Perhaps you’ve been invited to a tasting of fine spirits and are unsure if you need to bring your glass. Or perhaps you’re attending an event where cocktails are being served but don’t know the correct way to taste them. Regardless of your experience with drinking alcohol, some tips will help you enhance your next experience with spirits. There is more to tasting spirits than simply sipping them and hoping for the best.
Know Your Types Of Alcohol
You might think you know everything about wine, but spirits such as rum or tequila require a different approach. Knowing the difference between liquor types is important to tasting them correctly. Knowing which tasting notes to look for makes it easier to describe and recall those flavors. Knowing your types of alcohol will help you create a mental checklist of tasting terms as you sip. Whiskey is one of the most popular types of alcohol. Another reason it’s important to know your types of alcohol is so you know which ones require chilling and which ones you should be tasting at room temperature. Knowing this will give you the best tasting experience possible.
Smell Before You Sip
While this might seem an obvious tip to some, smelling the liquor before sipping it is important. Many people forget or skip this step and miss the tasting experience. By smelling the liquor before you sip, you’ll better understand the tasting notes in the drink. Moreover, you’ll be more prepared for the flavor once it hits your palate. When smelling the alcohol, be sure to inhale deeply. You will also want to inhale gently. If you put your nose too close to the alcohol and breathe in too strongly, the alcohol may burn your nose and negatively impact your tasting ability. You will want to remember to get rid of any distracting smells around you too. Avoid wearing perfume or cologne and don’t burn any candles around you. Create a clear space so you can focus only on the smell and taste of the alcohol.
Remember Outside Factors
It’s important to keep in mind any outside factors that could affect the taste of your spirits. For example, certain types of tobacco can affect the drink’s taste. Menthol cigarettes can give the liquor a minty taste. Similarly, cigars can add a smoky flavor to the drink. For a more accurate tasting experience, it’s best to hold off on smoking for at least an hour before tasting the liquor. Alternatively, you could visit a cigar bar or a similar establishment for ideas on which tastes complement each other. Even if smoking isn’t for you, keep in mind that the food you eat may have an effect on the taste of the alcohol. You may want to avoid eating strong flavors beforehand that may leave an aftertaste in your mouth.
Think About Flavor and Feeling
As you are tasting different spirits, pay attention to the taste as well as the feeling. Be aware of the mouth feel each different type of alcohol has. This will help you as you distinguish characteristics between different drinks. Being aware of this will help you become a tasting pro. You’ll notice a difference between sweet and dry (non-sweetened) spirits. If you’re sensitive to bitterness, you may benefit from a chaser when drinking dry liquors.
These are just a few top tips for tasting spirits like a pro. Remember that tasting alcohol is about being aware of every sip you take. It’s important to pay attention to each sip’s flavor, texture, and smell. When tasting spirits, try to forget about the world around you and let each flavor give you an entirely new experience.