How Jelly Beans Will Help You Taste Whiskey Better, According To An Expert

Did you know jelly beans can help you taste whiskey better? To understand how and why, we spoke with Mandy Naglich, certified taster and author of "How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life," who explained how jelly beans can help us focus on our palate training. "Any flavored candy is a great way to expand your palate. The reason [why] jelly beans are a favorite is that they come in so many flavors. Other candies may have only four or five flavors in a pack," Naglich stated, and we agree, having ranked 20 different jelly bean flavors from worst to best

Now, we know that whiskey can be quite complex, with many nuanced and layered flavors, including caramel, cherries, mangoes, cinnamon, coffee, and pepper. To train your palate to identify the flavors in whiskey correctly, Naglich suggested you play a guessing game with a bag of jelly beans. "To really focus on palate training with the flavored candies, it's best to do it with a partner. Close your eyes and pick up a candy. Make sure your partner knows which flavor you have. Put it in your mouth and try to guess the flavor... guess at the flavor, and your partner can tell you if you are correct or not," she explained. 

Guess the flavors in your whiskey like you're guessing jelly bean flavors

Mandy Naglich is also a beverage journalist who runs the popular drinks Instagram page @‌drinkswithmandy. She has spoken to us before, providing us with the expert-approved way to taste whiskey for maximum flavor. So, Naglich knows how to make it effective yet fun regarding palate training. Her way of helping train your tastebuds to taste whiskey better is quite inventive too. "As you chew [the jelly beans] make sure to exhale out your nose. This brings more of the flavor molecules to your olfactory (smell) receptors, which send flavor signals to the brain," she told us.

Once you're done getting a sugar high from eating bags of jelly beans and figuring out all their flavors, it's time to put your heightened sense of taste and smell to the test. Have a partner choose a bottle of whiskey without letting you know what it is. You'll be the taster who will guess all the notes and flavors in the whiskey. Be sure to exhale out of your nose as you drink the alcohol. Then, take a guess at the flavors and have your partner read the label to let you know if you're right or wrong. Have fun, and as always, drink responsibly.