What is the best way to drink whisky?

How to drink Whisky

There’s no right or wrong way to drink whisky. As long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters. But there are some ways you can appreciate it even more. Experiment with different glasses and serving temperatures. Add a little water or a mixer. Drink it in a cocktail. Only you know how to drink whisky in the right way for you. Here are a few things to consider.

A guide to whisky tasting
Neat serves of Johnnie Walker whisky in two tumbler glasses
1. Choose your glass01/04
For neat whisky, make it a tumbler (a short glass with a heavy bottom). For long whisky drinks, use a highball glass that’s tall, slim and straight-sided.
Woman inhaling the scent of whisky from a traditional whisky tasting glass
2. Inhale the scent02/04
A huge part of the flavor of food and drink comes from the way it smells – and whisky is no exception. Take a moment to enjoy the aroma.
Two tumbler glasses of Johnnie Walker Black Label
3. Savour the taste03/04
Take a sip and allow the whisky to roll over your tongue, before letting it slip smoothly down.
The golden shades of copper and amber of whisky melting amongst ice in a glass
4. Take your time04/04
See what flavors you recognize – some will be unique, or come across stronger, to you. Try discussing what you can taste with friends.
Keep Walking Stamp
How to drink whisky in cocktails

Whisky has a whole range of flavors, textures and scents, which means it works well in many different ways. You can get creative and try it with unexpected pairings in a Highball cocktail. Or stick to classic cocktails like a Whisky Sour and Scotch Old Fashioned to bring out a complex flavor profile. Whether you like your cocktail sweet, spicy, sour or bitter, whisky makes a perfect base.

Johnny Walker Red Label bottle surrounded by Johnny Walker whisky cocktails

Common tasting questions

  • Is it better to drink whisky neat or with water?

    Both have their benefits. The simplest way to enjoy your whisky is neat, cleansing your palate with cool water between sips. Some people also add a few drops of water to their whisky, which can open up the flavors as the liquids combine. Experiment to see what works for you, but go slowly. Don’t add too much water at once.

  • Should I drink whisky with ice?

    Adding ice to Scotch instantly makes for a more refreshing experience, but it can also significantly change the flavor as it dilutes the whisky. To find a balance that works for you, consider the amount and shape of the ice, as well as the measure of whisky. The more ice in the glass or the bigger the cube, the slower it’ll melt. And the impact will be greater on a single measure than a double.

  • Should I ever drink whisky with a mixer?

    Combining Scotch with a mixer is a good way to ease yourself into the world of whisky, without compromising on flavor. And it lets you experience whisky paired with unexpected flavors. Try it in a Highball cocktail: simply fill a tall glass with ice, add a measure of your favorite Label, then top with your mixer of choice and a garnish. Nothing’s off the table – from classic ginger ale to sweet iced tea to elderflower cordial.