Choose Between Two Options
- $299 for a hand-selected boutique wine tasting for up to 15 ($699.99 value)
- $399 for a hand-selected whiskey society selection tasting for up to 15 ($899.99 value)
Both tasting events are four hours longs plus an hour for setup and breakdown. During the events, parties are walked through the basics of tasting while sampling bites of chocolate or cheese. Clients can choose from two tasting formats: a blended party where people mingle and taste freely or assorted stations where guests move from station to station, each of which offers and explains one type of wine or whiskey.
Whiskey Etiquette: Hold Your Liquor (In a Tulip-Shaped Glass)
Instructors will teach you how to handle whiskey, among other spirits. Read on for some serving tips you can follow even at home.
“Use the darkest brand you can find and put the soda in first. When that’s done, hang on until you reckon you’ve been absent long enough . . . Fill the time by reading the paper and gulping your own private malt whisky.” Such were the proudly miserly writer and master drinker Kingsley Amis’s instructions for serving whiskey to guests. Granted, you may have other goals when you pop open a bottle—say, enjoyment, or maintaining your friendships. Below, a few serving styles and when to employ them:
Neat: take a glass and pour some whiskey in it. This approach is ideal for a spirit that you really want to taste such as a single-malt scotch. The liquor should be room temperature—assuming the room’s not in a snow fort—because any spirit releases more of the compounds that make up its particular aroma at warmer temperatures. A wide-bottomed, tulip-shaped glass fulfills several functions: it exposes more of the pour to the air, it concentrates the aroma at the top of the glass where your nose is most likely to be, and its shape allows your hands to gently warm the liquid.
With water: rather than diluting your drink, a splash of water can actually open up even more flavor. This method can benefit any whiskey, but it’s especially helpful with spirits from 90 proof to 100 proof: you want to create space to taste something other than the initial blast of alcohol. The water should be distilled and room temperature, and, as the Irish say, “Never water another man’s whiskey.”
With ice: cask-strength and barrel-proof whiskies—usually more than 100 proof—may benefit from an ice cube to neutralize their alcoholic burn. Ice also prevents a whiskey’s aroma from developing fully, however, so adding more than that will limit the taste. It’s no faux pas to have a whiskey cocktail on the rocks, though, if you’re using a mixing-quality spirit. As with any rocks drink, the melting ice is a “secret ingredient” that helps the other flavors merge.
With whiskey stones: these chunks of soapstone are kept in the freezer and dropped into a drink to test your jaw strength and keep the whiskey chilled without dilution. Most tasting experts wouldn’t consider that a good thing—but if “ice cold and very strong” sums up your ideal drink, whiskey stones are there for you.