How to drink whiskey: 5 popular ways to serve it

Confused about how to drink whiskey, or just want to try something different? We’ll show you five popular ways to serve Ireland’s “water of life.”

Don’t worry; we aren’t going to think less of you just because you take your whiskey with ice, or mixed with fruit juice. Whiskey can be hard to stomach, especially for beginners. With so many different brands, varieties, and strong opinions out there, it can sometimes be difficult to know how exactly you should take your whiskey. 

So, how should you take it? Here we will show you five popular ways to drink whiskey like a pro.  

5. With ice cubes – to give it a refreshing edge

One popular way to drink whiskey is with ice cubes, to make the drink more palatable.

We know, we know—whiskey with ice typically goes against the traditionalist’s way of drinking the beverage (some may even go as far as calling it sacrilege), but whiskey is there for the enjoyment of the drinker. If adding a couple of ice cubes makes the drink more palatable for you, then who are we to say you shouldn’t? 

Also, you’ll be in good company with this drinking method. One defender of drinking whiskey with ice is the late chef/travel-show host Anthony Bourdain. 

Discussing how he drinks whiskey on the podcast Drinky Fun Time, he said: “I’m sure many people don’t like it when I say it, but unless it’s something really [high end], I’ll put a rock or two in it.”

If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us. Clink! 

4. With lemonade – to add a touch more flavour

Adding lemonade to your glass is another great way to drink whiskey.

If you’re trying whiskey for the first time and you’re worried the strong taste might leave you spluttering and coughing—and therefore looking like you don’t know what you’re doing—we recommend mixing it with some sweet lemonade.

The zesty citrus blends perfectly with the smoky, earthy tones typical of Irish whiskey, meaning it will go down easy. 

Even if you’re a seasoned whiskey drinker, we still recommend you give this a try. When the warmer weather starts to roll in come June, it turns into a heavenly refreshing summer drink. 

You can add to this mixture too, perhaps throwing in some blackberries or strawberries to make it even more flavoursome. 

3. In a cocktail – make your drink more versatile

Whiskey is frequently used in cocktails, mixing it with other drinks is a great way to drink whiskey.

What’s great about this way of serving whiskey is that you can get creative with it, adding in your preferred flavours. Are you more inclined towards tangy tasting drinks, or are you someone with a sweet tooth? We’re certain you’ll find a recipe to suit your taste. 

The range of cocktails using whiskey as a base is constantly expanding, showing just how versatile the Irish’s “water of life” drink is. It means, thankfully, you have a range of choices when making your cocktail. 

Here are a few examples of whiskey cocktails to get you started: cranberry whiskey sour, cinnamon maple whiskey (perfect for Christmas), and whiskey cobbler. You can thank us later. 

2. In coffee – for a delicious wake-up

Irish coffee is known worldwide as one of the best ways to drink whiskey.

Irish coffee, or, if you’d prefer, the “breakfast of champions”, is the next ‘how to drink whiskey’ method on our list. What’s not to like about a whiskey-spiked coffee first thing in the morning? 

Alright, alright—we don’t recommend drinking this as soon as you get out of bed, but it does make a nice end of the day pick-me-up. You’ve likely seen this on a dessert menu while at a restaurant, but maybe you’ve never felt confident enough to order it; maybe you weren’t sure if you’d like the taste. We’re here to assure you it’s one of the most delicious ways to serve whiskey. 

Sweetened with syrup and topped with whipped cream, Irish coffee makes the perfect post-dinner beverage. 

1. Neat – for that traditional taste

For those traditionalists out there you can't beat neat to taste all those flavours in the body of whiskey.

Drinking whiskey straight is not for everyone. However, we feel that you should give it a try at least once if only to see whether or not it’s something you like. 

Its powerful flavour and complex aromas make it one of the most popular alcoholic drinks worldwide. As an added benefit, drinking whiskey neat in moderation is said to have positive effects on your circulatory system, lower your chance of a clot-caused stroke, and is a huge stress reliever—we probably could’ve guessed that last one.

If drinking whiskey neat doesn’t sound to your taste, don’t worry. You have plenty more options to choose from, including those listed above. 

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to try Ireland’s famous “water of life”. It’s always important to remember there’s no right or wrong way when it comes to how to drink whiskey—what matters most is that you enjoy it. 

Now, is anyone thirsty?