Too intimidating! The pressure to look and sound knowledgeable takes the fun out of drinking whisky. Whisky is too strong of a drink. I do not know where to start or which whiskies to order.
The MaltmanSG has a few simple suggestions to make the whole bar experience fun, memorable, and enjoyable. Based on personal experience from visiting whisky bars around the world and talking to people who would like to go out to enjoy a dram without fielding a hundred different questions from unsure friends on the different kind of whiskeys, here’s how to go about having a fun-filled and relaxing evening.
The first thing that a guest is looking for is the “WAM” effect: Welcome, Ambience, and Music. How the staff welcomes and greets a guest will be what determines whether a customer will start the night feeling comfortable or uncomfortable.
This is supplemented by the ambience, lighting, and the general atmosphere of the bar. Is the bar warm and welcoming or formidable and cold? Are the interiors tastefully decorated or lacklustre?
Finally, the M in WAM stands for music. Has the whisky bar been able to create the right amount of mood? Typically, soft jazz music sets the right tone by creating an intimate environment that fosters personal relationships or business conversations.
To make the experience more memorable, we focus on the choice and serving of the whisky. The glass is key—after all, the tasting glasses are conventional Glencairn glassed with a wide base that progresses upwards into a narrow rim. This helps in nosing the fill bouquet and, when a dash of water is dropped, to savour the release of the rich aromas as wide base helps swirl the whisky as it mixes with air and acts as a catalyst.
The other whisky glasses are the wide crystal tumbler glasses for people who enjoy their whisky with ice.
The shape of the ice is also used to accentuate the experience. Some use spherical ice balls, the most popular variety. Other bars enhance the experience by using hand chipped ice balls and imprinting the bar name on the ice.
Bars which excel is creating memorable experiences make the whisky drinking an easy and fun experience. They take pains to demystify their menus. Staff are not only knowledgeable but patient in finding out what are the likes and dislikes of a customer in terms of flavour profiles, how he or she wants to drink their whisky and then coming out with multiple recommendations. Pairing of whiskies with various kinds of food is another way of enhancing the experience and finally a few bars even go the extra mile in offering customers customised lockers, where they can keep their special whiskies. This helps in making the customer feel at home and the sheer act of having a locker gives them a sense of ownership makes them feel being an integral part of the bar.