Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tasting Ideas

From time to time I have a whisky tasting at my home pub "The Drunken Duck". The Duck is a small bar that resides where my home office used to be, it is a much better use of space....
I wanted to share with you a few short ideas for your own tasting. For me it seems to go better with about 6-8 people, a few more or less is ok, but too many people may dilute the experience.
First I have found some excellent You Tube videos by Gerry Tosh that in a few short minutes tells your guests how to taste whisky. This educates your friends and helps you not to come off as a snob or know it all. So watch one or two quick videos on how to taste scotch. Tasting whisky is a very different thing than tasting wine so its worth a few minutes of everyone's time. Second have at least a few good quality nosing glasses on hand. It’s just not fun to taste good whisky out of a plastic glass so please use real glass. It is important to know your audience when conducting a tasting. If everyone is really interested in learning about whisky then you are in for a wonderful evening of fun for everyone. If you have some folks that aren’t that interested in learning but just want to drink, then by all means hook them up with a generous dram of whisky so they can enjoy the evening as well. Remember not everyone wants to spend time learning about whisky some just want to drink it. Third, have a good supply of crackers and nuts on hand as they make excellent pallet cleansers between different samples of whisky. I recommend the water crackers or other upscale crackers without much extra flavorings. Mixed nuts seem to be best received - regular not dry roasted. But whatever your tastes are should work as well. Anything more than crackers and nuts may make a good tasting impossible. No cheese or meat, or anything greasy until after your tasting is done. Fourth, do the tasting for about an hour or less and then just allow folks to pour a good dram of the whisky that most appealed to them. Then you can bring out the cheese and meat and other goodies to munch on. Fifth and finally one added feature you can offer is a mystery whisky. Choose a whisky and at some point in the evening pour a dram for all your participants. Each person tastes the whisky and then tries to guess what it is. For example, your mystery whisky might be a rye, or sour mash, or Canadian or Japanese or whatever you think might make the game interesting. Then offer a bar towel or glassware, or miniature bottle of whisky as a prize should anyone guess correctly. Have fun and remember to have other drinks available for non-whisky drinkers as the good Lord did not bless us all equally when it comes to the love of whisky.

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