We might be biased but here at RackHouse Whiskey Club, we’ve always known how great whiskey is. In the past five years or so, there’s been a shift in the way the drink is being approached which means even more people are now recognizing how versatile and interesting the spirit can be. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to learn about whiskey. If you’re new to the whiskey world, this primer should help. These are the 8 most common whiskey drinkers make and how to avoid them.
- Trying to abide by too many rules: Yes, when you consider how to drink whiskey, there are many different rules. Rather than listen to your friends or take advice from someone who doesn’t know what you like, just get out and try different types of whiskey. It’s a big world with many different styles. See what you like and how you like drinking it but more than anything, just be open to experimenting.
- Not understanding the effect water has on whiskey: Water is one of the most important ingredients to making whiskey. When you can understand the role water plays in crafting whiskey, it can inform whether or not you want to add it to your whiskey. Ice will cool it down and dampen the flavors, which may or may not be how you’d like to drink it. Again, you won’t know until you try it first.
- Downing it like a shot: Let us be clear: whiskey is a drink that is meant to be savored. Contrary to popular belief or the myriad of country songs saying you should “shoot” whiskey straight, we don’t recommend it. Not only are you downing a spirit with at least 43 percent or higher alcohol content, you’ll miss the flavor nuances you get when it’s sipped. Trust us on this one, you want to take your time.
- Diving in too far: Because there are many different styles of whiskey, you want to start with milder options first if you’ve never really tried it before. Going straight for peat is “very much equivalent to going straight for the hottest chili peppers in cooking when you’ve never even tried any spicy food.” Take your time and try non-peaty whiskies to first learn about the flavors.
- Drowning whiskey in a mixer: While we aren’t knocking a good whiskey cocktail recipe, to sometimes get the best out of a good whiskey, you want to avoid drowning it in Coke or another mixer. It takes a long time to get the dedication and skill right in crafting a really good whiskey and you’ll miss the pure flavor when it’s masked with a mixer.
- Being afraid to try something new: We’re a broken record but whiskey is fun to experiment with. Which means if you find one you like, that’s ok, but don’t be afraid to keep trying new ones.
- Assuming price = quality: How much whiskey costs is often the wrong barometer to determine quality or value. Just because a whiskey is more expensive, does not always mean it’s better. There are great quality options that are in a reasonable price range.
- Depending too much on the age: This point is debatable but in our opinion, age is just a number when it comes to good quality whiskey. Older whiskey is often more expensive and can reflect better quality but that doesn’t mean a younger whiskey won’t suit your tastes better. Older whiskies are often harder to acquire because there are less of them and aging in a cask longer can make them lose a sense of vibrancy. Don’t knock a younger whiskey until you try it.
If you want to wade into the whiskey world with quality craft whiskey with an interesting story behind it, check us out. RackHouse scours the U.S. looking for the best craft distilleries with the most interesting stories to curate a unique subscription box filled with full-sized bottles of hard-to-find small batch whiskey. We’re building a community of premium craft whiskey drinkers. And you’re invited! Join us!