Whisky Drinks

This weekend the annual Oslo Whisky Festival came and went. The bulk of Oslo’s male, red-nosed, middle-aged, and slightly overweight population gathered, and used words like “single malt”, “blended”, “nosing”, and “refill”. But if attended the show, you didn’t hear much talk about whisky drinks.

For many hard core whisky drinkers, mixing the precious liquid with anything except for a drop of water, is borderline sacrilegious. You can’t have something stored and pampered with for 25 years just to pour it into a glass of Soda. What an awful thought! Or is it really that bad?

A few years ago the festival silently introduced a whisky bar to the show floor. It was crammed into a dark corner without much fanfare, but soon became the prime location for the festival’s very, very limited female visitors - and people like me and my friends, who really don’t know much about whisky, except that we enjoy a sip every now and then. You’ll also see some of the old timers start queuing up at the bar towards the end of the evening, but of course they’ll deny everything and fake amnesia the next morning.

If you have a bottle of whisky gathering dust somewhere (and a lot of people do), here are three rather simple drinks you can make right now1. A glass of whisky is also a great way to wash away the bitter taste of yesterday’s election.

Whisky Sour

Whisky drinks: "Fireside lounge whiskey sour" by Krista (https://flic.kr/p/98cdPA). License: CC BY 2.0.

The classic Whisky Sour is the most complicated of the three drinks in terms of measuring ingredients, so I recommend that you perhaps start with the Sour. We wouldn’t want you to try something as intricate as measuring multiple ingredients when you’re drunk, do we? On second, though, Irish Coffee might be a better drink to start with since it includes handling hot coffee.

Anyway. Whisky Sour is somewhere on my Top 5 list of totally heterosexual drinks, and a seasoned bartender will not break into a spontaneous ROFL-fit when you order it. For reference, that very thing might very well happen if you order an Appletini in a straight bar.

The Sour’s mix of whisky and lemon juice makes it surprisingly refreshing, and that Maraschino cherry on top never disappoints.

Whisky Sour Ingredients

  • 4 cl (1 1/2 ounces) whisky
  • 4 cl (1 1/2 ounces) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cl (3/4 ounce) simple syrup
  • Egg white (optional)
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Whisky Sour Preparation

  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake it like a Polaroid picture.
  3. Strain into a chilled sour glass or over ice in an “old-fashioned glass”. Whatever the hell that means.
  4. Garnish with the cherry.

Irish Coffee

Whisky drinks: "Irish Coffee" by Maria (https://flic.kr/p/7KMCtm). License: CC BY-NC 2..0. The classic Irish Coffee will be a hit among all your friends, even those who don’t enjoy whisky (if you have such lame friends). The drink, unsurprisingly, originates from Ireland, where it was first served by Joe Sheridan. Stanton Delaplane is credited with bringing Irish Coffee to USA when he worked for the San Francisco Chronicle. And if you’re ever in San Francisco, I recommend you stop by the Buena Vista Café, and try their Irish Coffee. It’s delicious.

Irish Coffee Ingredients

  • 4 ounces strong, rich hot coffee
  • 4 cl (1 1/2) ounce Irish whisky
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3 cl (1 ounce) lightly whipped double
  • Cream

Irish Coffee Preparation

  1. Pour the sugar then coffee into a warm Irish coffee glass, mug, or other heat-proof glass. With emphasis on “heat-proof”!
  2. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Add the Irish whisky and stir again.
  4. Float the cream on top by pouring it over the back of a spoon. Do not stir again, instead, drink the coffee through the cream. Yummy in your tummy!


Whisky drinks: "Highball" by Matt Baran (https://flic.kr/p/7ZEdAz). License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

I wise man once told me that “highball” is a generic name given to any drink made of a single liquor and soda, served in a high glass over ice. That means that the technically correct name for this drink would be “Whisky Highball”. But the Wikipedia page for highball claims that the original highball was made with Scotch whisky and carbonated water, known as a “Scotch and soda”, so I’m sticking to calling it just Highball!

But let’s not split hairs. Instead, let us unite, be friends, and get so drunk we forget that we disagreed in the first place. The important thing is that you’re now on your third whisky based drink of the evening, and it’s important to KISS. Perhaps in more ways than one? Just remember that children in the dark cause accidents, but accidents in the dark cause children.

Enjoy your whisky-fueled adventure!

Highball Ingredients

  • 6 cl (2 ounces) whisky
  • Ginger ale

Highball Preparation

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour the whisky into the glass.
  3. Top with ginger ale.
  4. Profit?


  1. Assuming you have the necessary ingredients available, of course. ↩︎


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