Are you bored of visiting the same bar? Switch up your next gathering with friends by hosting your very own whisky tasting party! Grab a couple of bottles and invite your guests for an exciting night of appreciating alcohol. If you’re not one for planning parties, then never fear, as we have some top tips for getting your whisky tasting night to go as smoothly as your favourite dram!
Somewhat unsurprisingly, to host a whisky tasting party, you will actually need a couple of bottles of the stuff! It is recommended you have at least three bottles to sip from to get a good range of taste testing, but the more, the merrier. It’s no secret that whisky can be a pretty pricey beverage, so you may want to make the decision of quality vs quantity. While it would be lovely to try ten top-shelf bottles, that may not be within your price range.
Presuming your guests are as enthusiastic about whisky as you, one way to get past this issue of cost is to ask them to bring a bottle with them to share. That way, you can get a great mix of whisky types – some of which you may never have thought to try yourself – without having to spend as much money yourself! If that is the route you decide to go with the party, then try to co-ordinate with your friends, so you don’t end up with five bottles of the same whisky.
When planning which whisky bottles you are going to bring or ask for, you should also consider whether you want the evening to have a theme. While it is fine to drink a random selection of whiskies, it can also be fun to narrow down the night, for example, only drinking Bourbon, or find a selection of Japanese whisky in the UK to sample!
Accessories and Extras
Whisky isn’t the only thing you’ll need to get your hands on to host this party.
Glasses will be needed to pour the whisky into, and you may not currently have enough to accommodate your guests. Whisky isn’t a drink to be drunk from a disposable cup; it deserves a fancy tumbler or tulip-shaped glass to help enhance your aroma-detecting abilities. Take this opportunity to invest in some appropriate glassware, making the night more sophisticated.
Keep in mind that some whisky drinkers love their whisky served over a wedge of ice, so be sure to have ice cubes to hand. When it comes to a whisky tasting night, it can be a good idea to try a sip of whisky over ice, even if you prefer your drink straight. The point of a tasting party is to explore the best way each whisky can present, so experimenting with the tastes gained from ice or a drop of water is a great way to extend the tasting session.
There is no point continuing with a taste test if your mouth is still overwhelmed by the tastes of the previous sip. Be sure to have some palate-cleansing snacks to hand to help give your taste buds a bit of a refresh after you’ve finished with one type of whisky. Plain crackers and sparkling water are often considered some of the best palate cleansers.
How to Taste
Pour the whisky you are sampling first into each guest’s glass.
Consider the colour of the whisky – would you describe it as dark, light or caramel?
Nose the whisky, giving the dram a good sniff to identify any of the subtle flavours hidden within.
Take your first sip, holding the whisky in your mouth for a few seconds to let the flavours sink in. Consider how the whisky feels in your mouth, in terms of texture and weight. As you swallow the whisky, consider the taste.
Add water or a cube of ice to see how this changes the flavour. Do you prefer it this way, or is it too diluted now?
Repeat these steps for each of the bottles of whisky you have to taste.