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    9 Steps To Drinking Whiskey Like A Pro

    It's the water of life, so drink up!

    Not only is whiskey delicious, but the Gaelic word for whiskey, uisge beatha, translates to mean “water of life,” and we could all use some of that.

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    But as you may already know, whiskey is a bit of an acquired taste because the flavors tend to be bold and rich.

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    But I researched the hell out of how to drink whiskey like a pro in my book Womanskills, and I've also enlisted the help of Kim Axelrod Ohanneson; a Certified Whisky Ambassador and President of Women Who Whiskey ~ Los Angeles.

    So here are the steps to finding a whiskey you'll actually love drinking:

    1. For the purpose of finding your favorite kind of whiskey, order it neat — meaning served at room temperature and poured into a glass without ice or mixers.

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    “If you’re really exploring whiskey, you’re going to want to try it neat," Ohanneson explained. "Have a sip, then add water or ice just to get a sense of it.” A lot of people think water brings out the flavor of whiskey, so ordering it with water is totally acceptable.

    2. But if you're a beginner and can't bring yourself to sip whiskey solo, start off with a solid whiskey cocktail to ease into the taste.

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    A Manhattan or an old-fashioned is a great stirred cocktail option, while a penicillin is shaken and can be made with Scotch, which is also super fun. And if Scotch versus bourbon is a little confusing, just know that they’re both kinds of whiskey.

    3. Smell the whiskey before you taste it.


    "Don’t stick your whole nose in there," Ohanneson said. "Keep your mouth open slightly and breathe in through your nose as you smell it. Then take a sip, and swish it around a bit so the different parts of your mouth can taste the flavors."

    4. In terms of taste, if you like things on the sweet side ask for a spirit that uses corn, like bourbon. / Via thebourboncouple

    A lot of bourbons, such as Four Roses, fall into this category. And in general, Irish whiskeys tend to be lighter. As Ohanneson explained, Irish whiskeys are triple distilled, so that can be a good entry point for new drinkers.

    5. For a spicy taste, a rye whiskey will knock you off your feet in the best way possible.

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    WhistlePig and Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey are two to put on your "to drink" list for this.

    6. But if you prefer a smoky flavor, Scotch can be a good place to look.


    To clarify: not all Scotch is smoky. But there are a lot of really delicious brands, such as Laphroaig, Talisker, and Highland Park that are all excellent options if you want that smoky flavor.

    7. Order a flight tasting to sample multiple whiskeys without going broke.

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    As Ohanneson explained, you can order a flight tasting in some bars, which are usually 3-5 whiskeys that are linked in some way; either by region, country, or flavor profile. They can be a cheaper option (and sometimes are free, if it's with a brand rep), to try multiple things.

    8. And don't be afraid to ask your local bartender for recommendations.

    Note from Ohanneson: this is best done on an off-night so you can chat and explore without a ton of other people getting in your way.

    9. If you’re out and can’t remember any of this, two basic things to look for are the color and smell.

    Generally, the darker the whiskey, the older it is, and how it smells is usually a solid indicator of what you’re in for, taste-wise. No matter which one you order, you’re drinking the water of life, so bottoms up.

    Want to read more about whiskey? I wrote a book called Womanskills that talks about whiskey and how to drink more of it, if you’re interested!