5 Scotch Whisky Groomsman Gifts

If you have a groomsman who loves whisky... well you're luck because it's really easy to get him a fantastic gift. See our very best suggestions for a groomsman who enjoys himself a nip of scotch from time to time.If you’re getting married and thinking about a gift for your groomsman, might I suggest one related to the finest drink in all of the land – scotch?

A friend of mine asked me what would make a good gift for groomsman and honestly I never thought about it. I went online and saw some really silly ideas, like blending kits and aging kits and engraved barrels.

C’mon… that’s ridiculous. It’s expensive and who wants to AGE whisky in their basement? I don’t. I want it aged in a warehouse by professionals and I’ll enjoy the product of their experience and expertise. 🙂

Here are five real suggestions for groomsman gifts if your groomsmen are all fans of whisky.

A Bottle of Scotch

Credit: Vacacion

Credit: Vacacion

Clearly, the best possible gift you could get is a bottle of scotch. Decide your budget for the gift and then select a bottle at the store that fits within your budget. It doesn’t get much easier than that and I guarantee your groomsman will love it. If they don’t, I’ll come to your wedding in their place.

Who would turn their nose up at a bottle of Scotch, right? Here’s a list of double gold medal winners under $100.

Depending on your budget, you could also go with a gift set, where you bestow not only a bottle but a few glasses as well to enjoy them. Gift sets can get pricey relative to the Scotch you get. You might see the gift set be 50-100% higher than the bottle alone, sometimes less if you’re lucky.

You can get bottles engraved too for some extra flair.


whisky-decanterA decanter is a nice gift because decanters get displayed somewhere. A constant reminder of your friendship and of, hopefully, all the fun you’ll have at your wedding.

Whisky decanters are pretty easy to buy, just remember to avoid leaded decanters and get something nice. You can get a set if you want but even just a well designed decanter on its own is a fine gift. Here’s a list of decanters I like.

If you want bonus points, get it engraved.

Hip Flask

Visol Hunter Leather Hip Flask Gift SetHip flasks are great because everyone likes a flask and they’re generally inexpensive, which is great if you have a lot of groomsmen and a small budget. A simple metal one will suffice, the more expensive ones are just heavier, and you can really make it stand out by getting it engraved. The downside to a flask is that a lot of men already have flasks, so you’ll have to consider that.

If you do get it engraved, be a good groom by engraving it with their name/initials – not the date of your wedding. Your groomsman will remember where we got it, not need to put it on the flask. 🙂

Travel Bar

Picnic Time Manhattan Insulated Two Bottle Cocktail CaseBar Tool Kit, MahoganyWhat’s a travel bar you say? It’s simply a nice case that holds bottles and glassware. It’s a traveling bar!

Pictured to the right is a super high end travel bar, the Picnic Time Manhattan Insulated Two-Bottle Cocktail Case/Bar Tool Kit in Mahogany, it’s nearly $150. It also looks amazing. Not sure how often your groomsman will use it but chances are they’ll be wow’d – especially if you throw in two single malts and get rid of those silly martini glasses.

Engraved Glassware

Pick the perfect set of glasses and then get them engraved. It’s simple, you know he’ll use them, and it’s pretty easy to do. This is a good idea if your groomsmen like to drink spirits but not necessarily scotch, since glass is glass and he can put whatever hew ants in it.

Do you have any good ideas for groomsmen gifts I missed?

Are Whisky Stones Worth It?

Source: visualpanicWhisky stones are little cubes of soapstone that you can “freeze” and then put in your whisky to chill it a little bit. Whisky stones are perfectly safe, unless you’re clumsy and drop the rocks in too hard.

They’re growing in popularity as a fun little accessory to get your whisky drinking friend because they’re cheap. Teroforma sells a set of 9 stones for under twenty bucks.

But are they worth it? Eh, I’m indifferent.

I’ve had a bag of whisky rocks in my freezer for at least five years and I’ve probably used it fewer than five times in my life. In fact, my wife uses more than I do to to chill Riesling!

The reality is that I enjoy my whisky in one of two ways – neat or in a cocktail. When I enjoy it neat, I like it at room temperature. We keep our house a little cooler in the winter and a little warmer in the summer but generally speaking it’s within a comfortable range.

There have been studies that show that temperature affects taste. In the science journal Nature, researchers revealed that “heat activation of TRPM4 underlies thermal sensitivity of sweet taste.”

In plain English, that simply means you are more sensitive to sweetness when something is warmer (the researched showed the same was true for umami and bitter). That’s why melted ice cream often tastes too sweet and why warm beer tastes more bitter.

Chilling whisky will impact your ability to perceive certain flavors on your tongue. I don’t want that.

For now, those stones will sit in my freezer until my lovely wife wants another glass of not-quite-cold-enough Riesling.

I’ve been getting some questions about different whisky stone brands – they’re all the same. It’s soapstone and there’s really no differentiation between one brand and another, the only difference is the packaging so pick whatever you think looks nice.

Do you use whisky stones? What’s your take on them?

Best Scotch Whisky Ice Ball Mold

Credit: Kyle May

Credit: Kyle May

Do you put ice in your scotch?

Most of the time, I don’t. I enjoy my scotch neat but I understand when people want to put some ice in their whisky.

Sometimes, I’ll put some water or ice in bourbon or higher alcohol content whiskies because I find that higher alcohol content makes it harder for my palate to enjoy the subtler flavors. With a little water, it really opens up.

When it comes to cocktails, you need ice. And when you want the temperature to drop but you don’t want to add too much water, the most effective way is to use an ice ball.

Why are ice balls better?

It’s all about surface area. A sphere has less surface area than a cube and so by using a sphere, the ice melts slower. Slower melting ice means slower cooling but it also means less water is introduce as you enjoy your beverage.

What’s the best ice ball for scotch?

For a cool £650.00 you can get the Macallan Ice Ball Maker, which basically melts a huge block of ice into a 65mm ice ball (a hair over 2.5″). I would prefer to buy a small mold and use the rest on actual Macallan (or Balvenie or anything except an ice ball maker).

For those of us with more brains than budget, I recommend the Tovolo Ice Molds. For less than ten dollars you get two silicon molds that make you 2.5″ ice balls. The mold itself is 3.5″ wide and 6″ high and they stack.

Tovolo also makes HUGE ice cube trays, as in two inch wide cubes.

Bigger cubes don’t necessarily melt any faster or slower but they look really amazing. Especially if you take the time to make perfectly clear ice cubes.

Another design I like is the Arctic Chill, though I’ve never used it. It’s a little pricier but it comes with a set of 4, also makes 2.5″ ice spheres, and is BPA free silicon.

In the end, as long as the seal is good (check reviews) and they don’t fall over when they’re freezing, you should be all set.

In Defense of the Double Old Fashioned Glass

ravenscroft-crystal-taylor-fashioned-glassesRead enough whisky blogs, or any articles where they talk about glassware and spirits you drink neat, and you’ll notice that most experts don’t recommend the iconic Old Fashioned glass.

When you’re enjoying something neat, most recommend scotch glasses that taper at the mouth.

The advantage of the taper is that it concentrates the aromas. When you stick your snozz into that baby, you’re get a straight shot of everything good and great about scotch piped directly into your brain. In the beginning, this will be a lot. Too much. Like turning on a flood light the second you wake up.

Eventually, as you ease into it, you’ll begin to enjoy it more. Sometimes you’ll need a few drops of water but eventually it’ll open up. You’ll start to detect various scents like caramel, dry and fresh fruit, vanilla, citrus peel, … the list goes on. That’s the beauty of the tapered mouth – it directs those scents right to your brain.

The disadvantage? Good luck making a cocktail in one!

The walls of a Reidel seem too too thin and delicate for ice, let alone mixing. A Glencairn’s tapered mouth makes getting anything other than the spirit inside a challenge. And it also looks… wrong. I can’t imagine a slice of fruit sitting on the edge of a Copita nosing glass.

That’s why you always need a few classic Old Fashioned glasses in your bar.

They don’t taper. They aren’t delicate. They’re workhorses.

The walls are vertical because they’re designed to hold an Old Fashioned cocktail (hence the name). The walls are also thicker, so you can muddle in the glass if you need to, and more accepting of ice cubes, especially massive ones.

So, the next time you’re thinking about glassware (as I know we all do), give the Old Fashioned some love, even if you’re enjoying it neat. 🙂

Special & Unique Scotch Whisky Glasses

When you walk into a bar and order a whisky, chances are you’ll get a tumbler or Old Fashioned glass. Visit a friend who is a fan of whisky and you might see a Glencairn or, depending on how much he or she likes to spend on glassware, perhaps a Riedel.

While these are all perfectly fine glasses for drinking whisky, and each has their own character, they’re still pretty common. Your average spirit aficionado will have one of these types of glasses already. Personally, I have all three (and they’re great).

What I don’t have, is an whisky glass etched with the continent of the globe. Or one with a silver rim like the ones in Mad Men.

I present to you, four special and unique whisky glasses that I guarantee you probably don’t have but probably want. 🙂

Etched Globe Whiskey Glasses

etched-globe-scotch-glassIt looks exactly as you expect it to look – a glass that has the continents of the world etched on its sides. The etched area has a frosted glass look and the capacity of each glass is 12 ounces, which is more than enough to fit a dram of your favorite whisky. You can get a set that includes an etched globe decanter, with a distinct apothecary feel to it, though I recommend going directly to the Wine Enthusiast site for the set (it’s cheaper than Amazon).

Mad Men Silver Rimmed Glasses

mad-men-whisky-glassAnother fun Wine Enthusiast glass is what they call the Madison Avenue Whiskey glass, which has a 1960s chic look with silver rim and “vintage” design. I don’t personally like this style of glassware but if your whisky cabinet or bar has a vintage feel, why not accentuate it with glassware to match?

This is also available with personalization if you buy it from Wine Enthusiast directly

Double Wall Manhattan Style Old Fashioned

sun-tea-double-wall-manhattanIf you like ice in your whisky, or just whisky stones, then a double wall whisky glass might be something that looks great and is functional. The double wall keeps your drink cooler longer because your hand doesn’t transfer heat as easily to the whisky. I’ve never seen a double wall whisky glass before.

Rocking Whiskey Glasses

rocking-whisky-glassTake a regular whisky glass, then put a little knob at the bottom – what do you get? A rocking whisky glass. Sagaform, and others, make glassware that you can rock back and forth, thus allowing you to swirl the whisky, without fearing it’ll fall over. It’s a fun little design that strikes me as gimmicky but still fun.

Personally, I like one of the traditional whisky glasses but if you’re looking for a gift, sometimes it’s fun to go off the beaten path and pick up some glasses you know your gift recipient probably doesn’t have.