Are you ready to try a new drink the next time you have people over? Wine is often the liquor of choice for dinner parties, celebratory events or even simple get-togethers but Scotch whisky is worth considering. It may seem intimidating, but it really isn’t.
Now if you’re completely new to the game, you may be wondering what Scotch even is. So, let’s get down to it.
Scotch, as the name suggests is made in Scotland and it must be aged in oak for at least three years to legally use the name. It can contain other grains, but it must include malted barley. Scotch is aged in casks and bottled at a minimum of 40% ABV.
A Scotch is either a single malt or a blend. Single malt means all the malt whisky comes from one distillery. Many Scotches are blends made from malts gathered from various distilleries and then combined by a Master Blender, allowing for rustic yet nuanced flavors.
Scotch is generally dry and smoky but environmental conditions and the peculiar traditions of each region lead to variations in the product. For example, if the malted barley is dried over a peat fire it will have a distinctive smoky, oily, flavor. Flavor is also influenced by the type of cask the scotch was aged in. Some distillers use barrels which previously contained bourbon, sherry, wine or rum.
How to choose a Scotch
Popular brands you may have heard of include Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker but don’t dismiss something like a Glenlivet 12 or Ardbeg 10. And don’t think Scotch must be expensive; there are some decent options which are budget friendly.
Your options also vary based on whether you like your drinks bold, mild or somewhere in between. Light Scotches include Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, and Cragganmore. Laphroaig is bold and Macallan strikes a happy medium.
How to drink it
The experts said the glass you use is particularly important, so you should follow their advice, at least until you experiment a little. Tulip shaped glasses called whiskey snifters are recommended when drinking Scotch neat since they help to trap the aromas.
Another option is to add a few drops of water or even more if the Scotch is really old. This will bring out some of the flavors and aromas which the alcohol may otherwise mask.
You can also add one ice cube. This does the same job of opening up the flavors but it also makes the drink colder, if that’s what you prefer.
If you and your crew like something a little sweeter, you can make cocktails. Add pear nectar and ginger ale or sweet vermouth and orange. The Rusty Nail combines2 ¾ oz Scotch with ¾ oz Drambuie while Blood and Sandy includes 1 oz Scotch, 3/4 oz Cherry heering, 3/4 oz sweet vermouth and 3/4 oz orange juice.
Try something new and move away from your usual wines or vodka-based cocktails. Give Scotch a try at your event.