How to Make Malt Whiskey

Learn how you can make homemade whisky using this beginner-friendly guide, and with a bit of time, you’ll have some stellar, smoky batches of malt whiskey.

| May 2019


Although I love a good Scotch whiskey, I must admit I don't drink it all that often. It's definitely the kind of thing I prefer to sip in the company of others. Believe it or not, before I met David, I'm pretty sure I had never even tasted Scotch before. I have heard it said that you either like Scotch or you like bourbon, but not both. You probably won't be surprised to learn that I do, in fact, like bot h. Not usually at the same time, though.

Most often, Scotch is a once-a-year treat at our house. David is a big fan of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland. Burns lived in the late 1700s and died before the age of forty. In addition to being a prolific poet much loved to this day, Burns was also noted for his drinking. Burns' famous poem "Tam O'Shanter" tells the memorable tale of how the narrator had been on an epic drinking binge; he is now on his way home, trying to concoct a plausible explanation for his long-suffering wife. En route, he meets the devil, and much merriment ensues. It's worth buying a book of Burns' poetry just for the poem "To a Louse." The narrator is in church, fascinated by the sight of a louse impertinently crawling on the bonnet of one of the well-dressed society ladies sitting in front of him. But I digress.

On January 25, Robert Burns' birthday, we like to invite a few friends over for a traditional Robbie Burns Day dinner. Almost traditional; I haven't actually ever made a haggis. (You had me at "sheep's stomach.") I read somewhere that roast lamb was a perfectly acceptable substitute, so that's what I do. Then there's the Neeps 'n' Tatties, a mashed blend of potatoes and turnips. Fast-forward to dessert, and enjoy a goodly portion of Tipsy Laird, a trifle-like, sponge­ cake-based concoction laced with both brandy and sherry. Mm mm mmmmm. Excuse me while I go get a snack.

OK, I'm back. So after the dinner, the rest of the evening is spent sampling different single malt whiskies and taking turns reading Robbie Burns poetry while reclining in various comfortable chairs near the woodstove. If you think this is a lovely way to spend a cold winter's evening, you nailed it.




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