The 101 Whisk(e)y Challenge

When ordering a drink from a bartender I often get order anxiety.  I freeze, frantically scan the whisk(e)y selection, and then end up ordering an Old Fashioned.  This process was not helping in my ultimate goal of expanding on my whisk(e)y palate and trying new things, so I decided 2013 is the year to break this mold and learn how to overcome my boring ordering habits!


After racking my brain I decided to run over to Strand Books and pick up Ian Buxton’s latest edition of 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.  What I like about this book is that it is free of pretentiousness and filled with accessible whiskies.  One night, I slipped my brand new unopened book into my  purse and headed downtown to the Brandy Library.  I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to go about trying these whiskies – was I going to start from page one or randomly open to a page in the book?  I decided I would open the book to any page and choose the whisk(e)y featured.  This worked out pretty well the first time, but when I tried for a second whisk(e)y it took a lot of time to choose one that the Brandy Library had in its stocks.  After chatting with the whisk(e)y sommelier, I decided to turn the book over to him and let him do the choosing.  Thanks to his expertise, I was pleased to find the whiskies he chose were both very different yet equally delicious.

I’d like to invite you to join me on my 101 whisk(e)y challenge.  To help you get started, I recommend the following establishments to visit on your journey.

The Brandy Library


A NYC staple for whisky aficionado’s this establishment has some of the most unique whiskies around.  Perfect for cozying up with a dram and melting into one of their oversized leather couches.

The Flatiron Room


One of NYC’s newest whisk(e)y establishments this venue offers over 600 whiskies and live entertainment.  You can even purchase your own bottle which will be kept in your personal whisk(e)y locker!

Caledonia Scottish Pub


A cozy Scottish pub with a knowledgeable and friendly bar staff.  The perfect place to call your neighborhood bar!

The Highlands


Trendy as it’s home of the West Village, the Highlands is a true gastropub inspired by Glasgow and Dublin.  There is always a great crowd here and the staff will pour you a malt or mix you up a cocktail with one of their 130 bottles of Scotch.

I would love to hear where your favorite whisk(e)y establishment is!


4 responses to “The 101 Whisk(e)y Challenge

  • jibarican

    OMG! Thank You for this list. I am often in NY CIty (from westchester) dancing Mambo, and purposely arrive early to find a venue where I can have a nice glass or two of good whiskey. As you may have noticed, good whiskey isn’t very ample at regular bars. I almost gave up but, I stumbled upon you. I need an place that is not pretentious, just the average chap who likes a wonderful spirit! Thank You so dearly much for taking the time to write this post with a sample venue list. I’m going to follow you. 😀

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