​A newbie’s guide to drinking whisky 

whisky and bourbon

My colleague recently asked everyone in the office what their favourite spirit was. I surprised myself by answering ‘whisky’ instead of ‘gin’.

To be honest it’s still a close call (rum is also rapidly climbing up the list) but there’s something about whisky that has me hooked.

I think the first drink I ever ordered for myself at a bar was a JD and Coke at Madame Jojo’s. I ordered it because I thought I looked cool but I didn’t really like it. A couple of months later and my university housemate cracked open a bottle of Jack, which led to me infamously saying ‘it gets nicer the more you drink’ six shots in.

Needless to say I stopped drinking alcohol I didn’t like shortly after, which meant I didn’t touch a drop of whisky until five years later.

It wasn’t until my Dad created a bourbon signature cocktail for a party he was throwing that I ventured back to the stuff. If you’re new to liquid sunshine, here are a few worth trying…

Jim Beam
Bourbon is sweeter and generally more palatable than whisky. I use it in 90% of my bourbon cocktail recipes as it’s reasonable, sweet and even non-whisky drinkers tend to enjoy it.

Woodford Reserve
There are some bourbon cocktails where Jim Beam just won’t do. A good Old Fashioned or Manhattan is made predominantly from bourbon and you need something better than Jim Beam if you’re practically drinking bourbon neat. I like to use Woodford Reserve in my take on an Old Fashioned recipe (and not just because the brand ambassador put my recipe behind the bar at one of my favourite London hotel bars #humblebrag).

Nikka from the Barrel
I’m a sucker for good design and found myself drawn to a bottle of Nikka from the Barrel a few years ago. It’s quite the transition to jump from bourbon to whisky but I found this Japanese whiskey palatable and really started to enjoy it after I’d had it a few times.

Nikka Coffey Grain
The kind folks over at 31Dover sent me a bottle of Nikka coffey grain to try and it’s unlike any other whisky I’ve ever had. It has the same smoothness that I’ve come to expect from the standard Nikka, but you can really taste the coffee. It’s lovely neat as it has a sweet and mellow taste.

Do you drink whisky? I’d love to know your favourite.

31Dover stock a huge range of spirits and wines at the best prices. Best of all they do next day delivery, perfect for us car-free Londoners who don’t fancy schlepping bottles of booze back from Tesco on the day of a party.

One thought on “​A newbie’s guide to drinking whisky 

  1. Alexander Segall

    I’m an absolute sucker for a good single malt scotch – can’t beat Glenlivet, which is in my mind the benchmark for all other whisky. Then again, after a hard day walking in the countryside nothing beats a roaring fire and glass of Laphroaig.

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