Going to a specific tasting event in a bar or restaurant can be quite daunting - especially if you don't really know what to expect and what's going to happen.
It’s common for many establishments to be rather stingy on the details, preferring to let the event do the talking, instead of actually providing decent information on what to expect.
This is all well and good, but doesn’t really help when you are a newbie and perhaps apprehensive about attending. For one, there’s going to be other random people there, as well as some bartender pouring drinks and shaking cocktails while the likelihood of looking like a complete knob by saying the wrong thing is usually rather high.
Personally I’ve attended quite a few of these events with Finest and still get butterflies before walking in, especially conceding the fact that I pretty much look like a knob most of the time anyway. And sound like one. Therefore we thought it a good idea to look into exactly how these events are run, and hopefully what you can expect.
In order to do this, we spoke to Max Phillips, Assistant General Manager at Whiskey Jar, who host regular Whiskey Tasting events and therefore should know exactly what I’m talking about – whiskey of course, being a drink that many find difficult to “get into” or perhaps a bit snobbish.
“Whenever I talk to people about Whiskey Tastings I always try to emphasise how relaxed they are, especially considering how intimidating whiskey can be, and the fact that we have nearly 400 of them“. Max says “trying to alleviate the fears and apprehension of the customer is one of the most important aspects of our events.”
He is keen to emphasise how the best way to “run the tastings is the same way [they] try to run the bar; which is a laid back approach with definitely no snobby-ness. It’s more of a conversation about whiskey with a lot of back and forth between everybody, with the person running the event sitting down and trying the drinks alongside the guests”
Looking at what Whiskey Jar offer, their Tasting Sessions last between 1.5 and 2 hours and include an in-depth look at production techniques and regional differences, and allows for any questions throughout. They cover a range of whiskeys from all over the world, usually entailing 4 different drinks that are picked on the day.
Max explains how the “tasting sessions are very relaxed and not in the least bit intimidating with all customers leaving smiling, even the odd couple that didn’t like whiskey to begin with!” Something which may be music to the ears of anyone who is keen to get stuck in, but may feel intimidated about the setting in general.
There are always plenty of taster evenings all around the city each week – last week I attended a Gin tasting event at The Lowry Hotel, as well as a Pickled Gin event at Sugar Rays with Portobello Road Gin. Even though I’ll probably still get butterflies, and probably still end up looking a knob, they are the perfect opportunity to try something new, or get to know more about something you already enjoy.
For more details on Whiskey Jar’s Taster Events, check out their Events page right here.
Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF
0161 237 5686