Whiskey (or whisky) is a very personal and emotive spirit. Even the spelling causes controversy. In deference to my Irish roots, I’ll stick with ‘whiskey’ although happily accept that other people are wrong. There are many traditional ways to imbibe “the water of life”. These range from neat, with a drop of water, with a few ice cubes; to modern updates including ice spheres or blocks, cocktails and even vaporisations.
Given our predilection for theatre and all things exciting and unusual, we’ve updated these with a few unusual twists:
Set of 3 whiskies prepared for tasting with vapour trapped under cloches.
The Dry Ice Shot is a very effective way at chilling a measure of whiskey without dilution. At 50ml it has the capacity to handle a large measure of spirit whilst also cooling the liquid down to around 4ºc.
Unlike traditional ice, which cools a drink through melting, dry ice (as the name suggests) has no moisture and so cannot water-down the whiskey. One very pleasant side effect of the vapour produced is that it acts as a vehicle for the different flavour notes, carrying them into the atmosphere surrounding the glass. This would be excellent for tasting classes because it allows patrons a chance to sample all the different tasting notes before the glass touches their lips.
Whiskey (as an Old Fashioned) Sphere before and after breaking.
One excellent innovation for whiskey serves, especially if you like ice in your glass is the ice sphere. Ice spheres have a much lower surface area to volume ratio and so more effectively cool a drink with the least amount of melting. For an extra bit of theatre you can put the whiskey in a hollow ice sphere using the method described here. By breaking the sphere before serving it will chill the drink quite quickly at the same time as adding an element of theatre.
A great way to showcase some of your whiskeys (as long as you’re not a real purist) is to serve them in a cloche with a flavour infusion. This works especially well for whiskey cocktails but can also be used to great effect with neat whiskey serves. Fancy adding a sweeter element to your whiskey? How about infusing with either Orange, Cherry or Chocolate vapour. If you’re after something a bit more savoury you could infuse with hickory, bacon-soaked wood chips or thyme smoke.
Whatever you choose to do with your whiskey, don’t feel constrained by a traditional view or mentality. It’s a very versatile spirit and should be treated as such.