Well, the new year is nearly upon us. Doubtful if anyone is going to miss 2020. So, what does this fresh new year have in store for us? Lot’s of positive stuff and less pandemic stuff, I hope. Maybe it’s a good idea to clear the slate with some new year’s resolutions. And while we’re at it, let’s throw a few whisky resolutions into the mix;
- Give whisky a solid try, and get past that initial awful taste.
For most of us , the first few tastes weren’t great. But if you stick with it, say, one ounce per week for a few months, you might be surprised at how good it begins to taste. Go mild – Aberfeldy, Auchentoshan, Balvenie. Maybe something Irish.
2. Go to a whisky tasting event. There are tons of spirits festivals out there, and lots of smaller private tastings designed to give you an appreciation of what’s available. Don’t take Uncle Bob’s recommendation of “Drink Brand x because it’s the best.” Try a bunch of different stuff – single malt, blends, Scotch, bourbon, Irish, etc., to find out what appeals to you.
3. Try something completely new. Search out a whisky that you have never tasted before. Follow the old saying – “You need to kiss a lot of toads to find a Prince”. Translation – you’ll taste lots of whisky that you don’t like in order to find those that you do. I don’t recommend blindly spending a boatload of money on a bottle that you end up hating. That’s where the tasting events come in. And your friend’s whisky collection. For sure, I’ve bought more than a few bottles of whisky that I don’t care for, usually based on someone’s recommendation, or because I succumbed to a great marketing campaign. It’s part of the learning curve.
4. Drink some Irish Whiskey. It’s mild, it’s smooth and it’s delicious. Start with the tried and true standards – Yellow Spot, Bushmill’s, RedBreast. Fabulous drams. Maybe expand into something peated, like Connemara. A bit more scotch-like, for sure, like it was smuggled out of Islay under cover of night.
5. Try a good blend. Until 25 years ago, almost all scotch whisky was blended. Try the good stuff because the cheap stuff isn’t great. Chivas 12 or 18, Dewer’s 15 or White Label, Johnny Walker Black or Blue Label, Famous Grouse, which tends to use MaCallan and Highland Park in it’s blending, or Monkey Shoulder, a newer bland from W.H Grant.
6. Try your whisky different ways. The purists will tell you to drink it straight up – from a proper glass. Tell you what – if you want ice, add some. Same for water, although, as my father used to say -“Don’t drown it.” I can’t bring myself to recommend adding mix to a decent whisky. It’s just wrong. But, there’s lots of crappy cheap whisky out there just begging for a splash of Coke, or Mountain Dew, or whatever other God forsaken mix you want to add. And don’t forget the world of whiskey cocktails – Whisky sour, Old Fashioned, Manhattan. Need I go on? I add Irish Whisky to my hot chocolate when I’m skiing. Fabulous. I also sip it from a flask on the chair lift. For medicinal purposes only….
So there you have it. Resolutions to start your new year right. Until next time, enjoy what ever whisky adventures await. Cheers!