Whether you’re leaping across the lochs of Scotland, scaling the frosty Japan Alps, or flexing the folds of the Tennessee valleys, you’re bound to discover old fashioned whiskey that sings the notes of its birth land. It is also one of the oldest drinks in the world, even older than vermouth!
How do you drink whiskey? The savoring style of each transportive variety depends mostly on your enjoyment. But we’re here to equip you with a few expert tips on how to bring the best out of every bottle.
Are you a first-time whiskey drinker? Dust off your finest tulip glasses, barkeep! We’re taking a trip around the globe to discover the different types of whiskey, what makes each one special, and how to drink each one.
Different Types of Whiskey
How to drink whiskey depends on which whiskey you wish to savor.
But to taste the nuances of whiskey, you must first understand the nuances of its spelling. You might already understand the difference between whisky and whiskey, but for the people in the back, let’s review.
In a nutshell, the spelling tells you where the product was made.
- Whisky – Hails from Scotland, Canada, or Japan
- Whiskey – Flows from Ireland or America
Go forth and impress all future dinner dates with your impressive and refined knowledge of grain spirit culture. You’re welcome.
(P.S: For the purposes of this article, we’ll use whiskey as an all-encompassing term.)
What Are The Different Types of Whiskey?
Get your flashlights and your tasting glasses—we’re going to hike into the caverns of different types of whiskey.
Water-of-life wizards have spent centuries perfecting this barrel-aging craft. Today, it would be silly not to reap the benefits of their hard work by tasting the fruits of their labor.
Although liquor store shelves prove the existence of hundreds of whiskeys, these are the OG’s. Learn these, and you’ll be well on your way to whiskey mastery.
- Scotch whisky – A fine-tuned craft of Scotland since 1494, Scotch is matured in oak barrels for three or more years and is known for its sharp, distinct flavor.
- Irish whiskey – Unique in its blend of both malted and unmalted barley. It’s distilled three times compared to Scotch’s two, which boasts a smoother, lighter finish.
- Bourbon whiskey – One of three well-known American whiskeys, Bourbon is known for its sweeter flavor thanks to 51% of its grain made of a Kentucky midwest favorite: corn.
- Rye whiskey – First distilled in Pennsylvania in 1750, Rye is famous for its spicier sting from its unique blend of grains—a distinctness that lands it a dust-free bar shelf spot.
- Tennessee whiskey – This country tune special is aged in Tennessee using an original Lincoln County Process to mellow the distilled liquid with charcoal, adding sweetness.
- Canadian whisky – Dancing between Scotch and American styles, Canadian whisky couples the strict Scottish three-year aging minimum with extra armfuls of sweet, mellowing maize.
- Japanese whisky – Japanese whisky models its ingredients and process from traditional Scotch. It’s known for its deeper, more refined flavor.
How to Drink Different Types of Whiskey
Alright, brave explorer. Now that you’ve mastered Whiskey 101, we needn’t further delay our tasting trials. It’s a beautiful day to savor a smooth whiskey water or pucker a tangy cocktail.
How to Drink Scotch Whisky
First to the bar: the classic Scotch. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, we recommend starting with this famed masterpiece. Who wouldn’t want to sip something that’s been crafted the same way for over 500 years?
To fully appreciate the robust oakiness and depth of Scotch, it’s best drunk neat in a whiskey glass at room temperature—that is, two fingers in your favorite whisky glass, nothing more, and certainly nothing less. Sip it slowly, letting the wealth of warmth roll over your tongue and kindle every taste bud.
Tip: You can add a drop or two of water to help cut the bite and savor the complex flavors. In fact, some distilleries will serve drams alongside droppers and cups of water.
How to Drink Irish Whiskey
Irish whiskey is beloved for its mellow flavor and special mash ingredients that make for a sweet, smooth flavor comparable to caramel.
Some Irish whiskey masters insist on drinking this imbibement at room temperature. But our favorite? Chilled. Pop that bottle and a tumbler in the freezer for a few hours, ponder life’s great mysteries, come back, pour, sip, and thank us later.
How to Drink American Whiskey
Bourbon, Rye, and Tennessee are our favorites for the adored whiskey cocktail—a sub-category with plenty of rabbit holes of its own. These American-made whiskeys use American oak barrels to impart notes of vanilla and coconut, beautifully complementing the likes of citrus, sour, and soda.
To shine the spotlight on these American whiskeys, try these simple cocktails.
- Bourbon – Bourbon sour, bourbon and coke, bourbon manhattan
- Rye – Whiskey ginger, whiskey highball, Boulevardier
- Tennessee – Lynchburg lemonade, whiskey smash, whiskey cranberry
How to Drink Canadian Whiskey
Canadian whiskey is a vehicle for flavor and aroma: well-balanced, smooth, light, and drinkable. Because of these accolades, it’s destined for greatness on the rocks. Slow-melting ice fuses through its light-golden color to elevate sweetness and amplify freshness.
A tumbler, or lowball, is the glass of an on-the-rocks master. Do us a favor and swap the chalky ice tray from the back of the freezer with some well-mannered, purified cubes. Lovingly place a few lucky swimmers at the bottom of your rocks glass, pour, and enjoy.
How to Drink Japanese Whisky
Twist a lemon, but don’t twist this: Japanese whisky is high on the priority list—and on our bar shelf. The Japanese learned the art from the Scotts and then truly made a craft of their own that’s uniquely bold, fruity, and floral.
The most traditional way to enjoy Japanese whisky is mixed with ice and soda water called a highball. Don’t forget the lemon expression at the end to make this effervescent brew pop.
Master the Art of Whiskey Drinking with SLIQ
While you can generally drink whiskey any time of the year, the best season for enjoying this drink is during autumn. For this reason, there are a lot of fall whiskey drinks. But it’s no surprise that people have decided to use whiskey for other occasions, such as mixing it in tailgate drinks. Which is your favorite whiskey? No matter where it comes from, whiskey is an art, science, and history blended together into a few sips of heaven. The depth of this incredible spirit no doubt matches the depths of flavor in every glass. Understanding a little bit about the different types of whiskey will help you appreciate it that much more.
We’re SLIQ, your go-to for premium frozen cocktails. Our new whiskey frozen cocktails are made with top-shelf barrel-stored bourbon to bring high-quality flavor from your freezer to your glass. Our whiskey frozen cocktails come in three original highball flavors to help you enjoy tasting from anywhere. Aside from whiskey frozen cocktails, you can also enjoy our other alcohol ice pops. We know that everyone’s a little different and enjoys different cocktail liquors which is why we also offer vodka freeze pops, margarita ice pops, and rum daiquiri ice pops.
It’s time to embark on the next level of whiskey drinking – on ice, literally. With SLIQ, it’s smooth sailing from here.
- Liquor.com. 6 Rules for Drinking Canadian Whiskey. https://www.liquor.com/articles/canadian-whisky-rules/
- The Flatiron Room. How to Drink Japanese Whiskey. https://www.theflatironroom.com/2021/10/04/how-to-drink-japanese-whisky/
- WhiskeyMade. OK, Seriously, How is Whiskey Made? https://whiskeymade.com/2021/05/21/how-is-whiskey-made/#:~:text=Whiskey%20is%20not%20brewed%2C%20but,but%20rather%2C%20it%20is%20distilled.
- A Couple of Cooks. Quick Guide to Irish Whiskey (Jameson & More). https://www.acouplecooks.com/irish-whiskey-jameson/#:~:text=What%20does%20Irish%20whiskey%20taste,signature%20oak%20and%20caramel%20flavors.
- The Los Angeles Times. What Makes Irish Whiskey Different? https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-whiskeyrail11nov11-story.html
- U.S. News. The Difference Between Scotch and U.S. Whiskey. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2012/04/13/the-difference-between-scotch-and-us-whiskey