So, how easy is whiskey to drink? Straight off the bat, I want to clarify that I assume you are new to the wonderful world of whiskey. If not, then I’m afraid this article contains discussions on ways to drink whiskey that might be highly offensive to you, and even though we do not encourage any other ways than with ice, a splash of water, or neat, we have to illustrate the different levels of ease with which whiskey can be consumed.
The level of ease with which you can drink whiskey as a beginner will depend on the way that you drink it. Drinking whiskey in an Irish Coffee or a Whiskey Cocktail is relatively easy, whereas it would be much harder to drink whiskey on the rocks, with a splash of water or neat.
So if you are new to drinking whiskey and want to know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Read on for all the different “levels” of drinking whiskey, and let’s get you started on your journey.
Is it easy to drink whiskey?
As I mentioned at the onset, I will assume that you are new to drinking whiskey and will treat the rest of this article from the point of view.
That being said, we’ve put together this guide to the different “levels” of drinking whiskey based on how easy it would be for a beginner to enjoy a whiskey, even possibly for the first time. And at the end of each level, we will assign a “difficulty score” to each level.
LEVEL 1: Irish Coffee
We start with this cocktail that’s served hot and consists of coffee, sugar, whiskey & cream. Well, usually Irish whiskey, in fact, hence the name.
Depending on the amount of whiskey you put into this cocktail, 1 shot would be the norm; this is fairly easy to drink and can warm you up nicely in the colder months.
The cocktail is prepared by heating coffee, sugar, and the whiskey together and topping it off with cream. This way, the coffee is sipped through the cream, making it sweet and pleasant all around, with the whiskey very easy to digest.
Difficulty Level: 2
LEVEL 2: Whiskey Cocktails
Now we move on to an entire world of wonder in itself, as the possibilities here are endless.
From a Manhattan to an Irish Red Head, to a Coke, Peanut and Whiskey Cocktail, the classic Old Fashioned, the Whiskey Sour, or any one of the multitudes of whiskey cocktails out there, this is once again a fairly easy level of whiskey to enjoy for any beginner.
Now before I get ahead of myself here, not all cocktails are born equal. Cocktails will have their own difficulty levels since there are so many options and vary in strength.
But if you start with a simple Whiskey Sour, it should go down pretty easily. Whiskey Sour basically consists of Whiskey, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, sugar, and sometimes an egg white to add more froth to it.
Difficulty Level: 3
LEVEL 3: Whiskey & Soda
Although sodas are generally sweet, they don’t mask the taste of alcohol as much as some of the sweet and soury mixers added to most cocktails. Therefore, whiskey & soda is a step up from whiskey cocktails.
Now, you can choose from a wide variety of sodas, but ultimately it comes down to your preference. I don’t think there’s any one soda that makes whiskey easier to drink than any other, and in this case, all sodas might be born equal.
So have it with Coca Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, Seven Up, Fanta, Route Beer, Dr. Pepper, or any other soda that you enjoy the taste of. If you stick to about 1 shot of whiskey, you should be good. Feeling brave and going for 2 shots would shoot up the difficulty level quite a bit.
Difficulty Level: 5
LEVEL 4: On The Rocks
Drinking whiskey “on the rocks” refers to drinking whiskey with only a few ice cubes in it, hence the reference to rocks.
A block of ice can actually help bring out different flavors in some whiskeys, but it is generally not advised to drink whiskey cold. But we won’t get into that now, because we have a whole article on that which you can read here.
Now, this is a level that’s quite a way above whiskey and soda and definitely requires more grit. I personally enjoyed my whiskey like this for many years as I was making my way up the ranks, and the one thing I can say is that it does get easier over time to drink whiskey in this way.
But for a beginner, this is where the difficulty level starts getting serious.
Difficulty Level: 8
LEVEL 5: Whiskey & Water
Like whiskey on the rocks, whiskey & water is part of the 3 acceptable ways within the whiskey-drinking community to drink whiskey.
The correct term is actually “with a splash of water,” and for that reason, it landed here at level 5. A splash of water doesn’t do much in masking the strong whiskey taste, which can be overwhelming for a beginner if you haven’t acquired the taste for it yet.
Difficulty Level: 8
LEVEL 6: Cowboy Style (Neat)
Now we get to the moment of truth. This is the way I like to enjoy my whiskey, and in my opinion, the only damn way it should be enjoyed! Case closed.
On a serious note, drinking whiskey neat and at room temperature of 60 to 65 Fahrenheit (15 to 18 Celsius), is considered the ideal way to enjoy it. I prefer to call it the “Cowboy Style” instead of “neat” as it lends more grit to it.
But this level is not for the faint-hearted and certainly not for any beginner to dive into.
Difficulty Level: 10
LEVEL 7: Like a Bat Outa Hell
Just as you’ve thought that you might be in the clear, I’ve decided to add another level to the list.
This is a level up for even the most experienced whiskey drinkers and only really something you see in the movies.
Straight out of the bottle.
Difficulty Level: BEAST MODE
Smoothest Whiskeys for Beginners
The type of whiskey you drink can also make a big difference in how easy it would be to drink as a beginner and in this case, I’d suggest going for something smooth.
Here’s a list of great whiskeys that I would recommend to start out with:
- Jameson Caskmates.
- Wild Turkey 101.
- Dillon’s Rye.
- Ballantine’s 17-years-old.
- Auchentoshan 12-years-old.
101 Whiskeys to Try Before You Die
And then, before I leave you to go and explore this wonderful world of whiskey, I highly recommend that you check out this book by Ian Buxton.
This is not a snobbish look at some of the world’s finest whiskeys that cover everything from the insanely expensive to the ridiculously weird, it’s an “every man’s guide” to whiskeys that are worth trying before you die, and that could mostly get your hands on actually.
So do yourself a favor and check it out.
Check it out on Amazon.
So is whiskey easy to drink?
I hope I’ve answered some, if not all, of the questions you might have had before reading this article. As I mentioned, how easy whiskey is to drink depends on how you drink it and how strong to make it.
Overall, whiskey is an acquired taste, meaning you have to acquire it, and that can take time. But be patient, because it’ll all be worth it in the end.