Whiskey Wonderland: The Starting Line: Barrel 44

Abernathy Miller, Columbus Alive

Barrel 44 wants you to come over to the dark side of liquor. Staffers at the Short North watering hole are so excited about whiskey in all its varying forms, they want you to try them all. In fact, they encourage it. If you're uncertain whether you're more into Scotch or rye, try both, and add a bourbon for good measure. Barrel 44's famous whiskey flights have converted flavored vodka drinkers into single malt savants.

"People need to ask questions. It's not their job to know about whiskey, it's the bartender's job, and we take that very seriously here," said Bar Manager Victoria Mahnke. "It's a lot like drinking wine or listening to music. The more familiar you get with it, the more subtleties you can pick out, and you learn what works for you."

Flights consist of three customer's choice whiskeys at one ounce pours each, making it easy to find what you like without too much commitment. Mahnke suggests starting with a rye, an Irish whiskey and a bourbon to compare.

"Whiskey is a treat. It is meant to be enjoyed, sipped and talked about," Mahnke said. "Whiskey is about the journey, not the destination."

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Barrel 44

1120 N. High St., Short North