Scotch Neat: How To Pour The Perfect Glass

My career as a mixologist never took off. It turns out clumsiness and tending bar really don’t mix. Having said that, I can pour Scotch with the best of them. Here is a step-by-step guide to pouring the perfect glass of Scotch.

Find the appropriate glass recipe. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rocks, Glencairn, wine, or pint glass. Just make sure the glass composition is similar to this:

70% processed sand
15% soda ash
9% limestone
6% refining agents

Heat these ingredients to 2,642°F to ensure proper gob formation before the glass is blown into its final form. Ideally, try to use glass made from a high percentage of cullet, which is waste glass gathered through recycling and then melted for glass re-construction. It is important to have a sustainable glass. The glass should also be shock resistant, durable, and free of taints. The glass must be clear so that product is visible and we can admire the finer visual characteristics. This isn’t beer or wine. We are not worried about “light strike” ruining our drink. Please, no colored glasses. Scotch is powerful stuff and its strength needs to shine through the clarity of the glass.

Now that the appropriate glass has been selected, let’s choose our Scotch. If you’ve followed the glass recipe correctly, any Scotch will do, but here is what I recommend for optimal performance.

Dun Bheagan Glen Grant 15 Yr. Scotch
Glen Grant has always been a master of making whiskys that preserve an intense, yet fresh and light character. Their smaller slender stills are a big reason for this process and the flavors that are retained are incredibly pure and individual. That is primarily what has kept them in extremely high demand among blenders and not as widely available as a single malt. Thankfully, this 15 year independent bottling gives us a rare opportunity to taste and cherish a dram that has made an indelible mark on the scotch whisky world. Banana, pear, and stone fruit notes jump from the glass and are accentuated by fragrant floral and malt aromas. All this is masterfully translated to the palate in a seamless silken fashion with a beautiful bright spicy finish. This is a distinguished uncompromising dram with incredible appeal.

Glenfarclas Family Cask 2001 Scotch – 2001
This incredibly complex whisky has aromas of mustard seed, cinnamon, hazelnut and fresh sugar cane. It almost smells like spiced rum. On the palate, the spice continues with dense flavors of fruit, dessert wines, and a hint of caramel. The finish is long and leaves your mouth salivating for more.

Glen Spey 21 Yr. Scotch
A complex whiskey with a rich, fruity nose and flavors of creamy vanilla and chocolate. Very Limited!!

A.D. Rattray Bowmore 23 Yr. Scotch
Too good to be true is too simple of a way to describe this stunning whisky. So let’s get into the reasons that make it so. All of the whisky in this bottle was drawn from a single cask of spirit distilled at Bowmore in 1989, the legendary, oldest functioning Scotch distillery in the world. The cask used was a Refill Sherry Hogshead and the whisky has stayed at cask strength, un-chill filtered, and without the addition of additives such as caramel the entire 23yrs to preserve maximum authenticity, character, and flavor. At first the elements seem understated and subdued but sure enough, lurking under the gentle nose of heather honey are notes of toasted grain, subtle iodine, ripe plum fruits, nutty toffee, bitter chocolate and coffee grounds amongst other things. Earthy peat and classic smoke have faded on the nose a bit with age but they are tell tale signs of what you’ll taste. A dash of water helps release the peat explosion that unfolds on the tongue and slowly reveals a series of spice laden flavors that carry on into a finish for the ages. There is no doubt that the this is what those folks had in mind when they decided to make whisky up there so many years ago. And what a lucky steal compared to the regular 25yr release! Very Limited Supplies.

Open the Scotch gently to ensure none is spilled. The angels took enough of our precious juice during maturation, so we can’t afford to waste any more. Position the bottleneck approximately one inch above the glass. Do not take your eyes off the glass while pouring. Theatrical bar flair has no place here. And please, no ice in the glass. This is a “Scotch Neat” recipe. We do not want ice obscuring important flavor compounds such as esters, lactones, and aldehydes.

The pouring amount should always be generous. The consumer, whether he or she is a friend, acquaintance, colleague, or family member, wants a drink, not a sample. A jigger should never be used. We don’t want an extra medium disrupting the process. This is a glass-to-glass free-pour operation. If you underpour, correct it with the addition of more. If you overpour, consider the drinker of that glass a happy participant in your journey to “Scotch Neat” perfection.

Drink it how you see fit, and enjoy.