Every step of the way, we should always remember the importance of living life to the fullest and making the most of every experience with every chance we get. There are several ways to give yourself that much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and a whisky-tasting experience ranks pretty high on that list. Ever gone wine tasting at a fair or while touring around a distillery?
It is safe to say that it is one of the most wholesome experiences ever, especially when you tour a location that treats you to exquisite liquor you can’t just find hanging out of any store or shop. With so many different flavors and unique tastes, whisky-tasting tours are among the best memories of a lifetime. You experience new flavors, fun activities, and entertainment here and there.
A Good Palate Equals A Good Experience
Whisky and wine tasting is a highly formal affair and offers a great chance to feel sophisticated for an evening while enjoying expensive, high-end liquor. However, before you pop right into a whisky-tasting event, there are a few things that you should note. One of which is that, depending on your level of preparation and experience, you might have a better experience than the next guy. Now do we mean whisky and wine tasting is complicated?
A few things could dampen the mood and experience of a good whisky tasting, and the state of your palate is one of those few things. Before you go Googling “whisky tasting near me,” you should know a few things first to have that experience of a lifetime.
In the rest of this article, we will look at one of the most important preparations to enjoy a wholesome whisky-tasting event to cleanse your palate. We will keep it slow and simple, briefly reminding you of your palette and how it affects your whisky-tasting experience. As well as looking at a potential problem, we will help you with an effective solution. In this way, you are up and ready to have the experience of a lifetime.
So, whether you’re going to a whisky tasting this weekend or hosting one yourself, here are some tips for how and why to properly cleanse your palate.
What is a Palette, and how Does it Affect Your Taste Buds?
The word palate” is most often used to express a good sense of taste void of food residue, especially where liquor is concerned. It defines the taste buds’ ability to pick nice flavors. Many people assume that having a clean palate is the same as having a clean tongue. However, there are more accurate perspectives of the palate and its role in tasting. The palate is located on the roof of the mouth, and food or drinks that we take in come into contact with the palate.
While many ensure a clean tongue, a clean palate is rarely upheld. Although this might not matter in everyday eating and drinking, when it comes to picking high-end flavors and having a wholesome tasting experience, a clean palate is non-negotiable. Intentionally and subconsciously, when we take spicy foods or drinks, we bring them into contact with different palate cleansers, with the palate cleansers cleansing the roof of the palate, tongue and mouth to help you pick out the underlying flavors. However, the chances of missing out on such an experience are very high, with a palate in not-so-good shape.
Why Do You Need to Cleanse Your Palate When Tasting Whiskey?
Cleansing your palate is an expression and an activity that matters, especially if you have liquor and wine tasting in your plans. A palate that could be in better shape is dulled up and cannot uniquely pick out different flavors and tastes, especially in drinks. Whisky liquor has a very strong taste and a wide variety of flavors. Many distillers pride themselves on their ability to create a masterpiece that gives that burst of flavor, and picking it out is a whole different experience of its own.
When you cleanse your palate with a good palate cleanser before such activity as whisky and wine tasting, you fully allow your taste buds to appreciate the subtle differences between different whiskies. You will need a clean palate to notice the subtle differences. Many palates are used to cheap, mass-produced whisky and taste available on the market. However, a whisky-tasting activity puts different palate-thrilling flavors in front of yo. You get the first hand experience in the front row of high-end, artisanal whiskies with delicate underlying tones and hints of many different fruit flavors. What other way to experience this that with a clean palate.
What should you do before a whisky tasting?
Let’s leave the whole palate cleansing part for a while and look into what you should not do before going a whisky-tasting experience. We will return to the palate cleansing part next and discuss it more extensively.
First and foremost, by all means, avoid putting anything with a strong taste in your mouth before you go. It includes strong drinks as well as very spicy foods or fatty foods, bitter meals, and exceedingly hot or cold substances. It could mess up your taste buds faster than a kettle can boil. Instead, try sticking to neutral-tasting water and light foods with mild tastes. If you still feel like your taste buds come off a bit funny, we recommend flossing and brushing your teeth, especially your tongue.
Avoid scrubbing too hard, as you will only do yourself more harm than good. You should still completely avoid meals with spicy foods or fatty foods and drinks. Taking food along with whisky tasting is, as a matter of fact, a real thing. Certain foods go wonderfully well with whisky, usually served at the tasting. Don’t restrict yourself in a bid to enjoy a wholesome experience. It will only dampen the mood. An example of such a food is cheese.
How to Cleanse Your Palate at a Whiskey-Tasting?
In many cases, whisky-tasting organizers will have palate cleansers to ensure their attendees have a wholesome experience. It usually comes as part of the full package, which is thoughtful and nice. Nonetheless, you can get a good palate cleanser to ensure your palate is clean and ready for a burst of flavor in several ways. Here are some tested and trusted methods to get that clean palate ready for the taste of a lifetime:
We have said it and will say it again, maybe even a few times over the next course. Nature’s way to cleanse your mouth and palate is always the best, anytime and any day, and this case is no exception. Water, the universal solvent and readily available friend of man, is a top way to cleanse your mouth and palate. A glass of water is enough to cleanse your mouth and palate before and between whisky and wine tastings while keeping you hydrated and your mouth fresh! That’s not all! Water also can reduce the amount of ethanol in the whisky, which helps the underlying flavor deliver an exciting pop!
Although water is recommended, remember to ensure that it is neutral water you are using to cleanse your mouth and palate. Flavored or infused water will only defeat the purpose of cleansing your palate and why you need water in the first place. Avoid water with extreme temperatures, as sparkling water at room temperature water does the palate cleansing trick well, and room temperature water is enough.
Crackers or bread
You might not have heard it before, but crackers do much more than be tasty sacks in times of need. Dry slices of plain white bread and crackers are excellent at cleansing your palate, absorbing any lingering flavors or leftover liquid food residue, from the food residue previous whisky you just tasted. It works like magic, right?
Here is a side note to remember when using these flavor-mopping snacks and crackers to wipe up the aftertaste of whiskey from your palate: You must only use plain white bread and crackers without adding flavors. Cheese-flavored crackers, sundried tomato crackers or focaccia bread and crackers won’t do, as they will leave a long-lasting taste in your mouth that will cover the flavor of your next whisky.
Once again, nature is here to save you from a bad experience with all-natural, whole fruit as a palate cleanser, except this time with a little flavor, a bit of extra fiber, and a splash of color. However, not just any fruit works here, as watery fruits are the most effective at cleaning up the aftertaste from your palate. Always aim for neutral flavors with lots of water.
Common fruits that will work as great palate cleanser are watermelons, apples, cucumbers, and bananas, but remember to serve and eat these foods at room temperature for optimal palate cleansing.
Fruit juices can also be used if they have no added sugar. Apple juice is cheap and easy, but if you use apples or fruit, ensure the fruit is at room temperature.
Other Occasions When you Need a Palate Cleanser
Here’s a little tip: In whiskey tasting, having a clean palate us a non negotiable factor. However, there are other occasions to enjoy the benefits of a clean palate. One of which is getting the best taste from what food goes into your mouth. You definitely need a good natural wipe first! Any food or drink where you want the flavors to shine would require you to give yourself a clean, good palate for the best experience.
Cheese boards are often served with bread, crackers, cheese, celery, herbs, and fruit. Although the crackers and white bread or cheese in the bread itself are usually used as vessels for the cheese, they can also be used to cleanse your palate between tasting different items on the board. The bread, cheese, herbs and other garnishes—grapes, apples, cheese, herbs, cheese, or celery—are predominantly palate cleansers to ensure you can taste every bite of cheese properly.
Aside from whisky, wine is probably the most common alcoholic drink consumed at a wine tasting. Making wine is an age-old art, and wine culture has been refining it for millennia, resulting in some wines of absolutely astounding quality. To enjoy wine, and taste the true flavors of expensive vintage wines, wine tastings are usually accompanied with cheese, white bread, crackers and various foods served as palate cleansers to consume between glasses of wine.
Michelin Star Food
Chefs often include many different foods as palate cleansers between dishes when serving high-end food, such as at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Taster menus are common at restaurants with a Michelin star, as they offer many courses of food served to showcase what the chefs can do. These are generally around 7–9 courses of small dishes of foods and wines that are elegantly presented and have many flavors with intense and underlying tones.
To ensure diners have clean palates after they eat a strong-tasting dish (such as a fish course) and full taste buds before they eat a milder one (such different cheeses such as cheese as dessert), these taster menus often have lemon sorbet between courses to reset the taste buds.
Sushi is all about the delicate balance of flavors served. Although the rolls we eat are small—some would even say “bite-sized”—they are packed with vegetables, fruits, herbs, sauces, and seafood, precisely measured to ensure perfect flavor balance. To ensure diners get to taste the full flavor experience of every roll they eat, sushi bars usually serve pickled ginger that can be used as a palate cleanser between sushi rolls eaten.
Other Reasons to Cleanse Your Palate with Palate Cleansers
Always remember that whisky is there to be savored, so don’t just start necking your glasses. You will have a few glasses to get through, so sip slowly and savor every mouthful. The general idea is to hold the glass to the light to check the color. Next up, please give it a smell. Feel free to swirl it around as you do this, which helps release the aroma. Whisky glasses are designed so you can smell the flavors as you take a sip.
Contrary to popular belief, spitting your whisky, wine or sparkling water out at a tasting is unnecessary. Some people may spit their wine out the first sip, as this may get the palate used to the strong alcohol before going in properly. However, this is all down to personal choice and taste, and if you want to do a swig before you swallow your whisky, or next wine then by all means do!
A common mistake at a whisky tasting is asking for your drink “on the rocks.” Ice cools your drink down, and our palates get weaker to neutral taste when they are cold, so you won’t be able to taste flavors in the whisky as well as you should. If you feel that flavor in the drink is too strong, add a little splash of room-temperature water to weaken it without compromising the flavor.
How to serve whisky correctly
When you are at a professional whisky or wine tasting, your host will serve your food, wine and drinks in a pre-designated order. Because stronger whiskies are more overwhelming and require much longer to cleanse the palate after consumption than light one, it is recommended to serve lighter, sweet whiskies with food first and then progress to the stronger, spicy ones.
If you’re hosting your own whisky tasting, remember that lightness isn’t about the light flavor or neutral taste or the light color but the strength, so try all the flavors of your whiskies yourself first to find out which order to serve your guests. Also, try to spread out the pace of neutral flavors and neutral taste of the drinks so your guests don’t get too drunk.
Now it’s time to search for “whisky tasting near me.”
If you’ve got a clean palate and are up for a thrilling fresh start to test out your whiskey tasting skills, you might be thinking, “Where’s the best place for a whisky-tasting near me? Usually, you want to be looking at high-end bars or cocktail joints, although many whisky brewers also offer tastings of their spirits to interested guests. Besides these options, checking social media for any whisky-tasting groups in your area is always a good idea.
Visit Town’s End Stillhouse and Grill Today
Now you know everything you need to know about whisky tasting. From getting your palate ready for the whisky to tasting it, there are many things to consider and a clean palate is on that list.
Always remember, the idea isn’t to get drunk; it’s to enjoy the taste, so if you want to taste some of the finest whiskies in the area, then drop by and visit us at Town’s End Stillhouse and Grill, where you can even watch and learn as we homebrew our spirits.