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How to Drink Whiskey Neat

If you’re looking for a way to appreciate a complex spirit like whiskey, drinking it “neat” can be a great place to start.  Here’s our complete guide to drinking – and savoring – whiskey neat.  

What Does “Whiskey Neat” Mean?

Drinking whiskey “neat” means enjoying whiskey by itself, at room temperature, without any mixers or dilution. It’s one way to appreciate the complexities and nuances in an aged Irish whiskey like Redbreast. 

How Do You Drink Whiskey Neat?

Whiskey poured in a glass

There are a few things to pay attention to – including glassware, size of the pour, temperature and how to taste – when you sip whiskey neat. 


Glassware: While you can enjoy Redbreast from any type of glassware, we recommend using a tulip-shaped or Glencairn glass. The tulip shape, which has a wide base and a narrower top, allows the aromas to gather and concentrate in the glass, and the amount of headroom gives you enough space to enjoy these aromas. 


Pouring: Start with two ounces of whiskey. This is a standard pour for neat whiskey – if you ask for whiskey neat at a bar, this is what the bartender will serve.  


Temperature: Neat whiskey is typically served at room temperature (60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit). Drinking whiskey at room temperature allows you to experience all the flavors – chilling the whiskey can mute the flavors, hiding some of the complexities.  


Tasting: Once you’re all set up, it’s time to taste the whiskey. Start by smelling the whiskey, taking time to note the subtle aromas. What do you smell? Vanilla? Spices? Wood? 


Then, take small sips, allowing the whiskey to coat your palate. It’s important to go slowly. Explore the flavor profile – what notes do you taste? Is it fruity? Nutty? When you swallow, what is the finish like? Is it warming? Smooth? How long does it last? Are there flavors and aromas you notice only after you’ve swallowed?  


That’s it! If you’re a beginner to drinking whiskey neat, you might notice a lot of alcohol flavors at first. It may take a bit of time and practice to start noticing some of the subtler flavors. 

Other Ways to Enjoy Whiskey

Whiskey on the rocks

Neat is just one way to enjoy whiskey. Here are some other ways to experience the complex flavors and aromas.  

On the Rocks

Whiskey over ice or “on the rocks” can be a refreshing choice. The ice subtly dilutes the whiskey, making the alcohol flavor less harsh while still allowing you to experience many of the whiskey’s subtler notes.  


We recommend you start with one or two ice cubes. If the whiskey gets too cold, you might not be able to enjoy all the different flavors.

Whiskey With Water

Adding a few drops of water is another way to enjoy whiskey. Water can open up the spirit, releasing more aromas. Like ice, water can soften whiskey’s intensity by dampening the burn from the alcohol. 

In a Cocktail

Whiskey is a versatile base for cocktails and mixers. It’s a star player in classics like the Manhattan, whiskey sour and old fashioned. Some of our favorite flavor combinations are:  


  • Deep flavors like coffee or chocolate 
  • Fruit juices like orange juice, cranberry juice or apple juice 
  • Ginger ale or ginger beer 
  • Cola 
  • Soda water 

Explore our selection of cocktail recipes and discover new ways to enjoy Redbreast. 

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Other Whiskey Drinks You’ll Love

Manhattan Cocktail


Whiskey Sour Cocktail

Whiskey Sour

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioned