View Full Version : What to give a non-whiskey drinker?

Aged In Oak
09-11-2007, 19:46
Here's a challenge for all of you. I've been trying to get a non-whiskey drinking friend of mine to... well, drink whiskey. He insists he doesn't like anything besides beer, wine, and sweet cocktails, but I'm sure if I can find the right whiskey I can get him hooked.

Being a bourbon fan, I first tried to get him into that. I got him to try Maker's Mark, since it's the lightest flavored bourbon that I have. Unfortunately, he didn't like it. Based on that, I'm wondering if bourbon might be too strong to start him on, and that maybe a lighter flavored Scotch might work. Unfortunately, I know very little about Scotch. Any thoughts on a bottling that might be good to get a newbie started on (keeping in mind he didn't like Maker's)? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

09-11-2007, 19:56
Aberfeldy is reasonably priced, fairly sweet and takes ice pretty well. The only thing better would be Glen Elgin and you can't get that in the US.

09-11-2007, 19:56
When I worked in a liquor store, I always tried to convert people to bourbon.
What cocktails does your friend like? We can work from there.

09-11-2007, 20:34
He likes sweet drinks...start with a selection of bourbon based cocktails...this is the long, slow way to do it, but is most likely to get the desired results...given enough time.

Bourbon sours, collins and such would be a good starting point, maybe even irish coffees, just to get a whiakey taste going...as he gets more accustomed to the flavors you can work to less sweet/dilute cocktails...bourbon and cokes and such.

The other option is to just let him drink what he likes and enjoy his company because he is himself, not try to change him into something else...a true friend is someone you prefer to spend time with regardless of any differences of opinion and true friends are too hard to come by to mess them up.

09-11-2007, 21:03
If you were going to go the Scotch route, Aberlour, Balvenie, or Glenrothes would do well - they aren't peaty. Irish whiskey would be worth trying as well; Powers is inexpensive and tasty, Redbreast is pricey but outstanding.

09-11-2007, 21:55
Got any more info on his regular drinks? Dark beer, white wine, something else completly?

Glen Mhor
09-12-2007, 02:58
i think that one of the best introductory whiskys would be the MIDDLETON veryrare, because of its mild taste and low burnfactor and the full flavor.


the 15 year old Readbreast....

i know,,,both of them are a bit expencive, but you said its for a friend:grin:

Glen Mhor

09-12-2007, 03:13
Try a Dalwhinnie or a Glenkinchie both nice easy whiskies light sweetish and not to complex or give him a whisky that`s finished on Port(sweet)or Sherry(dryish)barrels to show him what a wine can do with it.A nice smooth Speysider will be a good choice as well.Don`t give him Islaywhisky or he`ll never drink our heavenly poison again:lol: .Succes!

09-12-2007, 05:29
I like the idea of trying some of the sweeter cocktails.

If that doesn't work, you might want to try other distilled spirits before jumping straight to whisky/whiskey. While I never push my wine/sweet tropical drink wife to spirits (don't want to have to share the good stuff) she does occasionally taste different things. The first distilled spirit that she really seemed to enjoy straight was Pyrat Special Reserve Rum. This might be a good transitional drink to try.


09-12-2007, 05:50
I'm going to second the Irish Whiskey on this. Powers and regular Jameson might do the trick. Start with the Powers though. Both of these are pretty tasty neat, on the rocks, and in simple cocktails. Mix them with Coke, or better yet mix them with ginger ale. Then maybe try some Bushmills as a good deal of would have been aged in a bourbon barrel.

09-12-2007, 12:49
Irish whiskey. Standard Jameson's on the rocks with a very small splash of water added. Even a non whiskey drinker shouldn't find that challenging.

But like Barturtle says. If he just dosn't like whiskey perhaps it's best to leave him be.

Aged In Oak
09-12-2007, 16:24
Thanks for all the great suggestions. You've given me some good ideas. And to those of you who pointed out perhaps it's just best to let people have their own tastes, you're absolutely right. I think my original post came across as though I was trying to force the interest on him. In reality, he originally said he liked only certain things, but when I mentioned how much I enjoyed sampling different bourbons he said he'd be interested in experimenting. The MM taste didn't appeal, so I'm looking for something else that might. More than anything, I'm trying to encourage the interest he expressed. After all, it can be daunting walking into the liquor store and trying to figure out what you might want to try. I'll try a few of the suggestions given here, but if those don't work, I think that's a sign he's not meant to be a whiskey lover!

09-12-2007, 18:32
Your keys!

If they won't drink, let 'em drive, and tell them they're your bestest frenddd in the whlle wirld..

Designabated Driverign, I luvvv you manmn

09-13-2007, 16:53
I'd try some Highland Park. I've heard it expressed as one of the best all around whiskeys regardless of the country of origin and I'd tend to agree. I'd like the suggestion of trying some of the different wood finished versions available. I'm quite from of the Glenmorangie Sherry Finish.


09-17-2007, 23:05
J&B Rare, blended Scotch whisky. If he likes wine he might like this one, it reminds me very of much of extra dry champaign.

You might also think about Canadian whiskies. Canadian Mist is very non-offensive and easy to analyze, and I pick up a banana flavor that might appeal to a cocktail drinker. Black Velvet reserve is also worthy of consideration, though it is a heartier whiskey than most of the standard Canadians.

Then again, something really aggressive might turn his crank: Wild Turkey 101, Old Grand Dad 100, Weller's Antique 107? Maybe the light flavor route is the wrong route.

09-18-2007, 07:21
OR . . . maybe the guy doesnt have the "whiskey gene". Why try to MAKE him like it.....

Let him drink his sweet stuff and leave the whiskey for those of us that really care.

I never saw the point of trying to "convert" someone. Introducing, but forcing a conversion is, is......????

09-18-2007, 07:45
Counter-intuitively, sometimes a well-flavoured whisky will appeal to a novice. It will help too to tell him what to look for in the drink (since how can you acquire a taste, quickly anyway, if you don't know what it should taste like?).

I'd suggest Old Forester in bourbon. Tell him it has a scent and smell of cherries from the grains (as fermented) and vanillin and charcoaly wood from the charred oak barreling.

In whisky, try Balvenie, any one, or Glenmorangie, any one also. For those, tell him they taste like cereals aged in wood, like a porridge served in a wooden bowl sort of, a porridge for grown-ups. :)

And if he doesn't like any of those, give a Stagg (but warn on the proof, basically tell him to cut it 50/50 with water at a minimum). You never know, he might really like it.