The Whiskey Issue: How to be awesome at drinking whiskey

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There are a lot of guides out there on how to drink whiskey, and an annoying number of them start with "there's no right or wrong way to drink whiskey," then proceed to admit that actually, the only right way to drink it is with a splash of room-temperature spring water, preferably from the same source as the water used to make the whiskey.

This is not one of those guides. We'll be happy if you give whiskey a shot in any old form. Here are some of the many ways you can enjoy it.

Whiskey, neat

Straight up, room temperature, no ice, no water, no Coke.

Pros: This is the way whiskey connoisseurs do it.

Cons: If you're new to drinking whiskey or not a big fan, this might be too strong for your tastes.

Whiskey & water

Adding room-temperature bottled water (not tap water - chlorine and whiskey is a bad combination) can help bring out whiskey's complex flavors and aromas.

Pros: You can discern the flavors a little easier when the burn isn't so strong, plus you can prolong your enjoyment by staving off drunkenness.

Cons: It's still an awfully strong drink.

Whiskey on the rocks

Served over ice.

Pros: Cold whiskey is more refreshing than room-temp.

Cons: Purists say that rather than enhancing the flavors like water does, ice dulls them.

Whiskey & soda

Whether it's Jack & Coke or Jameson and ginger ale, this is the way the majority of casual drinkers enjoy whiskey.

Pros: Goes down smooth so you can drink all night long.

Cons: Sugary soft drinks mask the delicate flavors of whiskey rather than enhancing them.