The word whisky or whiskey is an anglicization of the Gaelic word uisce/uisge meaning “water.” Distilled alcohol was known in Latin as aqua vitae or “water of life”. So…
Whisky = Water of Life
Everybody wants to drink the water of life right? Learning to order your first whisky can be intimidating. This beginner’s guide infographic from Business Insider and Pam Wiznitzer of The Dead Rabbit in New York City will help you to get started.
First of all, ask for help from your bartender, that’s what they are there for. If they say that all whiskies are the same or “bourbon can only be made in Kentucky” that should send up a red flag, stop and go somewhere else, they don’t know what they are talking about. However, most bartenders are knowledgeable and happy to help you find what you are looking for. It’s called customer service and that’s what they are there for and that’s what will keep you coming back.
Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, Bourbon, or Rye — the options are at once tantalizing and intimidating if you haven’t wrapped your mind around the range of flavors and ways whiskey is served. Remember, this is an art hundreds of years in the making so take your time.
“Don’t necessarily walk into a bar and slam down the order of whiskey you want and assume they have it,” Wiznitzer advised. “Feel free to have a dialogue with your bartender. It’s a good conversation.” With every conversation you’ll learn a little more, and you’ll be talking like an expert in no time. That is, if you dedicate enough time and money to it of course.
Don’t waste your time on shots, that’s not what this is about. To really taste your whisky, ask for it straight in a glass – neat, or on the rocks. Take a look at the infographic for recommendations on sweet, savory, smoky, spicy or overproof whisky and enjoy.