January, is, for all intents and purposes, a light month. Bookended as it is by the diptych of Christmas and New Year’s and the colourful sprawl of Chinese New Year, the first month of the new year cannot help but feel festive – in the way that makes drinking and making merry especially vital. This applies doubly to those of us – the realists – who aren’t laden with chasing after the (non-)proverbial resolutions we’ve imposed on ourselves.
As always, if drinking is the name of the game, it might as well be done right. We owe it to both drinks/drinking and to ourselves. In the arena of alcohol, Ron Welsh is a bona fide gladiator – but his more corporate designation is Master Blender of Beam Suntory. In his more-than-30-year tenure in alcohol, he has been at the frontline of every aspect of its conception and creation. His love for whisky has literally spanned a lifetime – so his knowledge of it is infinitely rich and intimate.
Since this is the season where there are more toasts to raise than usual, he dropped in to share the five ways he enjoys his whisky.
No added water or ice. Perfect for older whiskies that don’t need water.
On to the rocks
You’d feel it all the more if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere.
As a highball
12-Year-Old Bowmore is ideal for this. Drink with lots of soda water and ice. It’s very refreshing. If done right, the smokiness of the whisky will be brought out. It’s really easy to have more than one.
As a cocktail, particularly a Manhattan
When the smokiness plays against the sweetness of the vermouth, the feeling is exquisite.
The saltiness of the whisky complements the saltiness of oysters greatly. High-cocoa-content dark chocolate also works really well.