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By Harriet Leigh, Head of Hospitality ISSUE #014 FROM WEIRD TO WHISKY | Education

New to Whisky? Here’s How to Drink It

If you’ve never drunk whisky or whisky cocktails, that’s okay. Don’t fret. We’re here to help with our favourite drinks.

Some people believe that whisky should only be spoken about in hushed tones. I hope you read the following sentence in the tone in which it was intended: screw those guys. The great thing about drinking is it’s something you do alone (even in company), so you have to do it your way. If you like fruit-based RTDs, enjoy them with pride. Don’t let me scoff at you, while I drink my high-brow Scofflaw. Life is too short to put good whisky on high shelves and revere. It’s made to be drunk, help it fulfil its destiny.

People admonish bartenders for reaching for fine single malts when shaking a whisky sour and relegate them to the speed rail. To those people I say: “NO!” You put a great whisky in a sour and you get a great whisky sour. It’s not science. Well it is, but it’s not really hard science.

It can seem daunting; understanding a couple of hundred years of drinking history. But learning is fun, or at least learning while drinking is fun, so pull up a stool and start at the beginning. If you’ve never drunk whisky or whisky cocktails, that’s okay. Don’t fret. We’re here to help.


Look. Whisky is a drink for grown-ups, children rarely enjoy the rich caramel notes, or indeed the high alcohol content. If you’re new to whisky, that’s ok, everyone was new to whisky at some stage. Like all adult cultural appreciation - whether it’s grasping the difference between classical or baroque music, or understanding the difference between a fine Bordeaux or Burgundy; knowledge takes time, willingness, and exposure. If you’re new to the world of whisky appreciation, savour the experience. The famous whisky writer Richard Patterson (not the guy from Twilight) likes to suggest that meeting a spirit neat is like meeting a person - if you shove the glass under your nose and inhale deeply it’s akin to shoving your nose in someone else’s face and screaming “HI - HOW ARE YOU?” - there’s a high chance you’ll get your nose punched. Meeting whisky is a lot like meeting people; it’s shy. Introduce it delicately to your face - give it a coy sniff, say hello carefully. Repeat. Find it’s subtleties, enjoy its nuances. No two whiskies are the same - even from the same distillery - two casks can differ wildly. If the alcohol is abrasive to your palate try breaking it down with a little water. If you don’t like any spirits served neat you’ll probably find whisky to be no different. If that is the case, you are not a heathen, you just understand your preferences. And that is just fine, you’re perfect just the way you are. Here are some drinks you might want to give a whirl next time you’re in a bar. And if you’re mixing at home none of them will be too hard to attempt. Be brave, there is a world of rewards ahead of you.

The Whisky Highball

What could be more simple? Whisky and soda. It’s all too rare, but when it’s made well there are few sparkling drinks more elegant. It’s super dry, but this just brings out the accents of the whisky lengthening and highlighting its natural characteristics. Let’s all agree to drink more highballs in 2019 and beyond. Agreed? Great. Love chocolate with orange? ME TOO! Pour a healthy double of Chocolate Rye Malt Whisky, top with soda and garnish that little number with an orange slice, you’ll be mightily pleased you did. Spritzing some Rye Malt Whisky? Try switching up the orange for lemon, and then as we always say here at Archie Rose - try it your own way - no one knows you better than you do.

Rye Malt Whisky Highball



Build over ice in a highball glass (shockingly).

Mamie Taylor

A pretty simple combo here - dating back to the turn of the last century - a splash of whisky topped with lime juice and lashings of ginger beer. In its simplest form this is a fancy Rye & Dry - it’s a whisky Dark & Stormy. And, most importantly, it’s a good time in a glass.

Chocolate Rye Malt Mamie Taylor



Build over ice in a highball glass.

Whisky Sour

Do you hear angels singing when you read that title? No? Just me then. It’s arguably the greatest cocktail of all time, but then ALL cocktails are arguably the greatest cocktail of all time. And that is always a fun argument to have. Whisky (or any spirit in fact), sugar, lemon and if you like froth; egg white. You can make this at home - it’s not hard, give it a go.

Rye Malt Whisky Sour


  • 60ml Rye Malt Whisky

  • 30ml lemon juice

  • 15ml sugar syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar dissolved in water)

  • 15ml egg white (optional)


Shake all ingredients very hard in a shaker without ice to emulsify the egg white, then add ice and shake again, as hard as you can manage until your fingers feel icy.

Strain over ice, garnish as you fancy, maybe a cherry, maybe a lemon wedge, an orange twist is fun. Nude carries its own minimalist sex appeal.

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a drink bestowed upon the world by the Americans. Like so much of the great cocktails of history; its roots are humble. Faced with a world of new “fancy drinks” some curmudgeonly drinkers railed against the modern drinking crazes, insisting they wanted an Old Fashioned drink - just hooch, bitters, water and sugar. And 150 years later not much has changed. There was a small hiccup in its history in the second half of the last century when bartenders went rogue and started adding muddled fruit and other monstrosities. Lucky their collective heads were smacked together and they came to their senses. Thank goodness.

Rye Malt Old Fashioned


  • 60ml Rye Malt Whisky

  • 5ml sugar syrup

  • 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters (and we’re talking proper dashes here, not drops)


Stir all the ingredients over ice, tasting as you go. Rye Malt sits at 46% ABV - which is hotter than your average bear. If you find this a little assertive for your palate give it a touch longer in the mixing glass to provide some additional dilution.

Garnish with an orange twist.

This is the starting ratio for all Old Fashioneds, try experimenting - get into some niche bitters and see what happens. Switch up the citrus. Have a play.

Chocolate Rye Malt Old Fashioned

This spirit was meant to be turned into an Old Fashioned. Those warm, rich, chocolate notes are sent into a joyous overdrive. It sings with an orange twist, we’re quite partial to some walnut bitters. The specs are as above. You may find a preference for slightly more dilution - give it an additional stir.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass, stir until chilled, strain into a chilled rocks glass with ice, garnish with an orange twist.

The Boulevardier

This is essentially the whisky Negroni. I know, I know, you probably haven’t heard of it before but now you’re mighty glad you have. It’s the Negroni for the evening, the Negroni for contemplation and introspection. A Negroni is for reviving yourself in the afternoon sun in a piazza in Rome (or by the banks of the Yarra in spring for that matter), the Boulevardier is for drinking after autumnal evening walking or late night conversations about the state of the world. The bitter will balm your acrid soul, the sweet vermouth will lull your cold heart, and the whisky will give your spine rigidity. Together they are unstoppable. Let’s all have a Rye Malt Boulevardier and toast to good spirits.

Chocolate Rye Malt Boulevardier



Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass, stir until chilled, strain into a chilled coupette glass, garnish with an orange twist.

The traditional recipe for a Boulevardier would usually find a 40:20:20 ratio, however with our Chocolate Rye Malt we find the equal ratio gives a delightful chocolate boost.

The Manhattan

Good Lord. Let us all take a moment and hold each other’s hands. Let’s take a deep breath and dive into one of the most rewarding and richest of historic cocktails - the Manhattan - blessed be the fruit (cherry, lemon or orange twist). There are three mainstays at the top of this family tree - Sweet Manhattan (also commonly known as a Manhattan), Dry Manhattan or Perfect Manhattan. A Manhattan is whisky (usually Rye or Bourbon) mixed with vermouth and bitters. If you use dry vermouth it becomes a Dry Manhattan, if you use sweet (unsurprisingly) it’s a Sweet Manhattan and if you use a combo of the two it’s perfect. Personally, I think this is a misnomer - my personal favourite is the classic Sweet Manhattan - there is something about the fructose hit of sweet vermouth that buoys whisky. It’s already a dry spirit - aged in oak and given time to wisen - the addition of dry vermouth elongates an already lasting experience. But heaven forbid you take my word for it - try all three yourself. And when you’re done, sit back and experiment with the following - all brilliant adaptations on the theme – and maybe you haven’t heard of these (I’m jealous of you if you’ve still yet to have your first date) in no particular order, may I introduce to you – The Brooklyn, Red Hook, Greenpoint, Remember the Maine, Rob Roy, Bobby Burns, and to some extent - the Boulevardier - I know what you’re saying - “HANG ON A MINUTE YOU JUST TOLD ME - A BOULEVARDIER IS A TWIST ON A NEGRONI” and you’re right, but for heaven’s sake, stop yelling. In the same way that if you take a Negroni and swap gin for whisky you end up with a Boulevardier, if you take a Manhattan and swap the bitters for bitter Campari (and boost those ratios) you get a Boulevardier. What a topsy-turvy world we live in. Let’s not fight about it, darling, let’s just drink one each and argue about the greatest cocktail of all time… My money is on a Boulevardier, no wait, a Manhattan, no… A Whisky Sour. Oh look, I don’t know, they’re all good. The world’s best cocktail is just the next one, surely?

Rye Malt/Chocolate Rye Malt Whisky Manhattan:



Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass, stir until chilled, strain into a chilled coupette glass, garnish with an orange twist or a cherry.

This drink is there to play with, find your own ratio - if you find the higher ABV of Chocolate Rye Malt confronting you may prefer a 40ml/20ml ratio, or some additional dilution. Whatever you end up with, we think you’re going to be as delighted as we are.