My first bottle share experience *photo courtesy of Aaron Krouse
I’ve done a lot of things in my years writing about food and drinks but up until last summer, I wasn’t aware of this phenomenon known as “bottle shares.” I had heard of the term in conjunction to craft beer but in the case of whiskey clubs, these communal and friendly nights can be anything from just wow to oh my god, what is happening!? For this month’s Spirits Week, I wanted to do a deep dive into the world of sharing a tipple with friends which I formerly just called parties.
First, here are some general tips:
The host may provide glasses for tasting but feel free to bring your own glassware (the glass of choice tends to be a Glencairn). Bring multiple glasses so you can create your own flights. I have also seen people bring their own water (to rinse the glass and/or to drink).
Bring a bottle of two to share a drink. Don’t worry if no one tries your bottle(s). There is a lot of booze. If the theme is whisk(e)y, stick to the theme but it’s okay to bring something really special you want to share as well.
You may know the host well enough to know their collection so try not to bring anything they might have. This is like going to a restaurant and paying a corkage fee on a wine you brought when the restaurant has it in stock.
If you’re at a bottle share with serious whisky drinkers and collectors, it’s best to ask if you could take home a sample. Don’t bring sample bottles expecting to fill them up. This is bad form– like bringing tupperware to a party and taking home all the deviled eggs.
Blackadder – Smoking Islay
I showed up to what I thought was a BBQ and brought some amari for the hosts. I didn’t actually realize people were sharing bottles that night. So I lucked out and tried a few whiskies and some rum and and and… well, I didn’t actually take pictures of much at the time nor did I bust out the fancy mini light until the very end. I had not expected to write about my experience but after going to a few, I felt compelled to share essentially some bottle porn.
My first forays to the large table of booze (shown above) led me to pick out some spirits I have had before at the most fancy bars I’ve been to. I gravitated towards the Blackadder immediately. I like this independent bottler and I wasn’t disappointed with their 11 year Islay Scotch.
Faultline x Seven Grand
I went to Seven Grand when they opened 11 years ago and made the switch from my college vodka to whiskey. Through the years I’ve become interested in other spirits categories but my first true love is whiskey. And it was delightful I had this Faultline release of Caol Ila picked for Seven Grand.
Foursquare Rum Ex Bourbon Cask
Sometimes the whiskey guys get a little tired of their usual drink and get outside their comfort zone. I spotted this Foursquare rum aged in ex bourbon casks (though the whiskey guys don’t get that far from the whiskey sometimes). Read my F oursquare/ Real McCoy post for more on this darling that’s been called the Pappy of rum.
The Balvenine 14 Peated Triple Cask, Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 (from duty free)
And yes, I finally got out the light to take pics (mostly because I went inside the house to get my jacket in the rapidly cooling Southern California night). At this point, I had lost track of how much I tasted. I probably hit around 15 different whiskies and rums which is a very small percentage of what was available to taste. It’s a good thing there are more bottle share nights!
In my next post, I’ll talk about the really massive bottle shares that people from all around the world participate in.
Bottle Share Nights
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