Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much of a good whisky is barely enough.” I’m sure you would know that Whisky fans are very loyal, and if you are a true fan of James Bond, you know that the mixed drink he had often is scotch and soda (from the books, not the movies).
To start off, let’s get to know a bit about Whisky…
What is a Whisky?
Whisky is distilled & matured spirit made from fermented mash of grains and cereals. It is one of the most renowned spirits and has a vast variation in styles and processes. The word ‘Whisky’ is derived from the Gaelic word “Usque baugh” pronounced as “Ooshky- Bay”, meaning “Water of Life”. This was shortened to ‘usky’ and then whisky in English. Though the Irish were the first to distill whisky, it’s the Scotch who has surpassed all boundaries in creating unique styles and has been producing some of the world’s finest and most expensive whiskies. Scotland is the home of Scotch Whisky and a host of more than 100 distilleries making it the utmost concentration of distilleries in the world.
The two main whiskies from Scotland are Single Malt Whisky, which is made from 100% malted Barley & comes from a single distillery and Blended Scotch whisky, which is a mix of Malt & Grain whisky. Not all whiskies are made with barley and not all those made with barley are malted. The flavors of Single Malts are unique and more pronounced, often tastes like smoke and peat (thanks to the peat used in the malting process), whereas the flavors in the blends are generally more smoother & creamier.
When it comes to cocktails, whiskies are used in all kinds of cocktail categories, such as sours, juleps, collins, toddies, smashes, nogs, and punches. Many people believe Scotch Whisky is best served on its own. However, there are no set rules for which type of Scotch Whisky should be used in a cocktail. Although, blended Scotch Whiskies mix well and are the most commonly used, I feel one should not be restricted to that & try out cocktails based on ones taste preference. If you love having your scotch on the rocks and want to try a cocktail which speaks more about the scotch with a refreshing and aromatic twist, try the classic Old Fashioned, and avoid mixing soda or water in it.
Things you need to know about Scotch Whisky Cocktails
1. Scotch Cocktails tend to be dark/less clear and the varieties of whisky lend their distinct flavors to the mixers they are combined with, resulting in a wide range of tastes.
2. Adding water can reduce the alcohol burn in your nose when smelling spirits, and whisky fans know that even a drop of water can amplify the aromas. The water reduces the impression of the alcohol, which allows some of the other aromas to shine through.
3. Apart from the basic mixers like soda and water, a lot of whisky loyalists savor their favorite whisky with Ginger ale and cola. It’s a good suggestion for someone who would like to switch on to mixed whisky drinks.
4. Having spirits “on the rocks”: Not only does the water from the melting ice dilutes some of the alcohol burn, but the ice also chills the spirit, which can make the experience smoother and more palatable.
5. For the ones who would like to try their hands on Scotch cocktails, start by getting to know more about the Scotch by using basic tasting steps and identifying the flavor profiles of the intended ingredients you plan to use in the cocktail.
Article by - Rohan Carvalho
Image Credit - tienvijftien Flickr