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May 18, 2009 06:10 PM

Only Losers Ruin Their Scotch.. on the Rocks

I must admit, I do still drink a good scotch on the rocks about 50% of the time. But the flavor experience is certainly superior when drinking it neat.

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  1. i like a side of ice so i can drop a piece in every so often. i find that the water Opens Up the flavors of pretty much any distilled spirit.

    but that's just me, i could be wrong.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ScubaSteve

      No, you are completely right. A sliver of ice opens up the flavor, and doesn't significantly water down the whisky. The ongoing changes in temperature and viscosity constantly bring out different dimensions.

    2. A good article. Most American whisky lovers I know, myself included, started by drinking on the rocks. As the article notes, that's how we take our drinks in the US. For me, there came a point where I was continually trying to get more flavor out of the glass and realized the ice was getting in the way, so I ended up going neat, and once you go neat, you never go back...except on a really hot day, or maybe in a cocktail.

      1. Interesting... I've interviewed a lot of master distillers, and master blenders in the whisky trade, and they all have a different story. Some are 'neat', some like a splash of water, some like one cube- one (but just one so far) from a fairly well respected single malt distillery mixed his with ginger ale.

        But every one so far has said - "drink as you like it" which I take to mean "there is no wrong way".

        Everyone has a different mouth, different tastes...

        1. I've always thought try it neat first, then try with water, and then add ice. But don't just add ice or water without tasting. And please if you are going to drink my single malts don't take as a shot or mix with soda.

          My dad usually drinks his scotch with ice or water because I likes it cool and enjoys crunching the "scotch flavored" ice at the end of his drink. I drink it neat because I usually drink scotch in the winter when I want something warm. Margaritas or G&T's in the summer when I want something cool and refreshing.

          1. I'm of the "little bit of water" school, often in the form of one or two cubes of ice, depending on the ice machine. I think it makes a big difference in the appreciation of a whiskey's (or whisky's) flavor. Clearly a glass full of ice and/or lots of water or seltzer is a bad idea, but I don't often see Americans drinking fancy single-malts that way. Blends, sure, but don't self-respecting single-malt lovers consider blended Scotch drinkers beneath contempt, regardless of what else goes in the glass? Put the snobbish attidtude on ice, and educate people.


            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I'm with you, and FWIW when I traveled to Scotland (and drank really a LOT of scotch) nearly every establishment served their single malts with a small pitcher of water and dish of ice to add to the scotch as you would.