Pretty much always straight. It loses something to me mixing it. My buddy always has makers and sevens, and that was too sweet for me. I tried makers with some ice, which was fine but got watery fast. It is a shock at first to sip bourbons neat- but you quickly get used to it.
I drink barrel proofs neat, but VERY small sips. I'll pour maybe 3/4th of an ounce of Stagg or WLW and take tiny little sips for a while. I drink lower proofs a bit faster, but 110proof seems nearly the right spot for enjoyable sipping to me.
But really- do whatever you want and enjoy so long as it's responsible.
I started off my drinking life on beer, saw too many of my older friends get piss drunk and vomit all over the place. That didn't really seem to exciting to me.
College was where the appeal of spirits began, and not until I transferred to an SEC school, did I begin to understand the differences in whiskey. In fact, cost played a role for me, with Jim Beam being significantly cheaper than Jack Daniels at the time. It wasn't until my late 20s did I awaken to the goodness of bourbon neat. This was only because my father travelled to see Fogerty in KY and "killed some time" by visiting some distilleries.
If only I had realized back in college then what I do now (in bourbon, not just life) of all the sweet dusties I was leaving high and dry. Now I am in NJ, where good brown liquor is tough to come by, and chugging away trying to find some good bourbon.
Yes and I guess the reason that I started off drinking mine straight was because of the environment that I was in. The first person to offer me a drink out of a bottle was an elderly fellow that I was deer hunting with. The option was drink it straight or pass...
Since that time I have always loved the taste and taken it straight or when I order it out I order it neat.
I do enjoy the occasional mixed drink but mostly drink it straight and always have.
I have not had anything stronger than OGD 114 and might add a little water to anything much stronger than that.
Give me Bourbon or give me death! ~ Hondo (1982)
As long as the addition of modest amounts of water to VERY high proof whisky can still "count" as straight, then yes I drink everything straight. My ideal is around 46-50%.
I've never used ice for any spirit. I don't understand it. I see people do this with beer occasionally and it doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I should be more polite or politically correct and say something like "it's all subjective" but that would be disingenuous.
I'm in the no Ice camp. To me, Ice dulls the flavors making the ethanol in comparison more pronounced.
The lone exception to my "no Ice rule" is Irish whiskey. I do drink the standard Jamison's on the rocks usually in a bar or restaurant as a pre-dinner drink. Sometimes in the summer I'll drink Powers Gold or Jamison with ice. Since these are only 80 proof adding Ice to them and letting it melt a bit doesn't seem to extenuate the ethanol. I just don't understand how someone can add ice to 90-100+ bourbon.
I've never been shy about sharing my opinion. And you shouldn't either.
Am I politically incorrect? Hell yeah, but that's a different story, one not related to bourbon.
I think this comes down to what one drinks, how one drinks it, and what is one's experience.
If one is drinking nasty rotgut, then coke or sprite helps choke it down.
If one takes small sips rather than a shot glass full, then something as stout as Stagg is enjoyable.
Many people enjoy an ice cube or water splash and there's many chemical/biological reasons for this. I do not, but then I drink 190 neat.
It is pretty standard here in Australia to drink rum, bourbon, even scotch with coke. When we come into the drinking age a whole variety of concoctions are thrown at us, some not so potable, others very drinkable. I started with beer and JB/coke as this was cheap for students. Nowadays i still drink JB with coke on occasion but always drink the higher shelf bourbon straight or with a dash of water. I think bourbon and coke has its place and straight bourbon certainly has its own, but i can appreciate both.
It is no secret that I love that elixir of the gods, bourbon.
I tend to fire an ice cube or two in my glass. I'd say I probably fire ice in my bourbon 70% of the time. I can see how people might find that nuts, but I'm ok with that.
My wife once remarked to me how it took her quite some time to learn to enjoy red wine because it is served room temp/cellar temp and not cold like white wine and also remarked in the same breath how she didn't understand why I drink whiskey at room temp.
could it be part of the reason many take their whiskey with ice has more to do with the habit of drinking beverages either hot like coffee or cold like iced tea than the dilution provided by the melting ice?