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  • Writer's pictureSeza Babaoglu

Is there a right way to drink whiskey: with or without ice?

The decision of whether to drink whiskey with or without ice, or even with a few drops of water, is largely a matter of personal preference. Each method has its own merits and can enhance the overall experience of enjoying whiskey. Let's explore these options:


Drinking whiskey neat means enjoying it without any ice or water added. This method allows you to experience the whiskey's flavors and aromas in its purest form and it is particularly suitable for higher quality whiskies or those with complex flavor profiles. Pour a measure of whiskey into a glass, gently swirl it to release the aromas, and take small sips to savor the flavors. However, it's worth noting that for cask and barrel strength whiskies, which contain higher alcohol levels, this might be overwhelming even for experienced drinkers.

On the rocks

The addition of ice cubes to whiskey slightly chills the drink, which can help mellow out the flavors and provide a refreshing sensation. Moreover, the cold temperature of the ice can slightly numb your taste buds, reducing the intensity of the alcohol. If you opt for this method, pour your desired amount of whiskey into a glass and add a few ice cubes. Gently swirl the glass to cool the whiskey, and then savor it at your own pace. However, it's important to note that one drawback of this approach is that, it may diminish the aroma of the whiskey, potentially limiting your ability to fully appreciate its flavor profile.

Adding drops of water

Adding a few drops of water to whiskey is a common practice among enthusiasts, and it can significantly enhance the overall tasting experience by elevating the flavor profile. The introduction of water helps to unlock the whiskey's intricate nuances by releasing volatile compounds, enabling you to delve into its full range of complexities. It can also help adjust the alcohol and flavor concentration, allowing you to enjoy the whiskey at your desired level. Nevertheless, it's crucial to bear in mind that some whiskies are already well balanced and enjoyable without any water addition, so it's a matter of personal preference.


The ultimate key to enjoying whiskey lies in exploring your personal preferences. Feel free to experiment and discover your preferred method, whether it's drinking it neat, on the rocks, or with a few drops of water. Embrace the opportunity to try different whiskies using various techniques to uncover the delightful transformations in flavors and aromas. Some whiskies may benefit from the addition of a small amount of water instead of ice, as it can enhance the flavors and unlock additional aromas. The important thing is to savor the experience and appreciate the distinctive characteristics of the whiskey you're sipping. After all, the goal is to indulge in the flavors and aromas in a way that brings you the utmost pleasure.

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