The Ultimate Guide To Hosting A Whiskey Tasting Party (& Free Printable Tasting Note Cards)
Is there a better combination than fall and whiskey? I mean really! I’d venture to say maybe peanut butter and jelly, but even that’s a stretch. Whiskey has become quite the popular gal on the block, both on the internet and in real life. A new distillery just opened down the street from my apartment, and more and more whiskey lovers are popping up left and right.
My dear blogger friend Sara of Cake Over Steak have been dreaming of hosting a whiskey party of our own for over a year now. You may remember that I even listed this on my fall bucket list! So when our baller friends Dave and Kelley offered to help cook and coordinate this festivity on their property, we jumped (…and leaped, bounded and then happy danced) at the opportunity. What followed was the start to a new fall welcoming tradition I hope to continue for years and years and years to come.
Today I’ll be sharing lots of tips and resources for coordinating your own whiskey festivities and Sara will be sharing two whiskey inspired recipes she’s concocted on her blog. Forewarning: Sara’s a mastermind in the kitchen (and in the bar) so you have to hop over to her blog ASAP. So here we go whiskey lovers; your ultimate guide to hosting a whiskey party. And don’t forget to download your free printable whiskey tasting note cards!
Take Some Time To Consider What Whiskeys To Serve
Variety is the spice of life and serving a selection of different whiskeys is one guaranteed to appease your biggest whiskey snobs. Whiskey is a multifaceted drink that has a long history. Do a little research and you’ll find that bourbons, regularly distilled whiskey, Tennessee whiskeys, rye whiskeys and even scotches all offer varying flavor profiles to make your whiskey tasting party super interesting and fun.
We went this route and found that our party goers definitely stuck their favorite type of whiskey, but that by trying a little bit of everything they learned specifically what they liked about them. In opposition, you could serve only one type of whiskey with a variety of brands and ages. This might be something we will do in the future!
Offer A Signature Whiskey Cocktail
Let’s face it, there are going to be guests that love themselves a good whiskey cocktail. I know I do! Offering a signature whiskey cocktail is not only a nice treat for your guests, but it appeases the lesser whiskey fanatics in the crowd too. Don’t know what whiskey cocktail to serve? Sara’s got you covered with her refreshing Sparkling Whiskey Cocktail With Honey & Mint recipe.
Exchange Ideas and Thoughts On Tasting Note Cards
As you sip, be sure to write down the smells and notes you pick up onto your tasting note cards… then swap! You’ll love reading how your friends chose to describe the tastes and aromas they sensed compared to your own. You might find that you have a super sensitive palate.
The free printable tasting note cards included in today’s post allow you to write up the type, age, aroma, taste, finish and final score of each whiskey. Sara and I sat right next to each other and I loved reading what notes she picked up in contrast with the ones I did. We might’ve disagreed on some of our scores (because I realllllly love scotches) but it was fun nonetheless!
Get Crazy With Whiskey Inspired Food
This is where I bow my head to Sara and Kelly, who masterminded the crap out of the most delicious whiskey infused recipes! Follow their lead and make a Pinterest page of whiskey inspired dishes to serve your guests. They’ll love the thought you put behind the meal. Sara’s also sharing her… wait for it… Bourbon Cookie Dough Shots on her blog. You read that right. Bourbon Cookie Dough Shots. I can’t stop thinking about them (and Dave’s smoked bourbon bbq ribs)!
Keep It Simple
Don’t serve a zillion and half whiskeys. One, that’s just expensive. And two, keeping a smaller menu of whiskeys really allows your guest to appreciate and focus on the whiskeys they’ll be drinking. We kept our party to five… and I think it was the perfect amount!
Order Is Everything
In order to keep your palate fresh, be sure to order your strongest or smokiest flavors towards the end of the tasting.
Glassware The Easy Way
Shot glass sized servings filled about half way is definitely the easiest way to go. Especially if you’re not interested in doing dishes for hours after the whiskey tasting is over! Of course, if you’re inviting true whiskey connoisseurs, I would recommend going with classic tulip glasses like these.
Have Your Whiskey Know-It-All On Hand (Or Use A Whiskey Guidebook)
Choose someone to serve as your tasting guide, announcing the history and origins of the whiskeys before you start to smell and taste. Having a little bit of background makes you appreciate the drink more and gives you time to fill out your whiskey tasting note cards. Don’t have a whiskey know it all? No problem. Use a whiskey guidebook and you’ll learn a thing or two!
Have Water Ready
There’s much controversy on whether a true tasting should allow participants to dilute the whiskeys with water in order to taste the profile more. I’ll let you decide how you want to operate your shindig. Regardless, having water on hand to keep your guest hydrated and happy is the way to go!
Organize The Tasting Earlier Than Your Meal
Make sure to have your heaviest drinking time towards the beginning of the party followed by a deliciously filling meal. We timed our whiskey tasting portion of the party to be about midway through the festivities, after appetizers but before our big meal. It worked out swell! All of us were able to stuff ourselves and get home safely. Of course, this is the portion where I disclaim to drink safely and always use a designated driver.
Have Other Drinks On Hand For Your Non-Whiskey Loving Friends
Let’s face it, not everyone loves whiskey… and that’s okay. Offer a bottle of wine or ask guests to bring their own bottle of their drink of choice if they know they’re not going to partake in the tasting.
Hosting a whiskey tasting party is a great way to gather your friends for a day of appreciation of one of the best drinks around. I loved ringing in the fall with good friends and good food. A big thanks to Sara, Kelley and Dave for coordinating the shindig in our neighborhood. This might be my new favorite fall tradition!
Are you interested in hosting a whiskey tasting party of your own this fall?