May or should you mix whiskey with water? Or what about the notorious ice cubes in the whiskey glass? Questions that ask themselves especially whiskey newbies again and again. Whiskey connoisseurs, on the other hand, know exactly how to drink whiskey and of course are not in agreement with each other. Someone put it in a nutshell and said: "Drink the whiskey so that it tastes good". Our author Marcel Telser has his own thoughts on this evening-filling topic with a glass of whiskey
If you only listened to the wholesome whiskey drinker, then this article would be written quickly. Of course, pure, of course. And if possible in cask strength – without adding water. Water? What for? This only dilutes the aroma and may even be burdened with pesticides and female hormones that make breasts grow. Ice? No, not at all. At least you do not enjoy a scotch with ice cream in our latitudes. No way! At least until now, because now there is the Highland Park Ice Edition, for promotional purposes including ice bucket. But a single malt whiskey as a long drink with ginger beer, green tea or coke? Still a crime. Pity for the good, expensive whiskey. So: The well-trained whiskey drinker always drinks his whiskey pure, even if it is bottled in cask strength. In addition, "Cask Strenght" sounds incredibly impressive and purely the saying lifts one into the professional league of whiskey drinkers. And that is what some people strive for.
The enjoyment of whiskey is a very individual matter. Each of us has a different palate and a different nose. And his likes and dislikes. That would actually mean that everyone enjoys his whiskey in his preferred way. In fact, individuality is limited by unwritten rules. And besides, only very few people know how to enjoy strong alcohol. You never learned it.
First, it is an undeniable fact that the aroma of a whiskey is best revealed at room temperature. If the whiskey is too cold, little comes in the nose. If it is too warm, then all the mistakes of the distillate come together with pointed wood and alcohol notes in the nose. That's ugly, but it can happen in the summer months. More on the pleasure of whiskey at hot temperatures later.
The nose drinks with
The nose is the most important organ for evaluating the sensory system. The nose drinks with. If we had the nose only as "glasses holder" in the face and for nothing else, then we would be reduced to sweet, sour, bitter, salty. That's not enough for a treat. However, the nose is not dipped in the glass, it takes a small distance of the nose from the opening of the glass, where unfolds the aroma of the whiskey. Otherwise, we are confronted with the alcohol that drowns out the important rest. For this reason, should be dispensed with the common-law whiskey swing. That makes a professional impression on a layman, but it is not. Again, I mainly provoke the alcohol, which then makes itself felt – and the fine fragrances are not in 3D.
Many good whiskeys are given today in cask strength in the bottle. Cask strength has a wide range, from say 64% vol. To 40% vol. Vol., Depending on the age and specific storage of the whiskey. Every distillate – and whiskey is one of them – is "strong" from 40% Vol. As I said, the palate gets used to a lot, but it is not good to want to trim the already easily irritable mucous membranes in a sporty manner to peak performance. That does not work. One should therefore refrain from consuming whiskey habitually pure in a high volume concentration, because the senses are deaf and a delicate Whiskey at lower volume percent never tastes better. Health insurers do not even take on this partial disability in additional insurance.
Water brings flavors to life
There is water to fight this evil. Yes, the boring water. This, in the context of whiskey, has the property of not only decreasing the volume percent, but of lowering the surface tension of the whiskey and bringing more flavors to life. At the same time, more sweetness is usually noticeable, which is pleasing. A bauble: Uisge Source sells "at a good price" 100ml bottles of Speyside, Highland and, of course, Islay water to perfectly round off the great art of whisking dilution. Once in a lifetime you should have tried this with these waters – and then you know what it does.
Which brings us finally to the topic. When dosing water divorced once more the spirits. However, a relatively large number of people interested in whiskey use a pipette to milliliter-precise dosage of Balastwassers. And it's made of plastic. Ugly, but with nice memories of Mom's Tupperware parties. Another genre consists of the combat-drawn veterans who take a jug of water with a secure grip and give a skilful splash of it in the glass – and about dosed pretty much right. A mastered maneuver. Who has ever seen the pipettes in a Scottish pub or club? Not me, there are jugs on the bar, filled with the purest Scottish water, which Scottish Water refined with fine chlorine in good faith. But I prefer to keep my hands off that, because that's especially disgusting.
Ice cream does not belong in a good whiskey
"Ice cream no", says Switzerland. But this has mostly nothing to do with water at an advanced hour. Ice cream does not belong in a good whiskey and certainly not in a single malt, that's the opinion of many, that was the first thing that stuck in the whiskey career. And a little bit of extremism creates communion. One might argue about ice cream in whiskey, it is just in summer at 30 degrees in the shade a refreshing alternative. However, it is a distinctly different type of enjoyment of the whiskey. Of course you do not use the fat 1968 Macallan. Ice works very well with young single malts of the Scots, many Europeans and also the Asians. And the blended whiskeys are suddenly surprisingly fresh and pleasant. Note: The size of the ice plays a crucial role. The chunks should be big and cool, and not as fast as the "crushed ice" after 2 minutes inevitably.
Whoever uses it, there are polished whiskey stones, so cold stones to cool the whiskey, I wish him a lot of fun with it. Those that I got given at the time serve as a repair kit for damage in my cobblestones in front of the house.
For a long time whiskey has been drunk with blenders. Why this has in the past referred more to blended whiskeys, is obvious: the price. The restaurateurs always calculate for themselves with an impressive compassion. That means, we get the cheapest goods for the highest possible price. So the whiskey cola was always a rather meager tincture that did not really appeal to us. On the contrary, for many, the uniquely excessive enjoyment was the end of the whiskey career. But coke is the fast food drink par excellence, there is nothing magical in it. Since it is only too understandable that we reject such.
But really great drinks can be conjured up simply by using a good ginger berry or green tea. Of course, this is then served chilled and is really delicious. This also works with higher quality whiskeys. I can only recommend to check out Dave Broom's recently published book "Whiskey Manual". Or let's make it easy, just as it is in Asia – a Yamakazi 18 soda, served with a lot of ice cream in half-liter pitcher, branded on Suntory.
Well get it!