For An At-Home Whiskey Tasting, Here's How Much Bourbon To Pour Per Glass

Even if they look similar, a whiskey tasting is quite different from sitting around doing shots with your friends. Deciding how heavy your pours will be is incredibly important. There are a few things you need to keep in mind for whiskey tastings when it comes to portion size. A standard pour is 1 1⁄2 to 2 ounces for either a shot or a neat serving, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll want to offer a full serving from each bottle.

From here you can consider how many bourbons you plan on trying throughout the tasting. You can pour a little extra if it's only two or three. If you plan on sampling more than six or seven bottles, you might want to consider toning that back especially if the people participating aren't avid drinkers.

Which brings us to the next point to consider — the participants. Even if you're all friends, that doesn't mean you all have the same drinking habits. One way of accommodating personal preferences is to ask each person individually how much they would like in their glass. You can do this at the beginning so you won't interrupt the flow of the tasting, or you can pour the glass in front of them and have them say when. For blind tastings, it would be better to do this at the beginning since you'll be pouring the glasses off where people can't see them.

Narrowing the focus of your whiskey pours

We've got the basics down, let's turn our attention to whiskey selection. If you're having trouble picking bourbons to sample, a vertical whiskey tasting is a novice-friendly format that allows you to sample a single distillery's product line. This is also a great way to provide variation in proof points as distilleries often have a range to choose from.

The limiting factor for any of this is how drunk you're willing to get versus how much of each whiskey you would like to taste. That dynamic will play out differently for a collection of high-proof bourbons versus low- or even mid-proof bottles. Choosing the right bourbon for your at-home tasting doesn't mean avoiding high-proof bourbons, it just means you need to consider that factor while pouring.

If your tasting revolves around high-proof bourbons, you may even go down to an ½ ounce pour if there are several bottles you want to get through. If the tasting ends and you still want more of the sauce because you didn't get as buzzed as you expected it's no problem. But people will generally want to finish the tasting so it's better to err on the lighter side than end up with a crowd that's drunker than they wanted to be.