When you have a tour and taste activity plan included on your vacation itinerary, then you are in for an exciting adventure.
Whether you are headed to a whisky tour, you are planning an excursion to the bourbon trail, or you are just visiting a small local micro-distillery, must remember to bring your good manners.
Follow these tips when you go to a distillery so that you can have an awesome time. The last thing you wish to happen is a drunken brawl because you have oversampled what’s on the tasting menu.
1. Never Expect Special Treatment
One of the attitudes that irk most tasting staff is overbearing behaviour. Make sure you don’t name drop even if you know the owners.
Jumping the line on a packed Saturday night and expecting a private tour is just a huge turn-off. At a distillery, everyone is treated equally. You will all get deluxe treatment because you are the guests.
2. Make Advanced Preparations
It is totally acceptable to make advanced preparations. In fact, if you are a large group of more than ten, it is polite to call ahead, so you don’t overwhelm the tasting room.
This also guarantees that you get a spot during peak hours. If you want more personalised service, they can even give you off-peak slots.
Calling before your scheduled visit also helps you plan so you’ll know what to expect in terms of tour fees or tasting menus.
3. Keep Those Hands Off the Machinery
Those shiny pieces of the machine in your whisky tour are all pretty to look at because they’re sparkly. However, resist the urge to touch them because some of them are hot. You certainly don’t want to burn yourself!
And most of all, you don’t want to break any equipment. For sanitation and for the sake of hygiene, keep your fingers away from the fermenting tanks.
4. Be Mindful of Other People’s Palates
If you are given a whisky flavour that you don’t like, don’t make a nasty face and shout “disgusting” at the top of your lungs. That unique hot chilli whisky may not be your cup of tea, but it could be someone else’s favourite.
Remember that a lot of time, money, and effort go into the production of the spirits you are tasting, so be open to suggestions and be polite when you do speak your mind. There are many diplomatic ways to say that something doesn’t suit your taste buds.
5. Take Sips and Not Huge Gulps
If you are tasting single-malt whisky, then don’t chug it down like there’s no tomorrow. Take sips and savour the flavour of the whisky. The goal is to taste the drink; that’s why it is called a tasting menu.
If you gulp too much and demand a lot, you can get wasted. And you know how the tongue loosens when you have had too much to drink. Avoid any embarrassing drunken behaviour by keeping your mouth in check.
6. Resist the Urge to Haggle
The prices in the tasting room are set. You are not in a flea market, so resist the urge to haggle. Honouring the price shows that you respect the distillery process. They are there for a reason, so don’t bargain to get a good deal.
7. Show Your Appreciation
You’d be surprised that most tour fees are very cheap. Some don’t even cover the cost of the time that a host spends with you, along with all the liquor you get to taste. When the time comes, it would be very polite to buy at least one bottle.
If you don’t find anything you like on the menu, then just get the smallest one to be a token gift for that whisk aficionado in your life. And do leave a tip for that tasting staff to show your appreciation.
When you have scheduled your distillery tour, come in a full stomach, so you don’t feel the effects of alcohol instantly. Feel free to ask your host questions, but don’t monopolise the conversation.
By minding your manners, you won’t be that overbearing visitor that gets on everyone’s nerves. And most of all, the best etiquette is to come with a designated driver. You don’t want to get behind the wheel after sampling the tasting menu.