Expert advice to make you a whisky connoisseur from Whisky Live Festival @WhiskyLiveSA

Winning Ways to Drink Your Whisky

There seem to be as many recommended ways to drink whisky as there are whiskies, but there are some basics that will surely make your experience of the golden dram that much more memorable. Whisky, after all, is a drink best served as a celebration… whether it’s the celebration of something as simple as the end of the day or as momentous as the celebration of partnership.

Whisky Live Festival, the organisers of the popular Whisky Live Showrooms and the Whisky Live Festival, offer some ideas on how best to wet your whistle with whisky, although it does remain true that the best way to drink your whisky is just the way that YOU like it – experts be damned!

The experts say that it’s best to drink whisky at room temperature – but bear in mind that those experts are mostly Scottish, and room temperate in Scotland (on a warm day) is at around 15oC! Remember that cold whisky doesn’t readily release its aromas… and base your tasting temperature on that.

The best glass for enjoying your whisky is a tulip-shaped glass that curves inwards slightly at the top, to trap the dram’s aromas. If you don’t have a special whisky glass, a wine tasting glass or sherry glass will do.
While many say that whisky should be enjoyed neat, the ‘water of life’ (as whisky is known) is sometimes given more life with the addition of a little water. If you have a pipette handy, add a few drops at a time to free the flavours – otherwise add water slowly from a handy jug.

If you are adding water, make sure that it is one that is relatively free of minerals, as a mineral-heavy water may change or mask the flavours of the spirit. That’s why Whisky Live Festival partners with Valpré Spring Water as the quality of the water is fit to mix with high-quality premium whiskies.

If you prefer cooler whisky, you could include ice in your drink. Never use crushed ice, as it melts too quickly, diluting your dram – rather pour the whisky over a few ice cubes. You could use ice rocks – small blocks of granite that you keep in the freezer – to cool your whisky without diluting it, or you could pour your whisky over a single large ice ball, which will take longer to melt than ice cubes.

While the connoisseurs will squawk in horror at mixing your whisky with anything other than the purest water, there is nothing wrong with drinking whisky as part of a cocktail. In fact, some of the most revered and classic cocktails in the world contain whisky – think of the Old Fashioned.

If you are going to mix your whisky with something else, it’s worth choosing your whisky carefully before you do so. Rather use a less expensive whisky if you are going to be mixing with cola or ginger ale, for example, and save your more expensive whiskies for drinking neat or with just a splash of water.

There are those that drink whisky as a shot, knocking a tot or two back before moving quickly onto the next one. However, if you think about how long it takes to produce a whisky, and all the effort and love that go into making the perfect dram, it might make you pause a little, and consider taking a little longer to savour the flavour and honour the complex process that went into producing the treasure between your fingertips.

If you want to learn more about how to appreciate whiskey, then you need to visit The Whisky Live Showroom in Pretoria takes place on 14 and 15 May 2015 at 012 Central. Tickets cost R170 at www.whiskylivefestival.co.za OR www.ticketpro.co.za. If you join the Whisky Live Festival Club at the Whisky Live Showroom, you will receive R20 cash back or 5 additional tasting vouchers. Tickets include 15 whisky sampling vouchers, a tasting glass and a 500ml Valpré Spring Water. Designated driver tickets are also available and these can be purchased online or at the door for R105.

Follow @WhiskyLiveSA on Twitter, ‘like’ Whisky Live Festival on Facebook, or check
www.whiskylivefestival.co.za for regular updates about the events.

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