The Essentials of Whiskey Tasting: Hosting a Whiskey Tasting Party

August 23rd, 202310 min read
One of the greatest American writers of all time, Mark Twain, once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Given that he was an author, we’re guessing his glass held more than two fingers worth.

Whether you’re a whiskey enthusiast like Mr. Twain or just getting started on your whiskey journey, a tasting party with friends is a great way to experience a variety of whiskeys in a fun and casual environment.
How to Host a Whiskey Tasting

An at home whiskey tasting party can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. The most important step? Don’t forget the whiskey! But beyond that, here are our favorite tips on how to host a whiskey tasting that Frank Sinatra would be proud of.
Selecting Whiskeys for Tasting

Don’t forget the whiskey may seem tongue in cheek, but seriously, this is an important element of your whiskey extravaganza. If you’ve ever glanced at the whiskey selection at your local emporium, you know there is no shortage of whiskeys to sample. To narrow down your choices, consider a theme for your whiskey tasting party.

Raise a wee dram of the finest Scottish whiskeys (kilts optional) or toast the Emerald Isle with a curated selection of Irish whiskey. Don’t forget the hardworking men and women of Kentucky where bourbon is king.

For an optimal whiskey tasting experience, consider limiting the number of whiskeys to between four and six. This allows tasters to savor and experience each whiskey without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
Tasting Setup and Tools

Whiskey? Check. But folks, we’re not drinking college-style, straight from the bottle. We need glassware (no red Solo Cups allowed). There are a variety of different styles of whiskey glasses, but the tumbler is a solid choice for an at home whiskey tasting party. However, don’t be afraid to take it up a notch with a specialized whiskey vessel, whether that’s a snifter or the much fancier, Glencairn glass.

You’ll want to be sure to have water on hand for guests to cleanse their palates before trying a new whiskey. You’ll also need a water dropper which will help dilute the whiskey for those guests who prefer it.

A nice touch would be to buy small notebooks for your guests so that they can record their observations about each whiskey.
During the Tasting Tips

As host of this most excellent whiskey tasting party, it falls on you dear reader to stand up and introduce each whiskey the participants will be tasting this evening. Talk about its origin and notable characteristics, such as aroma, appearance, taste, and finish.

This is a sociable occasion, so encourage your guests to compare notes and discuss them individually. Be sure to begin your whiskey tasting with the lighter ones and progress to the darker, smokier whiskies, as this will allow your guests to enjoy the gradual flavor development.
Your pours should be about 1/2 ounce or, in parlance, a finger of whiskey.
Snack & Food Pairings

OK, you didn’t think we were getting through this without talking about snacks, did you? There’s probably at least one guest who came strictly for the snacks (no need to point them out). Cheese, charcuterie, and crackers are excellent choices. Try to avoid spicy foods that may conflict with the taste of the whiskeys. For those with a sweet tooth, fruit-based desserts are a good option, as well as dark chocolate.
Fun Activities

Not your first at home whiskey tasting party? For you experienced whiskey lovers, spice your party up with a game or activity. You’re only limited by your imagination, but a blind tasting, a la Coke v. Pepsi, is a fun way to challenge experienced whiskey drinkers. Or you can grab your favorite cocktail ingredients and see which one of your friends can create the best whiskey-based cocktail of the bunch.

Man Crates is here to help with whiskey gifts for every type of whiskey drinker in your life. The perfect drinking gifts, our crates help create a more personalized experience for him and his buddies. Just don’t forget to add in that snack crate box. He’ll thank you later. 
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