This Is What You Should Order at Your Next Holiday Party

Hint: It has to do with scotch.

Don Penny

Hear the word scotch and images of dapper mid-century ad men likely pop into your brain. But the association between this smoky whiskey and masculinity is largely a myth, says Raquel Raies, scotch pro and brand ambassador for The Macallan distillery in Scotland. We asked Raies to give us a primer.

The difference between scotch and other whiskeys?

“Scotch whiskey has to be made in Scotland and aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels. But you won’t find a single-malt scotch younger than 10 years.”

Single malt?

“A single-malt scotch is made from one grain only: malted barley. Each distillery makes its single malt slightly differently. At The Macallan, for example, we’re famous for aging it in sherry casks. As a result, it’s very rich, very viscous, with dried-fruit notes. Blended scotch, like Johnnie Walker, on the other hand, is made from combining several single malts and other grains. It’s much lighter and good for mixing.”

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Is it smoky?

“It depends on where and how it’s made. Distilleries on the island of Islay make single malt from barley dried with peat, which does give it a very smoky flavor. Highland Park also uses peat, but it’s composed of heather, which makes it much lighter and just a little smoky.”

Okay, what should we order?

“Try ordering it neat with water on the side. Start with a few drops, which will open up the oils, releasing more flavor. If neat’s not your thing, traditional whiskey cocktails can be made with scotch. I like to go more unconventional: Start with an ounce of The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old,and add champagne, lemon, and honey.”

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