Order it Neat
If you want to taste the full spectrum of flavours of a whisky as is, ordering it neat will provide you with a drink that has no ice or mixers. The purpose is to slip it slowly for drinkers craving to make the most of the distilled spirit’s unadulterated taste without the risk of diluting its intense flavour and aroma. Top shelf-brands for whisky and brandy are popular liquors that are best served at room temperature and in an old-fashioned glass.
Take it Straight
Straight is often confused with neat as both have a similar method of pouring a pure shot of liquor straight to the glass without ice or mixers. Most use this term for ordering a straight drink of darker spirits such as bourbon, while others describe it as a white spirit chilled and served in a cocktail glass. In essence, straight refers to any liquor like tequila, vodka, rum, or whisky served without any added dilutions.
Drink it Straight Up
This is for tipplers who want their whisky stirred or shaken with ice, then strained into a stemmed cocktail glass. Many interchanges it with the term straight; however, the main difference is the process of chilling the drink and filtering out unwanted solids for a cleaner experience. This is best for those who want to enjoy whisky cold without the risk of thinning the flavours.
On the Rocks
A perfect introductory experience for whisky enthusiasts, this style means that your liquor is poured over ice. It helps reduce the strong taste of the whisky and make it easier to run smoothly down the throat, though certain varieties such as blended scotches, gin, or high-proof bourbon benefit from the dilution as it opens up its flavours and aroma. Drinks are typically served in a straight-walled, flat-bottomed glass.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the happy hour, it all boils down to having fun. This guide is here to help kick-off your whisky drinking adventures, but there’s no harm in playing it safe by ordering something you already know. If you’re into a particular drink, the bartender can mix up something similar but shake it up with his twist. To that end, this guide prevents you from being tongue-tied as we’re here to help you know what you need to elevate your whisky like a pro and ensure your choice is right up your alley.