A Beginner’s Guide to Whiskey

If lockdown cocktails have had you appreciating spirits more than ever before, and your newly discovered palette is wanting to explore further than the supermarket brand bottle of Scotch, then we’re here to help guide you!

Whiskey, in particular Bourbon, is having quite the boom at the moment, but there are so many different types, different brands, and different ways to drink it, where do you start?


Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye and Scotch

Whiskey is the generic name given to distilled spirits made from grain mash. Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch are all types of whiskey – they have a similar taste and appearance. But the differences lie in the types of grain used, where it was distilled, how long it has been aged for, and the types of casks used during the process

Each type of whiskey has its own rules and regulations governing the type: for example, you cannot make scotch outside of Scotland.


How to Drink Whiskey

Now for the best part – drinking it! There are four ways to drink whiskey:



Whiskey neat is considered by many to be the only “pure” way to drink a good whiskey. The concept is to taste the spirit as it was distilled, rather than diluting it as the distiller hadn’t intended. However, some say this is a very poor way to drink a fine whiskey.


With Water

The best way to drink good whiskey is with some water. While people will claim adding water will open up the bouquet, the real reason is that cask strength whiskey will numb your tastebuds.

Add a spoonful of water – preferably clear distilled or spring water – so you can taste the amber nectar without anaesthetising your tongue!


On the Rocks

While many people enjoy their whiskey with ice, some argue that the ice will water down your drink too far once it melts. An option is to have a spoon handy to remove the ice cube once the drink is diluted to your preference.



Of course, there are so many whiskey cocktails to enjoy – but, please, never with high-end whiskey, nor with the cheapest. Find a nice middle-ground whiskey, you don’t want to be using a £200 bottle of bourbon in a whiskey sour, as that is wasteful.

Overall, it’s all about you, and your taste preferences, if you enjoy your drink the way you like it, don’t let anyone tell you differently, and if they do, they’re just being a snob!

Why not come and explore whiskey at our cocktail bar on Clapham High Street soon!