Liquor Laboratory

How to Drink Macallan: Mastering the Art of Whisky Enjoyment

How To Drink Macallan

For most people, Scotch is associated with its intense flavors and smoky profiles, making it hard to choose which would be an excellent introductory choice.

However, Macallan is not your typical whisky; it’s easy to love, not overly peaty, and free from artificial coloring. It is a bottle that I always have in my cabinet.

But do you know how to drink Macallan in the most enjoyable way? Here’s how I do it. 

4 Ways of How To Drink Macallan Scotch Whisky

Close Up Image of Macallan Whiskey Bottle Label

1. Neat/Straight

When it comes to Macallan or any good single-malt Scotch, most whisky drinkers I know would say, “Drink straight or neat.” 

It will let you experience its full range of flavors, whatever expression you have, whether it is Macallan Double Cask or Triple Cask. 

Drinking straight will also let you enjoy an incredibly smooth texture from its long aging process using sherry casks. 

2. On The Rocks

Adding ice or an ice ball is the best way to drink an old sneaky bottle of Macallan lurking around your liquor cabinet. This one will help bring out more flavors of the fine Scotch, slightly chill it, and dilute the strong alcohol flavors for a refreshing drinking experience. 

However, the size of the ice plays a crucial role here. I recommend using a slightly large ice ball instead of small ice cubes or whisky stones.

It will melt slower than cubes because it has no edges, diluting your drink much slower.

3. Add Water

Glass of Whiskey

Adding a few drops of water to your Macallan whisky may seem unconventional, but it’s a practice that a single malt enthusiast may appreciate.

Macallan draws more flavors from its oak casks as whisky ages, like oak, spices, vanilla custard, candied orange, and spicy notes.

“Scotch needs water like a fish needs a bicycle.” – W. C. Fields, American Actor

But like with ice, adding a splash of water brings out some sweet flavors and subtle notes of the single malts. But what’s the best Macallan whisky?

4. In Cocktails

But of course, for mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts, using Macallan to craft cocktails is the best way to drink it. If you’re familiar with the Three Drinkers, try Helena Nicklin’s twist on a classic Manhattan using a Macallan. 

I recommend using Macallan Fine Oak if you’re still new to mixing cocktails. This is your versatile and affordable choice if you’re planning for large occasions.

You can also garnish your cocktails with a lemon twist.

Read: Macallan vs Lagavulin

Tips To Do Before Drinking Macallan

Bottles of Macallan

Drink It At Room Temperature

Since sipping neat or straight is the best way to drink Macallan, that also means that you will have to down it at room temperature. 

It is where the single malt whiskies can genuinely express their true essence, allowing the flavors and aromas to shine without any additions.

It is the original intention of any whisky, especially for premium expressions from Macallan. Some experts also suggest making Macallan warmer using your palm for a better Macallan sipping experience. 

Use The Right Glass

Since we’re talking about Macallan, finding the correct drinking glass would somehow affect your drinking experience, especially if you have a limited edition bottle. 

Whisky enthusiasts recommend the tulip-shaped glass when sipping straight or neat. According to them, this glass helps concentrate the aromas of the liquor [1] when you sip them.

If you notice, these glasses are also where wines are usually served to enhance their smell. 

Look At The Colors

Macallan offers a beautiful spectrum, from light gold to deep mahogany, showcasing its aging period using ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. 

It also depends on how long the aging period took place. The Macallan Triple Cask line has a lighter shade of gold, while the Sherry Casks line has a deeper mahogany shade. 

The shade of the Macallan Double Cask line is between the two, proving that the time and oak barrels add complexity to any dark liquor. 

Check For “Legs” 

Two Bottles of Macallan

As you swirl the glass gently, you can now observe Macallan’s legs or tears. It will give you insights into the whisky’s viscosity and potential flavor.

For instance, if the leg moves rapidly in the glass, the whisky has a lighter feel in the mouth, while the slower movement indicates a heavier feel when you sip it. 

Another thing you can observe from this one is the whisky’s alcohol content. If persistent beads form after you shake the glass, its alcohol content is over 50% ABV. 

Smell The Aromas

After checking the appearance, it’s time to bring the glass to your nose and take a deep breath. You may also need to tilt your glass slightly and let the hidden scents reveal themselves. 

Macallan will give you aromas of oak, spice, fruit, and other scents.

Finally, Taste Your Whisky

For the final and most exciting step, you can now have the first sip of your Macallan drink. Hold the liquor and let it coat your palate briefly before swallowing.

“Its fruity charm, toffee sweetness, and a hint of nutty allure make Macallan a perfect introduction to Scotch.” – Liquor Laboratory 

The best way to drink this spirit is by savoring the drink every second inside your mouth. 


How is Macallan served?

Macallan can be served neat, with ice or a splash of water. You can also serve it in cocktails, as long as it suits your preference.

What do you mix Macallan with?

Macallan can be mixed with other cocktail mixers like sweet vermouth and bitters, creating a Rob Roy (Manhattan) [2].

Is Macallan whisky top shelf?

Yes, Macallan whisky is top-shelf. Macallan Distillery produces some of the most expensive whiskies ever sold worldwide under the Macallan whisky label.

Should I drink Macallan neat or with water?

It depends on your preference. Some people prefer to drink Macallan neat to fully appreciate its flavors and aromas, while others prefer to add a few drops of water to open up the whisky and release more subtle flavors.

What glassware should I use to drink Macallan?

Many whisky enthusiasts prefer to use a Glencairn glass or a tulip-shaped glass, as these glasses help concentrate the aromas and enhance the tasting experience. However, any clean glass with a narrow opening will work fine.

Should Macallan be served at room temperature or chilled?

It’s generally recommended to serve Macallan at room temperature. Chilling whisky excessively can dull its flavors and aromas, but some people prefer to add a single ice cube to slightly chill the whisky if they find it too strong at room temperature.

Is there a specific way to taste Macallan?

When tasting Macallan, take a small sip and let it roll around your mouth for a few seconds to fully experience the flavors. Note the different taste sensations on your palate, including sweetness, spiciness, and any other notes present in the whisky.

Can I mix Macallan with other drinks?

While some people enjoy mixing whisky with other beverages, many whisky enthusiasts prefer to drink Macallan neat or with a splash of water to fully appreciate its complex flavors. However, ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference.

What food pairs well with Macallan?

Macallan pairs well with a variety of foods, including dark chocolate, cheese, nuts, and smoked meats. Experiment with different combinations to find what you enjoy the most.

In Summary

Macallan is an approachable brand that started in River Spey, Scotland, in 1824. Some Macallan whisky bottles are considered to be among the most expensive whiskies worldwide, making people wonder about the best way to drink it and savor all of its nuances.

However, our team believes you can properly enjoy an incredibly smooth serving of liquor by drinking Macallan according to your preference. 

It doesn’t matter whether you want to drink Macallan straight, add ice, add water, or mix it with cocktails. Everyone has unique taste buds that they want to satisfy.

So next time you have your single or double shot of a good Scotch, the most important thing is to enjoy every sipping experience.


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