Is There A Right Way To Drink Japanese Whisky?

Asking if there's a right way to drink Japanese whisky is like asking if there's a right way to eat pizza. The best answer is going to be: Sort of, but not really. If you're eating pizza with a fork and a knife you're 100% doing it wrong but after that, you're free to go. If you're drinking Japanese whisky by adding it to a margarita, you probably don't understand how to pair flavors, but there's nothing unique about Japanese whisky that requires its own serving style compared to other whiskys.

In Japan, most people drink whisky in one of two ways — neat or as a highball. Serving whisky neat means you don't do anything to it. Simply pour it into a glass and serve, maybe with an ice cube. Japanese whisky highballs are served in tall cylindrical glasses with a big block of ice and some club soda. It's essentially a mixed drink in a cool glass. If you're looking to drink whisky the way the Japanese do, drink it either of these ways. Serving whisky neat is a common form all over the world, but the highball is fairly unique to Japan. You're more likely to find whisky mixed drinks being served with Coke in a rocks glass rather than club soda in the United States — though it's not unheard of.

Drinking etiquette

When you're doing it right, drinking should be fun, but different people have different ideas of fun. A rowdy party on a boat that lasts 14 hours is one idea of fun and a quiet whisky bar where you comment on the flavor profile of your sipper is another. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

But if someone is telling you that what you're doing is wrong and what they're doing is right, you're better off just letting whatever wise words they have to say just slide right off you. Nobody knows what you like better than you, so you should be the one who decides how to enjoy your glass.

Japanese whisky comes in a wide variety of styles and flavors. A few are comparable to some of the best Scotch whiskies on the market, others are better diluted with soda. Each brand and each bottle is going to offer something unique to your palette. In this way, Japanese whisky is just like any other type of whisky. Have fun with it, experiment with new styles, and don't let stuffy etiquette get you down.