How to Drink Scotch- The Glassware
by Jeffrey Topping
In my posting, How to Drink Scotch- The True Answer I established that the only right way to drink scotch is the one that’s good for you. The challenge is finding “what is the right way”and with that we need to start with some basics.
Ask yourself, why are you drinking? Relaxing, Nosing, or a bit of both. What you want to accomplish can be a big influence in the type of glass you want to use. Even when the right glass has been identified you may still need to find the right style best suited for your senses. So let’s get started:
Bucket Glass or Old Fashioned Glass – basically a glass which is not tapered or not designed to enhance the aromas of whisky or any type of alcohol, but it is an appropriate glass if you just want to have a drink in a bar or on the porch. Typically these types of glasses hold 6 to 10 oz of liquid, which is great if you want to load up on the rocks (ice).
Blender’s Malt Glass– was designed for nosing and tasting whisky. Its heavy construction will stand up to everyday wear and tear (even a dishwasher). Its tapered end allows for maximum concentration of aromas, which is especially helpful if you sense of smell is not very good. I prefer this glass for serious nosing of cask samples. If you like to add more than 1 cube of ice this glass is not for you. For those with a larger nose this glass may also pose some difficulty as the opening is narrow. The most popular brand comes from The Glencairn Crystal Company in Scotland.
Brandy Snifter is a great solution if a blenders malt glass is not available. Being a short stemmed glass allows for a comfortable fit in the hand. The aromas gather well at the tapered end and it can hold more than 1 cube of ice if that is how you prefer to drink.
Wine Glasses of any type can be very useful if you are just looking to evaluate the different nuances of Scotch Whisky. Most wine glasses are tapered to some degree which allows a much greater appreciation of the whisky being nosed. Best of all a wine glass can be found at any reputable bar or restaurant.
If the purpose is to nose, taste, or basically study the whisky as you are enjoying it there is one important factor that cannot be over looked; a clean glass. I highly recommend washing the glass before using even it is appears clean. The following things can adversely effect the flavor of the whisky:
Dishwasher– Soap is dried onto the surface of the glass.
Scented Soap– Lavender or other aromas may be enjoyable while doing the dishes,however, they may not taste great in your whisky.
Air Drying–Residual soap will dry on the glass similar to a dishwasher
Paper Towels– The odor of the towel may linger inside the glass
To avoid the issues above I recommend cleaning glass the glass in warm water too loosen the dried soap on the glass. If the opening is too narrow try using glass wand (sponge on a stick) to get inside and loosen up the soap. Make sure the sponge was not used previously in soapy water or it defeats the purpose. Once cleaned use a clean cloth (hand towel) to dry the glass. The towel should not have the aromas of scented detergent or it will transfer into the glass.
You have picked your glass and given it a good cleaning, what’s next? Figuring out the riddle of Water, Neat, and Rocks!
Cheers, The Wild Scotsman