Few drinks tantalize the taste buds of liquor enthusiasts like whiskey. With thousands of varieties to choose from around the world, whiskey has long been a staple of bar and tavern operations both in the United States and abroad. Complex flavor notes like oak, citrus, tobacco, and honey are some of many profiles in whiskies; with nearly unlimited varieties to choose from, there is literally something for every whiskey drinker to enjoy. Consumer tastes have also matured in recent years, giving rise to whiskey aficionados who can discern subtle flavors and fragrances from global varieties. As a result, whiskey is enjoying newfound popularity among consumers, according to the award-winning Bartender Company out of San Fransisco, CA.
Bars around the world have begun to cater to this new demand, offering whiskey tastings and curated whiskey stocks for their patrons. Whiskey tasting events provide several benefits to both the patrons and the bar hosting the event. First, patrons are able to make direct comparisons between whiskies, discovering new favorites in the process. Whiskey tastings also expand knowledge – consumers are given the opportunity to learn about whiskey aspects and flavor profile characteristics like aging methods and production details during the tasting event. Second, the hosting bar is helping to reinforce customer loyalty. By hosting special events in a warm, inviting atmosphere, bar patrons who take part in these events indicate a preference for those establishments, all but guaranteeing repeat patronage.
Hosting a Whiskey Tasting Event
Bars and taverns that wish to host whiskey tastings need to know a few things in order to make the event a success with guests. First, hosting bars should develop a theme for the event. There are thousands of whiskies on the market ranging from bourbon and scotch to regional varietals. Hosting a tasting event for Canadian whiskey choices, Southern-sourced bourbons, or concentrating on Scottish and Irish single-malt scotches can help to build interest in the event without overwhelming attendees. Next, it is important to limit the tasting choices. For larger events, choosing 5-8 different whiskies is a good balance. For smaller tastings, select 3-5 of the most unique whiskies in your inventory for the event.
Bar owners will want to incorporate other beverages and foods to the event. Buffet-style finger foods, fruits, and cheeses are great choices. Cheeses and fruits in particular pair well with many whiskies; the savory components of strong cheeses complement the complex flavors of the liquor, while fruits can cleanse the palate between sips. Have non-alcoholic beverages available for patrons as well.
Finally, the right glassware is crucial for bringing out the best in each whiskey. Master distillers and professional bartenders prefer a “nosing glass” with a tulip shape. This shape helps to concentrate the subtle aromas from whiskey varietals, enhancing the tasting experience.
Professional Bartenders and Whiskey Concierges
Bars that wish to host a whiskey tasting event may feel overwhelmed at the choices of liquors and the unique characteristics of each. Few bars can boast the experience of a whiskey curator as well, which is why many establishments will employ the services of a professional bartender for these tasting events. A few bartending services in the San Francisco Bay Area are known for their expertise when it comes to tasting events. The Bartender Company and their sister companies employ talented “whiskey concierges” – professionals with an exhaustive knowledge of whiskies and their flavor profiles. Hiring an expert for these fun tasting events is a great way of giving guests an experience they will remember, adding class and style to the atmosphere. Trying new varieties and learning about what makes whiskey such a popular and complex liquor is part of the whiskey tasting experience. With professional help, your tasting event will be a smashing success.