How To Throw An Epic Pool Party With These 9 Things
May 5, 2016
How to Age Scotch Right In Your Home
March 30, 2016
Drinking sometimes makes your brain loopy, but even at your loopiest, you probably never thought you could snap your fingers and turn that 8 year single malt scotch into the finest 18 year scotch your palette has ever experienced… That would be just crazy!
The part about snapping your fingers is crazy, but you really can age your own scotch right in your own home — and at a pretty fast rate, too. All you need is the proper equipment and some imagination.
First, lets go over what Scotch exactly is, how people drink it, and then dive into how to age it.
WHAT IS SCOTCH?
Scotch is a type of whisky (yes, spelled without the e — this debate on ‘whisky’ versus ‘whiskey’ will be a later blog post) that was distilled and matured in Scotland. Many people find Scotch tastes like earth, fire or wood, which may sound disturbing, but it really does have a good flavor and finish once you’re used to the taste. Scotch is a little bit rougher to drink than bourbon, so newbies to drinking whiskey should not begin their quest with Scotch.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SINGLE MALTS AND BLENDS?
A single malt is usually considered the crown jewel of Scotch, although we’ve met a few blends we like in our day, too. Single malt Scotch is just water and barley. Simple but damn good. A blended malt Scotch is made using two or more whiskies distilled at different distilleries. Don’t be a Scotch snob — some blends are just as good if not better than the single malts out there, and they’re cheaper!
HOW DO PEOPLE DRINK SCOTCH?
The short answer is first with their eyes, then with their nose, and finally with their mouth. Pouring Scotch in the right lighting is eye-catching and mesmerizing. The color of the Scotch really varies on the brand you buy, but they’re all nice to look at, especially in etched glass. Most times, people will give Scotch a good swirl and then inhale deeply a few times. This process takes about a minute, but will allow you to get a feel for what smells it has. Some Scotches seem salty, smoky or sweet on the nose. The art of sipping scotch is to do so in tiny sips, just enough that it wets your palette, but not enough to send you spluttering because of the alcohol taste. It will take a few sips to get drive the alcohol flavor out, but then you’ll finally start getting hints of smoke, wood, fire, chocolate, fruit, and honey. There are definitely other flavors you can experience, too, depending on the brand you buy.
HOW DO I AGE MY OWN?
If you’re already a fan of Scotch, you can experiment with wood-aging your own at your house. Red Head Oak Barrels is a great place to purchase a barrel for aging that’s small enough to go right in your kitchen or at your home bar (the photo above is one of their barrels). The great thing is with Red Head Oak’s Barrels, the aging process is expedited. In one of their one liter barrels, almost two months is equal to one year in a standard 53 gallon oak barrel. That means to age your Scotch five years, it will only take a little under 10 months!
If you’re not looking to buy a barrel, you can try a simpler
method to add flavor that takes a little bit more work. Take a small branch, such as cherry, oak, or birch and make sure it will fit in the Scotch bottle. Heat the branch up with a blow torch and stop before it starts to char. Tie a string to the branch and dip the branch in the whiskey a few times, tasting after every submersion to ensure you aren’t over-flavoring the alcohol. This won’t really age the whiskey so much as it changes the flavor.
If you’re feeling extra experimental, you can throw in fruit or honey to give the Scotch a different flavor entirely. Let us know how you make out if you try DIY aging your own Scotch!