Birthdays are celebrated in my group of friends. We love a good excuse to get together to enjoy each others’ company, good food, and great drinks. My friend’s Brandon’s birthday was no exception to this very fine rule we all live by. His wife had the idea to throw together a whiskey tasting party and build our own steak salad bar. The food was epic… as always. The drinks… well, lets just say, we enjoyed some mighty fine whiskeys!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. As with all my posts the opinions are my own. This post is intended for readers of legal drinking age.
How to Throw a Whiskey Tasting Party
There are a couple of different routes you could go to throw a whiskey tasting party:
- Purchase all the whiskeys yourself and get a good variety of styles and brands. PRO: This way you know you will get to taste different things and you can even try different styles. CON: It can get expensive FAST.
- Give each guest a style of whiskey and let them bring a bottle. PRO: You will get to taste different styles of whiskey. CON: Guests may worry about costs of the certain style of whiskey given or may not know a good brand to bring.
- Ask guests to bring their favorite whiskey. PRO: You know you will get whiskeys your guests enjoy. CON: You may not get a good selection of styles of whiskey.
Our lovely host asked us each to bring our favorite kind of whiskey. (Note: She offered for us to just show up and enjoy the evening if whiskey wasn’t in the budget. She is cool like that.) Those who knew what they were going to bring shared the name of the whiskey in a Facebook Event so that we wouldn’t double up bottles. We ended up having all bourbon styles of whiskey except for one Irish Whiskey… but, all of them were tasty and everyone found at least one whiskey that they loved.
Choosing Your Whiskey:
I have a few every day drinking whiskeys that are affordable and drinkable. However, I really wanted to try something new and a little pricier than my normal fare. I simply went to my local liquor store and asked for a good, smooth, and local bourbon-style (my favorite) whiskey in the price range of $30-$40. I love my local liquor store because they hire some really knowledgable and friendly staff. The lady I spoke with suggested the Whipper Snapper Oregon Spirit Whiskey from Ransom Spirits.
Funny story… when I was telling the liquor store clerk about this party she said, “Man! This must be the time of the year for Whiskey Tastings. I had a lady come in the other day looking for a bottle for a whiskey tasting and steak salad night!” Just so happen that the party I was attending was becoming famous at the liquor store. You know it is going to be a good party then!
Tips for hosting a whiskey party:
Tasting a multitude of whiskeys can get dangerous if you are not practicing responsible drinking practices. Help guests stay safe by offering the following items:
- Start the tastings earlier in the day with plans for a full meal and plenty of time to sober up.
- A bucket to pour out tasters that guests don’t desire to finish. (I know… it sounds painful to waste whiskey, but if they don’t like it then it is better to pour out then drink too much.)
- Snacks and a meal— It is important to not drink on an empty stomach.
- A measuring device. Really for a tasting of liquor you need no more than 1/2 oz to try. Small tasting cups (affiliate link) work really well for finding the type of whiskey you like before pouring a glass.
- Provide pens and note pads (or the free tasting note printables below) for guests to write down their thoughts as they taste. This slows down the process and really gets them TASTING rather than just drinking.
- Do not let people drive home! Use a ride share or designated driver.
Whiskey Tasting Party Favor Idea:
Our host had the BEST idea for what to do after the whiskey tasting was over to let guests go home with something fun… we played white elephant with the whiskey bottles! Each guest went home with a whiskey bottle that was slightly tasted, but still really full.
My choice for whiskeys:
After the tasting I really was able to find out which whiskeys I liked. Here were my favorites:
- Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was hands down the best bottle… but, it was also the most expensive bottle. It ran in the $50 range while the rest of the bottles ran around the $30 range. I would buy this whiskey for drinking straight or on the rocks.
- Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was sweet and smooth. This one is perfect for a really tasty manhattan cocktail.
- Quiet Man Irish Whiskey was the first Irish Whiskey that I have ever enjoyed. Irish Whiskey has a different flavor profile from Bourbon style whiskeys and I typically prefer Bourbons. However, I could drink this one all day long. This was great on the rocks.
- Whipper Snapper (linked above) was a good every day drinking whiskey. I could drink it on the rocks or in a cocktail. It wasn’t as smooth or flavorful as the more expensive whiskey, but it was fantastic for its price point.
Want to have a whiskey tasting of your own? Use these FREE printables!
Directions: Click on the link of the printables you want. It will open a file. Right click the image and save the file to your computer. Print using the directions listed on the free printable file.