Smell the spirit, keeping your lips parted just slightly while you do. Allow your mouth to water before taking a small sip. Let the whiskey wash over your tongue. On your first sip, chew it. Swallow. Breathe in, and repeat. Each sip will be better than the last.

But that’s not enough.

You’ve got to choose the right whiskey: American, Scotch, Irish, or Canadian? And when you choose American, would you prefer bourbon1, rye, wheat, malt, corn, or Tennessee? No matter what, drink what you like. As long as it’s bourbon.

You also need to set the mood. You have a fireplace? Light it. You don’t? Light a candle. You’re a single, straight male? Light anything on fire that won’t result in your immediate arrest (and thus interrupt your beverage). Fire is an integral part of whiskey. Charcoal filtering or peat-heated fire is often part of the process, and for many whiskey drinkers the smoky taste is a desirable trait – a reminder of human ingenuity, labors, and grit.

Drink it in the right glass. Use a tumbler – or “rocks glass” – for a classic simplicity. You could also use a snifter, a copita, or glencairn – but I prefer to drink from a vessel I can pronounce. Whiskey is simple: don’t complicate it.

Drink it neat. Or with a splash of water. Or as an Old Fashioned.2 Just don’t use ice – you mask the complex flavors, and you may as well drink Listerine.3

Get comfortable. You’ll be here a while. “Here” could be with friends at a poker game, with a loved one surrounded by subtle tones of Sinatra,4 or by yourself, alone with that roaring fire. Whatever the situation, get comfortable, because whiskey demands time for savoring.

Finally, imbibe with a plan. Relax and forget your cares. Sit back, enjoy life. Relish the day well done. Maybe take a little time to bitch about the world, constructively. Think about all the things you’ll design, build, innovate, program, write, and create tomorrow, and how resplendent life is when you form it with your own mind and hands.

Picture Nick Offerman sitting in front of a fireplace. Take this opportunity to reflect on his lesson: “People who buy things are suckers.”

  1. Distilled from at least 51% corn, and aged in a brand new charred oak barrel at or below 62.5% alcohol by volume. And the right choice.
  2. The Vigilante Fashioned: Mix 1/3 ounce 2:1 rich simple syrup with a couple dashes of Angostura bitters and a slice of orange peel. Press the orange peel to the side of the glass to release citrus oils. Add 2 ounces of whiskey, stir, and prepare to redefine happiness.
  3. Most whiskey drinkers say the same about cocktails, like the Old Fashioned. But goddamnit that is a good beverage.
  4. Not really a typical whiskey genre, but whatever, whiskey doesn’t mind. This is your night.

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