Drinks

This Simple Trick Will Make Your Whiskey Taste So Much Better

August 21, 2017

Where would we be without science? Probably still thinking the earth is flat, severely lacking in medical advancements, and drinking whiskey the completely wrong way. But rest assured, whiskey drinkers, science is here to quell all your imbibing insecurities.

A new scientific study explains the hows and whys of the so-called best way to consume the aromatic amber liquid. Results show that a glass of whiskey diluted with water actually produces the optimal drinking experience.

There’s a bunch of science behind the study that you can read more about here, but for the science-averse among us, there exists a simpler explanation. Whiskey’s taste can be attributed to the presence of a molecule called guaiacol, and like any good ambivalent, guaiacol both likes and dislikes water. Adding water to that rocks glass actually pushes the guaiacol to the top of your drink, strengthening the whiskey's aroma and flavor.

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But there’s a definite sweet spot. The study shows that adding just a few drops of water to your glass will deliver the best taste. Pour too much, and the guaiacol gets dispersed throughout the glass and dilutes the flavor. However, feel free to experiment with the proportions that work best for you.

So drink on, whiskey lovers. But remember, you don't always have serve your whiskey neat. A little water never hurts.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“If you're like me, and you prefer your whiskey chilled: I too was troubled by the dilution dilemma caused by ice and water; until I started keeping my rocks glass in the freezer (similar to a crude light beer drinker-- I must admit) the secret is to quickly rinse the frozen glass with cold water and shake out the excess before pouring the whiskey neat. In my opinion, the slightly wet, heavy frozen glass adds just enough droplets of water and chill on the 'aromatic amber liquid' to release all the goodness it has to offer and nothing less... sip. ”
— Benny
Comment

How do you like your whiskey? Let us know your preferred proportions in the comments below.

46 Comments

Marla K. September 6, 2018
Neat
 
Dan August 17, 2018
I usually add just a little water to my bourbon. Once in a while I will drink it straight with nothing added, and of course I enjoy it with Coca Cola, ginger ale or 7Up on occasion also! Bourbon any way is wonderful!
 
Ted C. July 22, 2018
Since about 2002, Jack Daniels has been giving you that splash for free, when they went from 86 to 80 proof. But seriously, if your whisky is over 90 proof, a splash can keep the alcohol burn from taking over the taste. You can also get the dilution from ice, but scotch, for instance, is best drunk at room temperature. All that talk about cold rocks to drop into scotch, to cool it without dilution, was backwards. There's nothing to be proud of in drinking high proof, anybody can do it. The goal is (always!) pleasure.
 
Frank W. July 20, 2018
without a doubt, a shot of a good bourbon or Rye, with a DASH of water is oh so GOOD. In my opinion and others.. but everyone is different..
 
Looking A. July 14, 2018
What a load of snobbery !<br />You purchase the spirit of your choice, drink it how YOU enjoy it, never let someone else tell you otherwise. It all comes down to personal preference. I have been recommended many different types/styles of whiskey with all types of explanations as to why they're amazing etc... yet rarely have I agreed with the person making the recommendation.
 
Rick K. June 30, 2018
Straight from the bottle in a shot glass. Nothing else. 100 proof of higher Wait for the vapor to totally leave the top of the glass. Throw it down, big man!
 
Kevmeistah August 29, 2018
You forgot to add the human hair!
 
K R. May 20, 2018
I am sorry ; we are talking about adding water- few drops or more and what diff.it makes to the flavour.
 
K R. May 20, 2018
I have been drinking Whiskey for 50+ years, more of Single Malt in the last two decades.I am a Packaging Technologist with a lot of experience of tasting foods and drinks.I have found for myself, the best way to drink whiskey is to add whiskey: water in the proportion of 60:40. Furthermore, I add ONLY water at room temp.This enhances the flavour of the liquor.That is my personal preference!
 
Greg E. May 20, 2018
K R Narasimhan, what we are talking about here is the belief that a few drops of water will change the flavor.
 
K R. May 20, 2018
I know, a few drops of water was mentioned .What I believe is a different proportion and that too the water should not be chilled or added with ice.I belive strongly!
 
Greg E. May 20, 2018
Okay, but that has nothing to do with this.
 
Darth D. June 2, 2018
Dude, let it go and leave the guy alone. Get a life while you’re at it.
 
al W. May 19, 2018
only giving my experiences from Scotland. no arguments with you. perhaps our palettes differ.
 
al W. May 19, 2018
actually it's not a myth. ask any scotch distiller how a bit of water will affect the esthers of the finished product.
 
Greg E. May 19, 2018
al Wanamaker - we have conducted blind taste tests in two bars and no one could tell the difference when they weren't told ahead of time. Try it yourself. Pour five small glasses and have someone add water to one without you knowing which. Of course you have a 20% chance by luck, but you will see for yourself there is no perceptible difference and you just guessed.
 
Greg E. May 19, 2018
This is an old myth with no scientific basis at all. It is already about 60% water, so a few more drops is literally a drop in the bucket.
 
Ted C. August 17, 2018
K R Narasimhan said about the same thing earlier and you told him to shut up.
 
Ninn August 26, 2018
You obviously are a scientist who didn’t need to click the links, you just know so much! How have you not won a novel prize for geniusary and being a telepath? How about you just keep your brilliant mind and comments so you don’t make us uneducated vermin feel so ignorant on the subject of whisky? The links numbers must be wrong and completely made up because you just gave us a number with so many sources and facts you’ve proven yourself.... ! XD!
 
Taco T. May 16, 2018
For years ive used a small bar straw....stick it in a glass of water...put your finger over opening...move it above glass...release finger and the perfect amount of drops
 
Juan May 1, 2018
Whats a good burban under $50 and txs
 
Benny April 19, 2018
If you're like me, and you prefer your whiskey chilled: I too was troubled by the dilution dilemma caused by ice and water; until I started keeping my rocks glass in the freezer (similar to a crude light beer drinker-- I must admit) the secret is to quickly rinse the frozen glass with cold water and shake out the excess before pouring the whiskey neat. In my opinion, the slightly wet, heavy frozen glass adds just enough droplets of water and chill on the 'aromatic amber liquid' to release all the goodness it has to offer and nothing less... sip.
 
al W. March 27, 2018
on a scotch tour in Scotland, we were shown and tried this. bought a 'water fife-pipette' for adding just a few drops. to believe it, do a comparison test. <br /> the pipette creates a stir in bars at home.
 
Mary March 2, 2018
Maker’s Mark, of course 😎
 
DaveInCO March 15, 2018
If you haven't tried Maker's 46, you should. Soonest.
 
Mary March 2, 2018
Served with one of those huge balls of ice that barely melts, fabulous!
 
Jay R. January 28, 2018
Shaken with ice and strained. You get the water and cold without deluting the whole drink.
 
Fred L. January 1, 2018
One small ice cube does it for me, in bourbon, scotch or Irish...
 
Raymond K. December 30, 2017
A good 18yr single malt with a lime. The acid in the lime opens other flavor profiles without tasting like a bad frat party drink.