Whiskey expert Nate Ganapathi shares the right way to enjoy scotch (hint: get rid of the rocks) and his upcoming event at Miami's Rooftop at E11EVEN.
Calling all scotch aficionados! On July 16, Rooftop at E11EVEN will be hosting the ultimate men’s gathering complete with hor d'oeuvres, cigars, and, you guessed it: scotch. Lots of it. In anticipation for a long night of drinking (E11even is Miami’s only 24/7 showclub, after all) we sat down with whisky expert and co-host Nate Ganapathi to ask him some burning questions.
What is the rarest scotch that will be served at the event on July 16? NATE GANAPATHI: Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015. It is the 200th anniversary edition of the Cairdeas, a very difficult bottle to obtain and one of the best whiskies you will have in your entire life. A close second is the Lore.
Can you give us some detailed characteristics of this rare scotch? NG: Essentially, there is sweet and there is smoky in scotch whisky. Sweet is generally from the highland area of Scotland; smoky from the Islay area. Laphroaig is coming out with sweet, smoky whiskies combining what was known for Highland whisky into a smoky Islay whisky now. The Lore tastes like caramel—it’s very long and lingering. It’s got a fantastic taste to it and an incredible amount of smoke on the nose, into the palate, and finish.
What is the difference between scotch, whiskey, and bourbon? NG: Scotch and bourbon are both forms of whiskey. So the whisky concept is kind of a misconception because no one really understands the exact difference. A single malt scotch whisky is specifically from Scotland. So scotch would be essentially a patented trademark name that you can only use if you made the whisky in Scotland. Bourbon is American and can only be from Kentucky. A single malt can be from anywhere in the world but it cannot be a scotch unless it is from Scotland.
Why do scotch and cigars go hand-in-hand? NG: It’s kind of an unwritten rule that scotch and cigars go hand-in-hand. It depends on what kind of cigar and whisky we have paired. A smoky whisky is very prevalent in the cigars, and those two go hand-in-hand when you taste them together. Even with the kick of the sweet from the Lore, you’ve still got a lot of the smoke that has that resonance to a cigar.
Scotch isn’t just for men. What scotches would you recommend for a woman? NG: It’s great to see so many female whisky drinkers now, especially because a woman’s palate is probably better than a man’s palate, by far. I have hosted a lot of events where women show up, and I can speak to them almost better than I can speak to the men about it. I would definitely go with something sweeter. Macallan is great, Balvenie is fantastic.
Is there a right or wrong way to drink scotch? NG: There is a right way and there are a ton of wrong ways. The only real way to drink whiskey would be as is, and if you want to open it up, two to four drops of hot water. If you have ice in your whiskey, it’s going to cool the whiskey. If you have cool whiskey in your mouth, it will inhibit your tongue. So, your tongue won’t have the sense to taste everything coming out in that whiskey. A lot of people like the ice ball and they like the rocks and things like that, but that is actually the most painful thing to witness. I used to be one of those guys, before I knew how to drink, and if you really know how to drink, you’re going to drink it just straight up.
What is the proper way to keep and store scotch? NG: Room temperature. You don’t want it high up. I like to leave it on the floor because that is going to be your coolest point in any house.