, I wish would've known when I first started drinking it. Well, unsolicited wisdom sharing is one of my two hobbies, the other being drinking whisky, of course. So putting two and two, here are 10 things to know about whisky before you can deem yourself a pro during dinner conversations. 


Image Courtesy - Freepik


1. What's With The "e" in Whiskey

First things first, I'm going to answer a question all of us at some point have wondered about, but chosen not to ask out loud. The answer to "is it whiskey or whisky" differs with geography. In general, Americans and the Irish go with "whiskey" while Canadians, Scots and the rest of the world, including Indians, prefer "whisky". 


2. Geographical Division In Whisky Types

One of the most important whisky facts one should know about revolves around the categorisation under the broad umbrella term of "whisky". Technically to qualify as whisky, a liquor has to fall under the class of distilled alcohol that has been made from some kind of fermented grain mash, like wheat or barley. Depending on the exact composition, a liquor that makes the cut can be further classified into several types. The 6 main whisky types or at least the ones most commonly consumed are Scotch, Bourbon, American Rye, Irish Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, and Japanese Whisky, with the first three being the most popularly known ones. 


3. More Whisky Types

3. In addition to classification on the basis of geography, whisky is also categories on the basis of how its made. There are three primary types, namely, single malt, single cask and blends. Single malts are whiskies that were distilled and mixed at the same distillery while single cask whiskies are the ones bottled from the same cask or barrel. 



4. What Is A Red Label Whisky?

Globally, the most commonly consumed whisky is a blend, which is made by mixing different varieties of whiskies from various malt and grain distilleries. Even if you're a whisky novice, you've likely heard someone getting one, or you yourself have had a Black Label or a Red Label. These different "labels" so to speak, are just different blends or combinations created by one of the most popular and well-known whisky brands in the world, Johnnie Walker. 


5. What You Should Have Whisky With 

Most people who're familiar with whisky will advise you against drinking it on the rocks unless you're sipping on a glass of blended whisky or scotch. It's mostly recommended you either drink it neat if you've developed the stomach for it, or add some water. Water is the most recommended whisky mixture because a small quantity works well to open up the flavours, unlike diluting your drink like melting ice would. 


Image Courtesy - Freepik


6. Whisky In Cocktails

Drinking whisky neat isn't a mandate for looking tough, and some of the most popular cocktails in the world contain whisky. Case in point? The Old Fashioned. There's also The Manhattan, Whisky Sour, Irish Coffee and Jack and Coke. What I mean is, if neat whisky isn't your thing, there are a bunch of other recipes for consuming it that you can pick from. 


7. Whisky In Food

If you truly enjoy whisky, you don't need to limit yourself to just drinking it! One of the most under-rated whisky facts involves its prowess as a cooking ingredient. You can cook whisky off so you won't get inebriated, but adding some liquor to a yummy recipe, can accentuate flavours and take the taste up a notch. 


8. Whisky & Ageing

Whisky does not mature in a bottle, it only ages in a barrel. The age of a whisky is actually the time period between distillation and bottling, which means simply because you've had a bottle around longer, doesn't mean it's superior to a recently bought one. Unless it was aged in a barrel for a longer period of time. 



9. Whisky Tip For Beginners

If you've recently grown fond of the liquor, start your whisky journey with lighter flavours in order for your palate to develop. Also, avoid downing your whisky, since it's a drink you need to savour to fully appreciate. Instead, you'll gain a better understanding of flavours and notes if you swirl the liquid in your mouth before gulping it down. 


10. World Whisky Day

The third Saturday of May every year is recognised as World Whisky Day, which means another reason to celebrate your favourite liquor is right around the corner! 




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