You can drink whiskey at home, you can drink it in the bar. But one interesting way to enjoy whiskey is to form a club.
A whiskey club lets you share your passion for whiskey, and maybe learn something while you’re at it. Educating yourself about what you’re drinking makes you appreciate it more. And having friends along makes that journey even better.
A club can be as small as two people and as big as you want. But to keep it manageable, you probably want to top it off at eight. With eight or less, you can devote the night to one bottle. (One bottle holds approximately 25 ounces. If a typical pour is 1.5 ounces, that makes 16 servings. With two servings per person, a club of eight is perfect.)
When to meet
You want to meet often enough that it’s a regular thing, but not so often that it becomes a chore. Start out by meeting once a month, maybe on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.
Where to meet
In the pre-COVID-19 days, your location could be as simple as a kitchen table. For social distancing, a backyard works great. Or perhaps approach a local venue that allows BYOB and see if you can meet on their patio in exchange for purchase of snacks.
How to connect
The most efficient way for your club to communicate is a forum where everyone can check in, such as a Facebook group. This also serves as a good place to post photos for those who couldn’t make it, and it guarantees everyone will show up for the next.
How to finance
A key benefit of a whiskey club is that members can try a variety of spirits at a shared cost. But you’ll need to vote on how much to spend and who’s doing the buying. This could be a treasurer who handles contributions, or else members can take turns, with one person picking up the tab for each meetup.
Aside from the bottle of the night, you’ll need a few things:
- Tasting glasses: The Glencairn whiskey glass is the industry standard, as it provides the best vehicle for you to appreciate the whiskey’s aroma, color, and taste. A standard Glencairn glass holding 6.5 ounces is under $10. You can also get them personalized with your club’s name, for $15.
- Water: You’ll need to stay hydrated and refresh your palate.
- Snacks: Enhance your bourbon tasting with snacks that highlight the flavors of the whiskey of the night.
- Optional extras include notepads where people can jot their thoughts; and handouts on the bottle you’re drinking, to spark some conversation.
Themes will help keep the club lively and varied. Here are a few ideas:
- Go solo. Compare the whiskey sipped straight versus diluted with water or chilled on ice.
- Cocktail night. Explore the whiskey’s personality in cocktails by mixing up two to three different drinks. We have plenty of recipes to get you started.
- Pair it with food. Do a sit-down dinner or have a meal kit delivered to your door.
- Compare styles. Explore different types of whiskey, like the rye bill of David Nicholson Reserve compared to the wheated bill of the David Nicholson 1843.
Keep a journal
Writing something down is a good way to remember it. Keep a journal of your meetings. It’ll serve as a catalog of all of the bourbons you’ve sampled — bringing home the lessons you’ve learned during your club sessions, and a reminder of the good times.