How To Drink Scotch Whisky Single Malt: Straight, Rocks, or Mix

Straight up, let’s get one thing clear: There are no pre-set rules for consuming Scotch whisky. And there is no straight answer to this question. I would say that this topic is very subjective; it entirely depends on your taste and how you like your Scotch Whisky Single Malt.

The global whiskey market will reach around USD 95.9 Billion by 2026, and Scotch whiskey is the highest share in the whiskey market. Interesting, isn’t it?

However, no data will show how people drink their Whisky, but one thing is for sure everyone consumes it differently. The type of whiskey and what base you prefer is a unique and personal choice.

If you are a beginner, don’t feel disheartened if you did not get a straight answer to your question. We will help you find your exact mix. We will also help you understand what different mixes do to single malt scotch whisky and how they change the flavours.

Finally, we will also help you know the mistakes you can avoid while having your favourite single malt. So let’s get started!

How To Drink Scotch Whisky Single Malt?

Scotch Whiskey Single Malt With Water

Adding water opens up the whiskey’s flavour as water extracts the flavour that came from the wood barrel. It also reduces the alcohol content of the drink. The amount of water is the consumer’s choice, and there are no fixed criteria to decide.

If you are aware of the alcohol content you want to enjoy, you can add water slowly till you get the right dilution point. For example, Bourbon is very hard, so you might want to add one part of water to Bourbon. You will not feel a significant dilution in the drink because that’s how strong the drink is.

Another common question is about the Ardbeg ten-year-old single malt scotch whiskey: how to drink it? The Ardbeg ten-year-old is a peat-heavy, aromatic, full-bodied single malt. Because of its pungent flavour, it is a good idea to add a few drops of water ever so slowly to the drink and then sip it. The water will dilute the burn and peat content and add to the drink’s flavour and aroma.

Scotch Whiskey Single Malt With Ice (On The Rocks)

Adding ice to your drink will give you a chilled whiskey, which you can enjoy during summer days. We suggest you always put a large cube of ice instead of crushed ice. Small pieces of ice will dilute the drink more quickly, and you will not enjoy its flavours.

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Adding ice to your single malt scotch whisky is a debatable topic. Some say using ice dilutes the whiskey’s original flavour, and you will not enjoy the whiskey as much. These people will say that Whisky at room temperature will give you its most pungent taste as compared to drinking a chilled glass, whose coldness and water might numb your tongue to the real flavour.

Others argue that chilled whiskey gives better flavour and aroma. Whatever you choose, make sure that if you add ice, the water source should be pure, and the ice cubes should be as large as possible.

Scotch Whiskey Single Malt Served Neat

Whiskey neat means it is served without any mixer, dilution, or additional flavour. Two ounces of whiskey is the correct size to serve at room temperature. Neat whiskey is supposed to be had slowly while appreciating all the flavours it possesses.

The drinking vessel should also be perfect for whiskey. Few options in this category are Solo cups, rock glass, whisky snifter, etc. One might wonder the logic behind having a “perfect” whisky glass?

For example, let’s take a whiskey snifter. It has a large bottom, and the glass gets thinner as you move up. The thin nose traps the whiskey’s aroma and collects those aromas in one place, while the large bottom allows the Whisky to air a bit, which enhances both flavour and aroma.

Scotch Whiskey Single Malt as a Cocktail

There are many different combinations available to experiment with the whiskey. Whiskey goes with soda, water, orange, or chocolates. It gives a tanginess to the drink and many other flavours. We have suggested a few recipes to try with scotch whiskeys.

Few Cocktail Recipes With Scotch Whiskey Single Malt

  • Manhattan cocktail: It combines rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. One can add Bourbon or Canadian whiskey or any other style. It depends on the consumer how much alcohol content he wants; accordingly, he can choose the cocktail base.
  • Old fashioned cocktail: It is the simplest cocktail. It includes bitters, sugar, some orange slices, and the base whiskey. Few people also add soda to it to experiment. This drink has a tanginess of orange and sugar.
  • Whiskey sour: It uses tart lemon, whiskey, and egg white. It is a surprising element how tart lemon flavours mix with the sweet taste of the whiskey. Egg white is an optional element and depends on the consumer choice; you can add it if you like.
  • Irish coffee: It is the best way to drink coffee during a winter night. It has coffee, Irish whiskey, brown sugar, and topped with whipped cream. The drink looks stylish and tastes fantastic.
  • Algonquin cocktail: It combines pineapple and whiskey and brings out the flavor of both the ingredients. It is a tropical drink that also has dry vermouth. You should enjoy it during summertime.
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Factors To Consider While Drinking Single Malt

  • Temperature: Single Scotch malt is a drink that tastes better at room temperature. Single malt flavours come out nicely at this temperature. Keeping a single malt, or any scotch for that matter, in the refrigerator is not a good idea. Chilled scotch tightens up the flavour, and you will not enjoy the drink.
  • Type of glass: The perfect glass allows the Whisky to be twirled around without spilling. A well-shaped glass will also help to release the flavour of the whiskey. The glass also captures the whiskey’s aroma and lets you enjoy every sip of the whiskey. The glass’s shape should be broad at the bottom, and it should narrow down as you go up. The thin shape at the top collects the aroma of the whiskey.
  • Colour of the single malt: It helps to determine the age of the whiskey. For example, a golden colour single malt is fermented in sherry oak casks; paler whiskies come from bourbon casks. You would expect a dark whiskey to have a rich aroma and delectable flavours. A lighter whiskey is usually a bit immature and may not have the same boldness in flavour or odour.
  • Nosing: Smelling the whiskey gives the idea of the flavour consumer is about to taste. It is essential to make your mind ready to sip the flavours of the whiskey.
  • Tasting: While there are no clear rules on drinking whiskey, there is a right set of steps to follow before you drink it. Form your tongue into a spoon shape, take a sip from the glass and let it rest on the tongue. It allows you to enjoy the flavours of the whiskey.
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Mistakes People Make While Drinking Scotch Whiskey

  • Focus on the age of the whiskey: In the case of whiskey, age doesn’t matter. Older whiskey is more expensive than the new one, as older ones are less available in the market. The younger whiskey will taste almost like the old whiskey. It will give you the same flavour and smell.
  • No experimentation: Whiskey is the drink that is good for experiments. One should never stick to the same flavour of the whiskey. Also, you can add many ingredients to the drink. So, next time ask the bartender to make a delicious cocktail for you.
  • Expensive is better: In whiskey, the costly one doesn’t need to be the tastier one. So, it’s better to know about the whiskey than to spend a lot of money on it.
  • Mixing coke, lemonade, water, ice, etc., to whiskey: don’t end up mixing additional flavours to the whiskey. Try the whiskey first, then ask the bartender to add water or soda according to your taste. Don’t just dilute the drink and lose the flavours of the drink. Try to enjoy every drop of it and then decide what additional flavour you want to enjoy more.
  • Don’t listen to other opinions: There is no harm in asking people about the experience, but you should not get carried away. Ask about their experience, but try and decide for yourself whether you like it or not. Then make a list and follow the flavour that suits your taste buds.


Single malt whiskey is produced by a single distillery and is fermented malted barley. You can consume single malt in many ways.

So, if you think you are drinking single malt scotch whiskey in the wrong way, we have tried to let you in on all the secrets.

Do enjoy your favourite single malt with these pointers in mind, and let the flavour of the drink melt on your tongue so that you can enjoy every sip of it.