Six Tips for New Whiskey Drinkers

Montana mountains in fall-Montana Whiskey Co.

Looking for a beginner’s whiskey? Wondering how to drink whiskey? Here’s Montana Whiskey Co.’s advice.

1. Start with a low-proof whiskey (the best whiskey for beginners)

You might be thinking, “I need the smoothest whiskey to start with.” But, “smooth” is a tough thing to nail down, so start thinking “low proof,” because …

A high-alcohol whiskey is not a great beginner whiskey. More alcohol really throws the heat on your tongue, possibly overwhelming a beginning whiskey drinker. Go for the lower-proof stuff. Bourbon whiskey, for example, must be at least a low 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume), but can be purchased higher at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume) for “bottled in bond” bourbon, and even higher for “barrel proof” bourbons. This is not beginner’s stuff. Look for 80- to 90-proof whiskey and start low.

2. Taste the whiskey

Sound obvious? In a world of sugary cocktails and ice, be bold and sip it straight up, or “neat,” if you will. All the effort that went into that shot glass deserves a chance to be appreciated before you change it up with a mixer.

Old Pointer says: Unless it’s paint thinner in a plastic bottle, don’t mix it right off the bat. Take a sip straight up and give your whiskey a chance to scratch your ear.

Old Pointer is Montana Whiskey Co.'s old hunting dog. Give him a scratch at our Montana distillery.

3. Avoid flavors and smoke for now …

Some people love flavored whiskeys, but this is not the place to learn about whiskey.

And smoke? Scotch whisky often includes varieties with a smoky flavor, and you’ll want to keep these out of your “Whiskey 101” beginnings. Historically, Scottish distillers burned peat to heat barley and stop germination during the malting process, and these smoky flavors famously made their way into some styles of Scotch whisky.

Put all these flavors on the back shelf for now and check this link -> smoothest Scotch for beginners, before you buy a bottle of Scotch.

4. Buy affordable whiskey

Heck, you can spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on one bottle of whiskey (seriously!), but look for the best affordable whiskeys you can get your hands on while you’re learning — if you don’t like it, you won’t be out much — and be sure to avoid the cheap stuff in plastic bottles (paint thinner!).

5. Get it into your nose

Take your first sip and hold it in your mouth, let the vapors find your nose, then take your time and wait for the finish. Simply put … slow down and learn to enjoy whiskey.

6. Poker face!

Drink whiskey with friends and make a rule: poker face! Don’t shout out, “Carmel!”, “Apples!” or “Hospital on fire!” right off the bat and influence others. Let everyone have a chance to form their own opinion, then compare your thoughts. It’s interesting how people have very different flavor experiences.

Bonus tip!

Both our bourbon and our whiskey are great beginner whiskeys. They’re smooth, easy drinking, and have a really nice finish. No chaser needed!! And not only that, they’re reasonably priced too.

If you read this, you may be interested in this post too: The Day I Switched to Whiskey.

Drink responsibly, friends.