Saturday, November 27, 2021

Weekend Cooking: Tasting Whisky

Recently I read The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan which I enjoyed immensely. The majority of the story is set a whisky distillery in Scotland. Alex is a very successful business coach who receives a last minute request to go to Scotland to deal with a CEO who has a very volatile relationship with the board of his company, most of whom happen to be family members.

I must confess that I don't know much about whisky distilling so there was lots of interesting facts about the whisky distilling process, and I have never been to a whisky tasting, and this passage caught my attention because of the idea of saying hello!

Of course, I have said hi to whisky before, usually with a splash of cola which is probably a bit sacriligous but still.

She watched as Skye brought her glass to her mouth, but before sipping, inhaled it deeply, her eyes closed. She pulled the glass away and then brought it back again, repeating the deep breath in.

"Is that how you're supposed to drink whisky?" Alex asked, fascinated.

"Oh," Skye said, pulling an embarassed expression. "Occupational hazard. I forget not to do it."

"Well, could you show me how? I've never done it properly before."

"Sure," Skye replied, looking delighted and pouring them each a little more. "The first - or most important - thing is to remember is that whisky's not something to be rushed, but rather savoured. It takes a long time to make and it should take a long time to drink, to really allow the flavour to come out."

"Right," Alex said, adjusting her grip so that it was the same as Skye's, her fingers on the stem, away from the bowl of the glass. She realized she'd never seen whisky served in a stemmed glass before either - only ever tumblers.

"Now the first thing you want to do is introduce yourself to it. So you bring it to the nose and say hello," Skeye said in a sing-song voice, swirling the glass only slightly, closing her eyes and inhaling the aroma for a good four or five seconds.

"Hello," Alex echoed, feeling faintly ridiculous to be talking to a drink.

Skye then swung her arm away as though it was hinged, before bringing it back in again. "How are you?" she murmured in another dramatic voice, this time with a light swill of the glass and a deep inhalation.

Alex copied her exactly, right down to her intonation.

"Very well, thank you." Skye opened her eyes. "Smell that? See how it's beginning to breath?"

Alex nodded. It was like the opening of a flower. "Yes."

"Now take a good swig but hold it in the middle of your mouth. That's it and we're going to count down from ten..." she said, holding up her fingers and counting down. Alex swallowed when she did.

"And now take a bite of chocolate," she said, handing over the ramekin. "And then take another swig."

Alex's eyes widened as the sweetness of the chocolate in her mouth contracted with the smooth, fiery burn of the whisky.

"See that, how the flavours balance and complement one another? Now take another sip quickly."

Alex did as ths was told, eyes closing with pleasure as the last swig of whisky was drained, to dance in her mouth. She didn't gulp it down but let it play on her palate for a few moments, the different flavours like musical notes. "Oh my God," she gasped finally. " Wow."

"Yeah? You liked that?" Skye asked, looking pleased. "You should try the twenty-eight. It's a different level entirely."

"I'd love to," Alex replied.

"Yeah? Shall we say hello to it?"

Alex grinned. "Let's say hello."

Have you ever said hello to whisky in this way?

Weekly Meals

Saturday - Butter chicken pizza
Sunday - Roast beef and vegies
Monday - Beef and rice stir fry
Tuesday - Chicken Enchiladas
Wednesday - Fried Chicken, mash and beans
Thursday -Out for drinks
Friday - Takeaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. I've said hello to many a whiskey in my day, but I've not gone through this ritual.

  2. We went to a Scotch whiskey tasting in Cambridge, England, once long ago. I think the person who led it wasn’t that over dramatic! We were impressed by the flavours of single malt scotch. (I spelled “flavour” in British on purpose).
    best… mae at
    best… mae at

  3. Here I am in my mid-60s and I am just learning to appreciate wine...I will need another lifetime to start to learn about whiskey.

  4. I was lucky enough to tour bourbon distilleries in Kentucky several years ago, which included tastings, and I realized then that there is a lot more to this drink than I had realized. I have never said hello to whisky this way, but now I want to!

  5. I am not a fan of whiskey and know nothing about it or its production. Wine is a different story! It sounds like an interesting book.

  6. Funny! When we did a whiskey tasting in Nashville, TN, a few years ago, we were told never to take a big deep inhale of it before tasting, as all the alcohol fumes will obscure the taste! I guess if experts didn't disagree, there would be nothing to discuss. ;)

  7. Never really got into whiskey. A whole new field for exploration perhaps. I'd like to go to a tasting.

  8. Replies
    1. There's definitely a time for a slug Sherry!