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How to Properly Taste Liquor (instructional)

Posted on September 12th, 2013
Kayla Kiley

You can find Kayla Kiley grooving to local live music, sipping on the inventive craft-beer scene, joining foodie tours, oil painting, ballroom dancing, and simply exploring the world around her.

By: Kayla Kiley
Digital & Communications Manager, Discover Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo, Mich. — Master mixologist Angie Jackson, a.k.a. “The Traveling Elixir Fixer” of Kalamazoo, shows you how to properly taste spirits.

While this video is an instructional guide on how to taste all liquors, in this example, Angie shows viewers how to taste whiskey. Follow her steps to better understand the flavor profiles of spirits.

1.) Pour some liquor into a tasting glass.
2.) Swirl it around (like you would with wine). Notice if its has legs — it’s an indication of sugar. The less legs, the better the spirit.
3.) Waft it under your nose leaving your mouth open. Breathe in both through your nose and mouth. Try to name the scents you pick up.
4.) Take a small amount of liquor into your mouth and swish it around in your mouth. Ensure that the spirit covers the front of your upper gums.
5.) Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, and in through your mouth again. Notice the flavor components.
6.) Add a drop of water to your liquor in the tasting glass and repeat steps 1-5. Notice the difference of flavors.

“The term spirit comes to us from Aristotle, who felt that by consuming such libations his body was possessed by a spirit,” Angie said. “To an essence it’s true, so we need to respect the spirit.”

You can find Angie at Old Dog Tavern in downtown Kalamazoo Wednesday-Saturday nights.

Angie taught mixology at the collegiate level, worked the Chicago bar scene for about a dozen years, has developed many restaurant and bars’ cocktail programs, published multiple cocktail recipes, is a tasting consultant for distilleries, and has served drinks to countless celebrities, including Oprah, the Obamas, and Faith Hill & Tim McGraw.

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