View Full Version : Newbie questions - getting started

04-28-2005, 07:08
Hi guys, newbie here. Just wondering how many of you started right off drinking yours neat versus cutting it with water? Is neat an aquired taste?

I find that a few sips neat is good to get a taste of the whiskey, but for casual drinking there is still too much burn for me to really enjoy it. If I cut with a little water, it's a whole different story. I'm still experimenting to find what proof level I prefer for casual drinking. How about the rest of you?

What I've tried so far is Elijah Craig 12YO, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, and Knob Creek 9YO. Since these are all on the high end proof-wise, maybe I should drop down and try a lower proof neat? ANy recommendations? God help me if/when the Stagg I ordered ever comes in ......

Thanks, and regards,


04-28-2005, 07:27
Despite the very passionate and inflexible opinions on this subject you might see, the simple answer is there really is no right or wrong way to enjoy your bourbon.* Experiment with proof level and find the sweet-spot where you enjoy it most. Don't feel obligated to consume Stagg at bottle proof if that's not in your comfort zone. And certainly don't apologize for your preferences, here or elsewhere.

You may find as you continue your journey through Bourbonia that you'll add less and less water.

*That said, letting your friends drown Pappy 20 with Diet Coke might be a different story... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bigeyes.gif

04-28-2005, 07:33
Two bourbons that are very approachable for a beginner (either neat or cut with water) are Eagle Rare Single Barrel and Evan Williams Single Barrel. I have found that most people I introduce to bourbon will be able to drink these two bourbons neat, even if they cannot drink any others.

In fact, my wife has been known to sip on ERSB or EWSB with a cigar on occasion. This is after telling me that whiskey was disgusting, and she'd never touch it. She is slowly being converted!

04-28-2005, 18:49
I didn't start drinking bourbon neat, however, this is the way I drink bourbons, now. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

While I know this next suggestion may not make sense, I find that the best quality bourbons (normally, the more expensive ones, but this is not always the case) have less "burn" and "oak" taste then the cheaper bourbons. Most new bourbon drinkers will not want to spend that much money to find out what they like or how they want to drink their bourbon. I believe this is a mistake. You have probably had bourbon and Coke (hopefully, only with cheap bourbon.) Now try the following:

Buy a very expensive, quality bourbon, such as Van Winkle Family Reserve, Rock Hill Farms, a top-shelf Wild Turkey or many others on the market and see if I am right. Try it neat or with very little water or ice. You might find it very enjoyable! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

04-29-2005, 15:05
I think you are spot on. While I can easily sip 114-proof Old Grand Dad straight (and enjoy every drop), I dare say that there are 80-proof stinkers that would burn me up and gag me. I'm not going to try any to find out, though. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif


04-29-2005, 20:06
I find that following the manufacturers instructions is the way to go....Generally speaking that would be NEAT!!!
Only way to drink bourbon...I couldn't imagine sipping a 20yo VanWinkle, or a EC 18yo any other way.... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

04-29-2005, 21:03
Indeed, I've found that excessive water (or ice) does more harm than good, whether it's Bourbon, Scotch, or Irish. Sometimes a small splash of water is appropriate, but never more than a tablespoon, and usually more like a teaspoon.

I've also found that I prefer a tulip-shaped glass like a Glencairn, instead of a tumbler.

04-30-2005, 04:21
I've also found that I prefer a tulip-shaped glass like a Glencairn, instead of a tumbler.

I'm a huge fan of the Riedel bourbon glass. It does so much to bring the bourbon alive and encourages me to sip it over a long period of time.

04-30-2005, 11:35
I have a set of the Riedel crystal bourbon glasses, as well. Although I like them, I find that I get more out of my bourbons when drinking from the simple brandy snifters that I've had for years. Your mileage may vary.

05-02-2005, 13:05
I'm starting to figure this out. I tried Bookers this weekend, and it was very, very good.