Whiskey 101: Choose a bottle and mix a drink

Nov. 7, 2011 at 12:12 PM ET

Blame it on "Mad Men." Blame it on an image of sexy sophistication we aspire to. Blame it on the alcohol. Whatever the reason, a growing number of women are discovering and enjoying whiskey.

Still, to some, that shelf of brown spirits still seems like "boys only" territory – and it's intimidating. What do I order at a bar? Do I want it neat? (I do like things neat...). What brand should I choose? Will I even like it?  

Whiskey expert and Glenfiddich brand ambassador Heather Greene has launched a campaign called Women & Whiskey, a series of events to introduce dames to the drink. In this video, she explains some whiskey basics. For entertaining, here are two classic (and one modern) cocktail recipes that only require a few ingredients – most of which you'll be able to find at any liquor store. And of course, gorgeous tumblers wouldn't hurt, either. We love these by Alessi for $22.

velocityartanddesign.com /
Alessi crystal whiskey tumbler, $22.

Old Fashioned

*This is a spin on the classic Old Fashioned; it typically uses American Bourbon, but here we have used single malt Scotch!

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters 
  • 2 orange slices 
  • 3 oz Glenfiddich 12 or Balvenie 12

Place the sugar cube at the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Saturate the cube with the bitters. Add one orange slice and muddle the ingredients with a muddler. Fill the glass with ice cubes, then the Scotch, and stir well. Garnish with a second orange slice.

Rob Roy

  • 1 ½ oz Glenfiddich 12 or Balvenie 12
  • ¼ oz sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters, to taste
  • Luxardo Maraschino cherry

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir well until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a real Maraschino cherry (Luxardo are the gold standard).

The Speyside Cocktail

  • 2 parts Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
  • ½ part Dolin blanc vermouth
  • 4 dashes of peach bitters

Combine ingredients in an Old-Fashioned glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with a lemon peel, squeezed to express oils.