Ways to enjoy a summer dram

30 July 2014

During the summer months, I meet people who don't touch their precious single malts at all. Sometimes it's because they see whisky as a winter drink, other times it's because they say their single malt is sacred, that it should never be mixed with anything, or even served with ice.


While I certainly respect that point of view, as Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, I often travel to extremely hot countries and I've discovered there are many other ways to enjoy your whisky on a hot day, ways that complement your single malt's delicate flavours and excite the palate.

Ways to cool your dram

Adding a cube or two of ice is the traditional way to enjoy a dram in summer and while it can cause some flavours to contract, it also brings other notes to the fore. In Japan, to prevent melting ice from diluting a slow drink, they use a large, single 'ice ball' that cools your dram but takes a long time to melt. Definitely worth a try if you like to take your time over a drink. 

Conversely, I often find adding a splash of chilled water helps me to get the most out of my single malt, the water helps to bring out the hidden notes and because it's chilled, it takes some of the 'bite' out of the whisky on a hot summer's day. 

If you’re worried about melting ice diluting your dram, try adding a slice of frozen pear. It perfectly complements the fresh and fruity pear notes in our Glenfiddich 12 Year Old whisky. Better still, the pear will chill the whisky but won’t dilute it.

The original summer serve

If you're a traditionalist, you can't beat a classic highball, the original ‘summer serve’ of Scotch topped up with soda water and ice. There's nothing wrong with diluting your drink, in fact our Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, often adds as much as 50% water to his dram when tasting to really bring out the subtlest of flavours.

Exciting new Serves

For the more adventurous among you, Roman Foltan, expert mixologist at The Langham Hotel’s Artesian Bar, has prepared some truly exceptional serves that compliment the unique flavours profiles of our 12, 15 and 18 Year Old single malts. My personal favourite on a sunny day is the 'Super Sonic' – 50mls of Glenfiddich 12 mixed with 'sonic', a 50/50 mix of soda and tonic, served over crushed ice with a slice of lemon.

But of course, each of our expressions has its own unique taste profile. With a little bit of experimentation, I discovered that adding a slice of fresh orange instead of ice complements the sweet flavours of our 15 Year Old expression perfectly.

When I’m making a ‘super sonic’ with Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, I tend to stick to the 12 Year Old recipe, adding a slice of lime instead, to add a dash of contrast to this deep and characterful whisky.

For an enhanced flavour, always remember to slide the rind of your lemon, orange or lime around the rim of your glass before serving.

How you choose to enjoy your dram this summer is entirely up to you, but I hope I've whet your appetite with these serving suggestions. For even more ideas on how to enjoy your dram, follow me on Twitter @DistillerMillar.