Using A Shot Glass Is Not How To Drink Scotch

Yes, there is a right way to drink scotch. While anyone can pour scotch, and have a sip, it is important to note the flavors, smell, and the finish. After all, scotch is not a cheap bottle of spirits, and to get the most out of each dollar spent on the bottle, a person must know the proper way to enjoy the refined liquor.

Most likely, a person has already seen someone drinking scotch at the bar and swishing it around in his or her mouth almost like mouthwash. However, this person is not using their scotch for cleansing; they are tasting what they are drinking. This is the best way to drink scotch, especially if it is a single malt. After all, single malts are complex but balanced, and carry notes that would otherwise be missed if they were guzzled down and ignored.

The Beauty of the Single Malt

A single malt scotch is expensive for a reason: it is a work of art. When a person comes across a great single malt, it could alter their experience of scotch whiskey forever. These liquids have been crafted for years (sometimes decades), and every sip is worth the cost. However, to fully appreciate the single malt and the artistry behind it, one must sip, smell, and finish properly.

Essential Steps on How to Drink a Single Malt Scotch Properly

  1. Start with the Right Glass

It is important that the proper glass be used for tasting scotch. A glass that has a large bowl-like opening at the top is important. It allows the aromas of the scotch to reach the nose and not rest on the bottom of the


There are Scottish companies that manufacture glasses specifically for drinking scotch, and these glasses are designed to aerate and ensure that the characteristics of the malt come to the top.

  1. Look at the Scotch

While it might seem silly, part of the proper way to drink scotch is to examine it. Look at the color, the clarity of the liquid, and more. The longer the scotch has aged, the darker and richer the color might be.

The legs of the scotch tell a person plenty about what they are going to consume. These legs indicate the weight of the scotch, which can help determine the lightness or heaviness of the drink. In most cases, a mature scotch will be thick.

To assess the legs, McClelland’s recommends swirling it around in the glass to coat the sides. Then, look for the teardrops that run down the side of the glass (these are the legs). If they run quickly, then the scotch is lightweight. If, however, they move slowly and stick to the sides, then it is an older, much more refined scotch whiskey.

  1. Smell the Scotch

There are many ways to drink scotch (such as in a cocktail), but one cannot pair their scotch until they have all the flavor notes in their senses.

Smelling the scotch with a series of sniffs lets the taster get an introduction to the flavors they are about to taste.

  1. Taste the Scotch

When tasting scotch, it is all about small, light sips. Scotch’s first sip must be quick and allowed to linger on the tongue. The warmth will reach the chest, and the tongue will resonate with the flavors of the cask and more.

The first sip will not bring out most of the flavors, but it will prime the taste buds for the second sip. During the second sip, the scotch must swirl around the inside of the mouth, and very slowly. This is when the flavors will start to appear, such as lemon, Sherry, oak, vanilla, honey, and more.

  1. Pairing the Scotch

Only after the scotch has been drunk properly can a person pair it with food or other cocktail mixers. Scotch is naturally smoky, regardless of how long it has aged. Therefore, foods that complement smokiness is best, such as cheeses, nuts, salmon, smoked meats, cold cuts, and chocolate.

Also, pairing scotch with a luxurious cigar works well, especially for those who are using their scotch as a meal-ender.

When pairing scotch with food, it is best to pair it with foods that have similar flavors. Therefore, if sweet and salty are noticed in the scotch, gentle and salty foods will pair nicely, regardless of what they are.

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