The Whisky Word

The Whisky Word
19 Feb 2013

Sam Simmons - Balvenie on the Rocks?

Dufftown, Scotland
Jan 17, 2012
“Let’s just add some water, then.” You could see his breath as he spoke. David Stewart and I stood, nose over bunghole, selecting casks for a vatting of the 14yo Caribbean Cask. I was periodically shivering although I was wearing two wool jumpers, thermals, a scarf, and my oft-ridiculed Hebridean tweed cap. David seemed comfortable in his blue suit and button down shirt open at the collar. So I got to thinking, “I am freezing right now, but at what temperature will whisky freeze?”


Winnipeg, Canada
Jan 19, 2012
“Can we come inside?” Beth-Anne pleaded. The clock on Ryan’s truck said 3:03pm and the external temperature gauge read -33 (-46C with the wind chill, if you must know). We had been in and out of it since 9am and just needed a chance to defrost. “Yeah, c’mon in for a couple of minutes,” said Ryan, at which point Miles wondered, “Should we bring in the whisky in case it freezes*?”


Feb 19, 2012
It has been three days on-board this whisky cruise, and, looking out the window, the sea is ice-covered. We aren’t moving. As far as I can tell, we are stuck.
The bar conversation turns to this topic with typical late-night logic. “Screw it, we can skate back” says one guy. “It could be worse,” begins another. “At least we have whisky to last us until summer.” Laughs and groans are heard. “Or just grab all the whisky from downstairs, pour it over the side and light it up. Boom! Ice melted. Whisky on the Rocks, Saves Lives!”


June 23, 2012
This morning I was sweating just thirty seconds out of the shower. Ew. Now I am a sticky and glazed Ambassador. It is hot, humid, and no weather for this wool suit. What was I thinking?
“Can you do me a Balvenie mizuwari?” I asked. The bartender politely and promptly nodded. “Excellent. 15 year old Single Barrel, ice, and water to the top, please.”


Drink your whisky however you like and don’t let people tell you otherwise. Neat, ice, water, milk, ginger ale, whatever. Tasting? Give it a bit of respect and nose it neat or with water. But drinking for pleasure should be pleasurable, whatever that means for you.


*- Water freezes at 0°C (32°F) and the freezing point of ethanol alcohol is -114°C (-173.2°F). Alcoholic beverages are a mixture of both alcohol and water (with sugars and other additives in some distilled spirits) so the freezing point of all alcoholic beverages is somewhere in between. The exact freezing point of vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whisky and the myriad of liqueurs is dependent on its proof, or alcohol per volume. The lower the proof, the warmer the freezing point: the higher the proof, the colder the freezing point.

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