Knocking back shots of a favourite spirit might be the preferred method for young party-goers but at some point, the experience has to evolve. Aroma, taste, and finish all play integral roles in enhancing the experience to the next level. So how are these principles properly harnessed? Read on, fellow spirit enthusiasts.
The Glass Matters
Just like wines require specific glassware, spirits also necessitate their own glasses for maximum quality of experience. Ignoring this fact won’t yield any favours. Although the six main spirits (brandy, rum, gin, tequila, vodka, and whiskey) can be poured into even more specific glasses, it’s not necessary; A well-designed glass such as the award-winning, ergonomic design of the NEAT Glass, can be used for every type of spirit.
Try at Room Temperature First
It’s common practice to keep some spirits like vodka in the freezer, and although chilling has its benefits, trying a spirit for the first time is highly recommended at room temperature. At warmer temperatures, the palate is more likely to capture more aromatic and elusive flavours that would be likely masked if previously refrigerated.
Enjoy the View
Look at a spirit just like wine or beer. A lot can be said about what’s noticed, trust us. Colour and clarity can expose the quality of the distillation process, including factors like filtering and aging. Gauging colour can be tricky; lighter colours don’t always indicate less flavour. “Virgin” casks will catalyse flavours faster, but not colour.
Smell First, Sip After
Most spirit enthusiasts already do this, but here why it’s important: aromatics! They are an enormous element of tasting. A spirit’s aromatics can be particularly charged, and if smelled properly (don’t get too close!), the nasal sensories will be in for a delight.
Spit it Out
The typical palate doesn’t come into contact with spirits regularly, and when it does, it can be a bit jarring to some. To avoid this, it’s recommended to take a small sip, swish it around for a moment, and… spit it out! It sounds blasphemous, sure, but that’s how a palate is prepared before indulging in a spirit. Wait about 30 seconds for the second sip and it’ll be a truer representation of the spirit.
What’s the Verdict?
This is the exciting part — a controlled experience that allows the maximum enjoyment of a spirit. Remember that taste is very subjective, but all spirits carry with them centuries-old qualities that have changed very little, and that makes them classics forever.
When tasting, arching the tongue to allow the spirit to flow freely between every sensory will optimise the experience. These sensories include bitter, sour, salty, sweet, and umami. Do it right, and then take that long-awaited gulp. Secondly, it’s absolutely acceptable to add a drop or two of room-temp filtered water to your glass after the first gulp. This helps by cutting the alcohol burn, and it will also reveal cloaked flavours. Cheers!
Article credit: The SIP Awards.