Rum Tasting

Rum has a pretty similar process to tasting as the other alcohols do. If you don’t know what those are I will walk you through them. Notice rum tasting does have a few different things you look out for. Here we go.

  1. Find a glass that allows you to swirl the rum like you would wine and also has an at least somewhat narrow top for you to smell from. You want to allow those aromas to escape the glass in a more compact fashion for when you smell it.
  2. Pour the rum in the glass and notice the color of the rum. Light or white rum is stored in steel or something other than oak. This gives it a clear untouched color. Gold or dark rum is stored in barrels and the length of time it is stored will determine its color. Also what it is stored in has an affect on color. Spiced rum usually has additives to give it color so it doesn’t really count as dark rum. It can, but it also may not.
  3. Swirl the rum allowing aromas to release and take a few smells. Place your nose at a comfortable distance where you are able to focus on the smell of the rum and not the power of the alcohol.
  4. Usually, when tasting rum people will try to swirl the glass again and look at the “legs” running down the glass. You don’t have to do this because it’s actually extremely difficult to determine the level of alcohol content from the legs. There are many factors such as the temperature of the glass or how the glass was cleaned that skew this reading and mislead many. Just go straight to the taste.
  5. So now you taste it. Swish a sip around your mouth to really taste the flavors of the rum. Describe the rum as you taste it…is it sweet, harsh, balanced, or smooth? Does it linger and what flavors can you taste at the end? Those are questions to be asking and answering as you sip the rum.

These are guidelines and everyone does rum tasting a bit differently. Use these steps to create a better rum tasting experience and enjoy!

How to Taste Vodka

Vodka isn’t as simple as you may think. Preconceptions about vodka can mislead you, especially in a taste test. There are actually a lot of different flavors and tastes you can get out of vodka. Let’s learn how.

Do NOT freeze the vodka in a taste test. It’s very common to freeze the vodka in your home and that is totally fine. When taste testing vodka, however, you want it to be room temperature. The reason is when it’s frozen it becomes more viscous which is better for mixing in drinks. Freezing the vodka slows down the molecules (I won’t quote exact science here) which in turn dulls down the taste and smells because the vodkas volatility decreases dramatically when cold. You will find other articles out there saying to freeze it but they are wrong. With warmth comes more volatility and a better experience!

Basic Steps:
  1. The glass. The glass you use for vodka doesn’t matter a whole lot. You could use a classic low-ball or whatever will let you get a good taste in.
  2. Swirl it around just like other alcohols you taste. All this does is gets more aromas in the air, which when the vodka is at room temperature, releases more easily.
  3. Take a sniff or two or three or four. It will likely be pretty harsh so keep your nose at a distance that allows you to pay attention to smells. Vodka can be made from just about anything that can ferment. Commonly, vodka is made using fermented grains (wheat, rye, corn, rice) but it can be made from fruits potatoes and other things too. So see what you can smell.
  4. Take a large sip and swirl it in the mouth just like with other liquors. Pay attention to the sting and also hints of fruit or whatever else the vodka may have been made with. I know that’s vague but see if you can tell the difference between a premium vodka and your stock bar vodka.

That should give you a good feel for what vodka is like! There are fewer guidelines on vodka tasting than other alcohols but apply some of the common concepts and you’ll do just fine.

*Side note* vodka has no color because it isn’t stored in anything wood-like and isn’t aged.

How to Taste Whiskey

A series of steps should be taken to ensure you get the most out of your whiskey taste test. Knowing what to look for and how to taste whiskey will come in handy in many settings down the road. So get prepared:

  1. first step is finding the correct tasting glass. This is very, very important. The glass you should be using is called a Glencairn glass. If you don’t have this exact glass that’s ok. Try to find one similar to it. The point of the glass is to trap in all the aromas and flavors of the whiskey. If you use a standard lowball glass the flavors escape which is unwanted during a taste test. The shape of this glass allows you to put your nose into it with fewer aromas escaping past your nose.
  2. The second thing you do is pour the whiskey into the glass (be sure it is clean). You don’t really need more than about an ounce or an ounce and a half to make a taste test. The color of the whiskey is directly related to the length of time and or type of cask that it was held in. Whiskey is actually clear until it takes on the color of the cask its been held in.

    Anyway, it is now time to smell it. Swirl around the whiskey like you would wine and go in for a smell. Be sure when swirling to hold the bottom of the glass. You don’t want your hand warming the whiskey. Stick your nose into the glass. Be careful, it may be a very strong smell so if after the first smell it is too overwhelming smell from a farther distance. Make several smell tests being very aware of what kinds of smells you are experiencing.

  3. After smelling you are almost ready to taste it. Before tasting, add a small amount of water to it. This will tone down the harshness of the whiskey allowing for a more conscious approach to taste. You won’t be able to enjoy the flavors if your eyes are watering because it’s too strong. Add an amount of water that allows you to taste the flavor. Like any taste test, you want to coat your mouth with the liquid and allow all the tastes to fill your mouth. Chew the whiskey if you can and amplify the tastes in your mouth. Take two to three sips and you should come away with some sort of taste.

If you want even more information on how to taste whiskey check out this video by Richard Patterson.

Difference Between Whiskey and Whisky

The Difference Between Whiskey and Whisky

Where to start?

Bourbon and Scotch actually fall under the umbrella of whisky and whiskey. So, let’s start with whiskey.

Whiskey is made from the same general process as whisky. The United States and Ireland spell whiskey with an e. They also have an e in their names which makes it easy to remember. Japan. Scotland, and Canada spell whisky with no e and don’t have an e in their names.

The difference does not stop in the spelling. Of course, each country or region wants to be unique in its taste and style of whiskey so when you look at how each country makes its whiskey, each is different. With each country, the aging process, or use of grains, or peat, or the whole distilling process can be different.

The main thing to realize is each whiskey or whisky will be unique to its distiller and depending on the country will have a unique process it goes through. Keep in mind Ireland and the U.S. use and e and just about everywhere else does not.

Bourbon vs. scotch

Bourbon and Scotch are unique to their origins. Scotch is a whisky made in Scottland and Bourbon is a whiskey. Whiskey is only called a bourbon if it meets some strict rules:

    • The mash must be at least 51% malted barley, malted rye grain, wheat, corn, or rye
    • Must be stored in a charred oak container
    • No additives allowed

The difference between Tennessee whiskey and bourbon is more than just location. Tennessee whiskey is not a bourbon for one because it is only made in Tennessee but also for the way it is filtered or steeped. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are filtered uniquely making them slightly different.

Scotch is whisky made in Scotland and made mostly using malted barley. It has a unique bite to it making it a little harsher than a typical whiskey or bourbon. For a more detailed account on Scotch check out The Five Different Types of Scotch Whisky.

How to Taste Beer

The process for how to taste beer is actually pretty similar to wine. Below are the steps you should take to have a successful beer tasting.

  1. The Look:
    The color of a beer can tell you a lot. It is easy to confuse color with alcohol content but a darker beer doesn’t always mean higher ABV. Guinness is a good example of this only being 4.2% but very dark.
    Each type of beer has a range of color it can be; this range is called the SRM Range. For example, a Pilsner can range from a pale straw color to a darker gold color. An Amber Ale may range from an almost orange color to a brown color. The point is, don’t judge a beer solely by color. Use it as information in guiding the tasting process.
    Pale Ale
    Amber Ale
  2. The Swirl:
    Like wine, swirling the beer releases all the aromas (hops, malts, yeast, etc) into the air allowing for you to smell it much clearer. With beer, you will want to take two sniffs: one from a short distance after swirling and another with your nose inside the glass. The first smell should be from about six inches away and you want to move the glass around a bit to get the beer aromas in the air. After that, swirl some more and like with wine, stick your nose in the glass and inhale. You should be looking noticing how harsh the smell is. Be very present and aware while you smell.
  3. The Taste:
    Now it’s time to taste what you’ve been smelling! Like with wine, you want to make sure the drink you take covers your entire mouth. The more taste buds you engage the better you will be able to judge the beer. The taste should be the final piece of your evaluation. Look for a light or heavy taste. Malts are what color the beer as well as supply the “thickness” in the flavor. Whether or not the beer is light or heavy depends on the malt. Hops are what give the beer a bitter taste. So a really hoppy beer would be more bitter and a heavy or thicker beer would make it maltier.

Champagne vs Sparkling Wine

Let us start with explaining the difference: Champagne vs Sparkling wine. Most people are unaware that they are made in the same process and the same way, however, Champagne is produced in the Champagne region of France near Paris.

All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. It really is just the region in which it was made that allows it to be called Champagne. For the average drinker, when blindfolded you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a $15 bottle of sparkling wine and a $40 bottle of champagne.

This is rather simplified because Champagne does have a rather unique bubble size among other things, but then so does every sparkling wine. Some have larger or smaller bubbles but the CO2 that is trapped in the wine through the fermentation process still sparkles in all of them. Champagne has risen in price over the years which has led to many great sparkling wines being produced.

Types of Sparkling Wine

  • Champagne
  • Cava
  • Espumante
  • Sekt
  • Prosecco
  • Petillant Naturel
  • Sparkling Cider
  • Rose

Check out Whitney Adams going over sparkling wine

Wine Guide

What even is a wine guide? Well, this guide is here to help you understand the proper steps to take at home or a winery or wherever so you can have a good experience.  Follow this wine guide and you are guaranteed a successful wine tasting.

(For a great video on wine tasting go here)

  1. The look:
    How does it look? Look at the color of the wine with a white background if possible. The standard is, the darker the wine the bolder in flavor and richer in taste. These dark red and almost purple wines tend to have more tannins which make the wine a bit more bitter.
    Color Scale for Reds:
    Petite Sirah
    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Pinot Noir
  2. The Smell:
    Ever wonder why people swirl the glass of wine before tasting or smelling it? The answer is simple. Oxygen. When the wine is swirled it oxidizes and releases aromas by breaking down those tannins as mentioned before. It basically amplifies the smells of the wine. To amplify this smell, swirling the wine in the glass is needed. Be careful not to spill when swirling (that would be embarrassing). Some people set the wine glass on a surface and swirl lightly there for more control. If you can do it while holding it then, by all means; swirl away.After swirling, stick your nose into the glass and inhale. Be sure to actually concentrate on the smell!A little note on oxidization: just like when an apple is cut and exposed too long wine too will break down in this way. As the tannins become more and more oxidized the wine will become flat and at times more bitter. Wines with fewer tannins tend to be more bitter so it makes sense that as a wine oxidizes and essentially loses tannins it becomes more bitter. This is why you cork the wine after opening.
  3. The Taste:
    How does it taste? After the smelling is over it is time to taste. When you are just tasting wine and not casually drinking you want to take a larger sip. Not a big gulp but a sip big enough to fill your mouth. The objective here is to get as many taste buds covered in the wine as possible. Hold it in your mouth longer than usual and be very aware of what you’re tasting. Look for tastes of the grape, possibly the oaky barrel it may have been in, and even fruits if it was blended with any. You should walk away from the taste test being able to say if the wine was bitter, sweet, dry, etc. A lot of what you look for in wine comes from the smell also; keep that in mind!


If you liked this wine guide and want another great video of Tim Gaiser a master sommelier here it is!

Table Etiquette

Finding yourself in a professional dining setting without the proper table etiquette skills is stressful and unnecessary. Here are tips on dining etiquette to get you prepared for any situation.

If you like videos better go here

(skip to food and utensils)

Table Etiquette Basics:

The napkin…where does it go?

Things you should do:

  • unfold the napkin in a normal manner and place it on your lap or across one leg
  • use it to dab not wipe your lips or messes
  • place the napkin on your seat when you go to the bathroom or stand up
  • wait until others are seated at your table to place your napkin

Things you shouldn’t do:

  • tuck the napkin into your lap or shirt
  • throw your napkin on your plate at the end of the meal; place it nicely on the plate

The jacket…where does it go?

The jacket is rather situational depending on how formal the setting is that you’re in. Typically, you leave your jacket on and unbutton it when you sit down. You wait for your host to remove his or check his in at a coat check. Never keep a suit jacket buttoned when you sit. It should always be buttoned according to the suit style when standing and unbuttoned when seated.


Food and Utensils:

In a formal setting, the forks will be on the left with the salad fork between the dinner plate and dinner fork. There should be two knives on the right of the dinner plate. It is assumed you will use the inner knife for your salad or whatever appetizer you eat before the dinner.

There are pretty much only two ways to eat with the fork and knife. The American way and the European way. The American way requires you to hold the fork with your left hand and the knife with your right. After cutting the food, place the knife down and put the fork in your right hand to begin eating the cut piece of food. The European way requires you to use your dominant hand to hold the knife and cut the food accordingly. You do not switch hands or place the knife down but rather eat with the hand the fork is in. This saves a step when compared to the American way. Both ways are acceptable today in formal dining settings.

Do not eat until everyone is seated at your table. If you have a host sitting with you, wait for them to take the first bite and then begin to eat. Cut your food into sizeable bites and finish chewing before speaking or taking another bite. To do a proper toast, rehearse what you would like to say beforehand. Be sure to project your voice if it is a larger setting. To begin, stand and raise your glass. Announce you would like to make a toast. It is important to give the other guests a brief moment to also raise their glasses and when they have you may begin your toast.

Proper table etiquette requires politeness and conscious efforts to avoid rude habits or behaviors. Following the steps prior will lead you to a successful table etiquette experience and leave you feeling confident about social settings.

Business Casual Clothing


(skip to women)

Business casual clothing is trending in today’s workplace and in many business settings. So what is acceptable attire and what isn’t? Here are some examples of what may work in your business setting. Keep in mind, business casual has become fairly broad and has a wider range of options. Be up to date in attire and fit the setting. What to notice: Colors, how it fits, accessories, hair, etc.

For more style tips watch this video


Business casual clothing can be overwhelming for you ladies. So many options where do you even start?! Here are some examples. What to notice: Hair, accessories, shoes, fit, etc.

For more business casual clothing tips watch this cool video