Liquor Laboratory

How To Drink Whiskey Without Burn: Answered (2024)

How To Drink Whiskey Without Burn

If you have ever tried drinking whiskey or other strong spirits, you know how unpleasant it is to experience a burning sensation. 

The good thing is – you can train your palate to get used to it and enjoy whiskey’s flavors.  

But what causes the burning sensation? How do you drink whiskey without the burn? Let’s find out.    

Top 10 Effective Tips of How To Drink Whiskey Without Burn

10. Mix With Water

man adding water on whisky

Drinking neat whiskey, straight whiskey, or whiskey over ice is the best. But you can also enjoy whiskey with a few drops of water. 

A drop of water can help open the whiskey’s other flavors and ease the initial alcoholic sting.

It can also help pick out some more subtle flavors in the drink, reducing whiskey burn. 

We suggest using deionized or distilled water to reduce the strength of the whiskey. 

9. Use Some Mixers

Most whiskey drinkers believe one should drink it neat to enjoy its flavor and aromas. However, this can also lead to whiskey burn. 

Fruit juices and even soft drinks are great mixers for whiskey.

When you start drinking whiskey, make sure to have a glass of fruit juice to enhance the flavor and aroma of the drink. 

There are various types of fruit juices that you can experiment with, but you must avoid strong juices, such as grape juice, as they can destroy the natural characteristics of the drink.

8. Chill Your Whiskey

According to alcohol experts, whiskey should only be enjoyed at room temperature to get its unique flavor and taste. 

However, chilling it for two hours before drinking it can help reduce the burning sensation. But should you chill whiskey or drink it straight?

Unlike other beverages, alcohol doesn’t freeze.

So you can keep your whiskey in the fridge or deep freezers, though this is not recommended. But drinking chilled whiskey can help reduce the burning sensation.

Alternatively, adding ice cubes or using whiskey stones can help chill your whiskey.  

7. Exhale Deeply 

  • Before Taking A Sip

Exhaling before drinking alcohol can help reduce the burn [1] that you might feel. 

When you inhale as you drink, the alcohol fumes escape to your mucus membranes and nerves in your nasal passage– causing a burning sensation.

  • After Taking A Sip

While taking a drink of whiskey, inhale a large amount of air from both your lungs.

After you have swallowed the drink, exhale the remaining air in your lungs and inhale. 

6. Sip Chasers

  • Before Drinking

The taste of neat whiskey can be overpowering in one’s mouth.

To lessen the effect of this unpleasant taste, you can try drinking the chaser before consuming the whiskey. 

Doing so will help wash away the taste and minimize the burning sensation.

  • After Drinking

A chaser is a soft drink that you can drink immediately after drinking whiskey.

This will help relieve the burning sensation in your mouth and throat and allow you to drink more frequently. 

Although it’s important to drink a few drops, other beverages such as lemonade, water, and cola can also help ease the effects of the burning feeling.

5. Suck On Lime Wedges

cutting lime into wedges

Lime wedges are typically offered at no extra charge in most bars.

Some people consume them while they’re drinking hard liquor in order to reduce whiskey burn.

4. Sip Small, Sip Slow

Instead of drinking large amounts of whiskey, such as bourbon, Irish whiskey, or single malt Scotch, you should take smaller sips. 

Smaller sips will allow you to enjoy the flavors of the drink without having to swallow it immediately. 

Also, by holding your drink on your tongue, you’ll spread it around your mouth, lessening the alcohol content and helping decrease the burning sensation.

3. Drop Some Ice Cubes

Another way to chill whiskey is adding some ice cubes– reducing the burning feeling.

But ice cubes melt quickly, watering your whiskey. So you can use whiskey stones as an alternative. 

Adding an ice cube to a shot glass of bourbon whiskey will immediately relieve the burn feel of the drink. 

2. Use It In A Cocktail

A good whiskey makes a great cocktail.

It’s best to use strong whiskeys in a cocktail with ginger ale, club soda, and soft drinks for less burn and less alcohol yet additional flavor.

Club soda is a good mix when it comes to reducing the burn of whiskey.

Unlike fruit juices or other soft drinks, it does not contain sugar and will not add any sweetness to your drink.

It doesn’t have extra calories and lets you experience fewer hangover symptoms.  

1. Practice More

man drinking a whisky

One of the finest ways to enjoy a good whiskey without burning yourself is to practice.

This is similar to how you would break down your muscles after working out. 

Doing the same thing to your mouth and throat will help improve delicate tissues and nerve cells. 

The more you drink whiskey, the more likely you’ll start to tolerate it. This can take a while, and it will eventually be fine. 

However, if you practice more along with other methods, you can easily drink whiskey without the burning sensation. 

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain, Writer/Entrepreneur

What Causes Whiskey Burn?

Various factors can cause the burning sensation that you might experience after drinking whiskey.

One of these is the presence of VR1 receptors in your mouth and throat. 

These VR1 receptors are designed to notify your brain when something hurts or burns.

They also have nerve cells designed to stop you from consuming or drinking something that’s dangerously hot.

The VR1 receptors in your mouth and throat will notify the brain whenever you drink whiskey.

If you’re alerted to the burning sensation, you can either stop drinking the drink or try to calm it down by drinking water. 

This burning sensation can also occur when you eat something that has high concentrations of stinging spices.

Do All Types Of Whiskey Have Whiskey Burn?

shelves of liqour

Different types of whiskey, such as Irish whiskey, Scotch whisky, bourbon, Japanese whisky, rye whiskey, and malt whiskey, can cause this burning sensation.

The higher the ABV, the more it can cause this sensation. 

For instance, if bourbon whiskey has an ABV of 60%, it will have a more intense burning sensation than Scotch whisky or any alcohol with a 40% ABV.

The quality of the whiskey will also affect the burn. For instance, beer or smooth and finely aged whiskey has a lower burning sensation than hard liquor. 

However, regardless of the brand, quality, or alcohol content [2], most whiskeys will still burn your throat.

To minimize this burn, you need to find ways to reduce or mitigate it.  


What is the smoothest whiskey without burn?

The smoothest whiskey without burn is the Redbreast 12-Year-Old. This smooth whiskey was aged in Oloroso barrels, giving it a rich and nutty flavor. 
No whiskey burn was found in this particular whiskey, making it a great drink on its own or in an Irish coffee.

Is it normal for your stomach to burn after drinking whiskey?

Yes, it is normal for your stomach to burn after drinking whiskey, especially strong ones.

What causes the burn when drinking whiskey?

The burn when drinking whiskey is often caused by the alcohol content and the sensation of the spirit hitting the throat.

How can I enjoy whiskey without experiencing the burn?

You can enjoy whiskey without burn by taking small sips, diluting it with water or ice, or choosing smoother, lower-proof whiskeys.

Should I drink whiskey neat to avoid the burn?

Drinking whiskey neat can intensify the burn, but some people enjoy the full flavor experience. If you want to avoid burn, consider adding water or ice to your whiskey.

What is the best way to dilute whiskey to reduce burn?

Adding a few drops of water or a single ice cube to your whiskey can help dilute it, mellowing the flavor and reducing the burn.

Does the type of glassware affect the burn of whiskey?

Yes, using a tulip-shaped glass or a whiskey tumbler can help concentrate the aroma while minimizing the burn by directing the whiskey away from the nose and throat.

Does letting whiskey breathe reduce burn?

Allowing whiskey to breathe in the glass for a few minutes can help soften the alcohol aroma and flavor, potentially reducing the burn upon drinking.

Key Takeaways

Even if you buy a high-end bottle of whiskey, you’ll likely experience a burning throat after drinking it. 

You can reduce the severity of this experience in various ways. Eventually, you will find a strategy that works for your personal preference and taste buds.

Most importantly, practice is the key. The more you try whiskey, the more you can get accustomed to the feeling. 

Also, it’s best to drink whiskey the proper way and in small sips, be it neat, straight, over ice, or with a chaser.  


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