Novice or connoisseur, whisky shows can be a fun, social learning experience.
But at every whisky show there are always a few people who overdo it and end up with very sore heads. Here are our top tips to ensure you get the most of your next whisky show.
Plan your journey
Chances are you’re not going to taste every single thing on offer at a whisky show. When you arrive, have a good look around before you start drinking, or sit down for a few minutes with the show guide. If there are special ‘unicorn drams’ you want to try, try them first while your palate is fresh, skip the whiskies you already know really well or have at home, and maybe plan some old favourites to finish off.
Set the pace
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t need to charge in and get five drams in you straight away – they will catch up on you later. Take it easy, walk around, chat to people and think about what you are drinking. It’s easy to pick up the pace later if you feel good and are running out of time, it’s hard to slow down when you’re getting tipsy. And remember, it’s okay to sit down for a while and take a break too, the whisky will still be there when you’re ready for another round.
Food for thought
While you’re sitting down, maybe have something to eat? Strong alcohol and empty stomachs tend to violently disagree with each other, and your body is the fight arena. Don’t binge yourself into a food coma and the desire for a nap, have some regular light meals and snacks to help your body process the alcohol a little more gradually.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate again
This is probably the most important thing if you want to avoid tomorrow’s headache. It’s often said that for every alcoholic beverage, you should have a glass of water. This can be really easy to do at a whisky show, as they almost always have water at the booths. One way to ensure that you are getting the H2O you need is to ask for water before each whisky to rinse your glass. Swirl it around and then drink it rather than tip it away. You now have a clean glass to better appreciate the next whisky, and you’re taking care of yourself.
Look after each other
It’s fine to go to a whisky show alone, but it’s much better with friends. Take a few friends who are curious about whisky and visit the booths together. You’ll probably want to try different things so there’s a good chance you’ll discover something you love that you may not have tried without them. And if you do happen to go overboard you’ll have friends there to help look after you.
While drinking we can often forget things. “What was the name of that awesome whisky I tried? I’m pretty sure the label was blue…” Don’t rely on your memory, pull out your phone and take photos. Looking through them later for that perfect Instagram post you’ll be reminded of some great things you tried and you’ll have no problem finding them again at a bar or shop.
Plan your getaway
If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. With taxis, public transport, valets and ride sharing apps at our fingertips, there’s really no excuse to get behind the wheel after some whisky. Whichever mode of transport you use, plan ahead and have a backup.
Stay safe and have fun!