Posted by Daniel Szczeniak on August 13, 2015
Looking to class up your home mini bar with the gentlemanly style of neat whiskey? Here are nine steps to get you started.
There are countless varieties of whiskey, so breaking into the whiskey scene may seem like a daunting task. But to hit par as a classy gent (or lady), it's important to be familiar with the classic whiskey varieties and know which you prefer.
A helpful resource for starting your journey into classy whiskey is whiskyfacts.com, where you can read up on the basic makes (malt or grain), combinations (single malt, blended malt, blended whiskey), and regional types (Scotch, Irish, English, etc).
After your basic web searches, get ahold of some fun and interesting books and magazines, which will not only aid you in expanding your whiskey knowledge, but will also look good on your home whiskey bar's shelves and tables.
After reading up on the matter, you just need to get out there and play the field. Try the various regional types, get a taste for which varieties you enjoy, and then narrow down to find a brand (or several) that hits your sweet spots for taste and budget. Any whiskey enthusaist would love to have a collection of high-end, thousand-dollar bottles, but for everyday use you need to figure out what your local liquor store carries that you can reasonably keep stocked.
Keep unopened bottles of whiskey away from light, in a temperature-controlled environment. Practically speaking, this means keeping each sealed bottle in a cupboard in an air-conditioned home.
For opened bottles, you'll still want to keep your whiskey stored away from light and temperature fluctiations. The original bottle will usually work fine, but a good quality decanter with stopper will help (and class up your whiskey bar - that's the point of this article anyways!).
You can read more about storing whiskey here.
For optimal flavor and effect, whiskey should be served, straight, at room temperature in a glass tumbler. At room temperature your taste buds will be able to receive the maximum flavor signals, allowing you to taste the whiskey the way it was meant to tasted.
You should serve whiskey in a glass; other materials such as metal or plastic will interact with the whiskey and alter its flavor. Initially, don't mix the whiskey with anything else - ice will cool and dilute the drink, and any mixer will indroduce foreign flavors, which the true whiskey connoisseur will never condone.
You know the look. Leather, dark corners, dim lighting, easy jazz. Leather couches and easy chairs, mahogany book cases, shaded table lamps, cigar boxes, and coasters etched with your home whiskey bar's logo.
Eventually you'll want to try to make your own whiskey. It's a fun hobby, and easy to do. You can get that wonderful oak barrel aged flavor, and have a nifty addition to your whiskey bar decor, by getting one of these Whiskey Barrel Connoisseur Kits, which includes everything you need for DIY whiskey (except for the base alcohol).
While diehard whiskey enthusiasts will always maintain that you must drink whiskey neat (see above), you'll want to use your home whiskey bar to socialize, so it's a matter of friendly hospitality to offer a few options for friends with different tastes. So keep an ice bucket and tong set stocked when hosting, or perhaps splurge for the Ice Baller, which produces ice cubes in your home freezer specifically designed for whiskey or other drinks so that dilution is minimized.
You could also try some whiskey stones, which are kept ice-cold in the freezer and dropped into your whiskey glass. This cools down your drink without the annoyance of melting ice.
There are all sorts of fun and classy ways to incorporate whiskey barrels into your home bar decor. Try a whiskey barrel coffee table like the one pictured above, or an oak barrel table & chair set. Keep tabs on your current selection of whiskies with a home bar barrel head chalkboard, or customize your own oak aging barrel as a useful and attractive decor piece. Barrel heads can be used as serving trays, lazy susans, and hanging wall plaques. Which leads us to our final step...
Advertise your love of whiskey with something that expresses your personality and incorporates your style. From the old-fashioned Bourbon Whiskey Personalized Vintage Plank to a deeply stained oak barrel head sign, contemporary whiskey art prints to replicas of famous paintings, there are many ways to class up your whiskey bar at home.