How to introduce a friend to whisky

whiskey for newcomers

How to introduce a friend to whisky

Most of us, in the whisky world, have a friend or friends that either categorically state that they hate whisky, even though they’ve only ever tried it once at the end of a heavy night, or want to like it, but can’t ‘get into it’.
My theory is that most people, with an open mind, can enjoy whisky if introduced to it in the right way.

I recently posed the question to the all-knowing whisky community on Twitter and received some insightful, imaginative and amusing ‘tips’.

However, the peated exclusion isn’t a view shared by all (including me), but probably is a bit of a ‘Marmite’ whisky influence for a newcomer.

Allowing a newcomer to taste a variety of whiskies was also a popular opinion/tip…

Then there’s the tips to avoid a newcomer to whisky being overwhelmed by the ethanol…

There were also some wonderful and thoughtful replies regarding specific whiskies to try…

Some great advice from (almost) everyone concerned….haha!

So, in summary:

  • Use water and ice as required
  • Offer a few varieties of whiskey to demonstrate the diversity of flavours and aromas
  • Stress small sips, so as not to be overwhelmed
  • Choose the correct whisky in the first place. If you can base this on existing tastes, all the better. Avoid cask strength or anything challenging
  • Explain the importance of breathing
  • Let the whisky sit in the glass for a while to allow the ethanol to dissipate
  • Discuss the brand and expression story, build interest
  • Explain that it will probably require a few sips (3 or more) to start to ‘taste’ passed the ‘just tastes like whisky’ phase
  • Visit a distillery together to learn about the process and build interest
  • Try whisky cocktails to gently introduce flavours
  • Try pairing whisky with food for added interest and a balance of flavours

It would be great to add to this list. If you have any tips to add, please do let me know on Twitter.

My thanks to some great Twitter whiskey community embers for their input. I highly receommend a follow!