Aerate your spirits may surprise you, but in reality it is the same as for wine! It will allow the different aromas to express themselves, to harmonize, and thus to be appreciated at their maximum. By aerating your spirit you will be able to release its character, its expression. And character, whether it is a whisky, a sake, a Cognac or other, your spirit has plenty of it!
Of course, a number of aspects must be taken into account, as there can be great differences within the same family of spirits.
What should you consider in order to aerate your spirits?
The percentage of alcohol
The higher the percentage of your spirit, the more it will be necessary to aerate it in order to benefit from a harmony between the aromas and the alcohol. Alcohol has the property of being very volatile and some aromatic compounds being heavier than others.
Unlike old wines, it is important to give some old spirits, or spirits that have had a significant amount of time to age, time to reveal themselves. And this concerns all vintage spirits because some of them are vey old. This is particularly the case for Cognac and Armagnac with vintages before 1900 (but worth a small fortune)!
We also find old vintages of Rum. You can find out more by looking at the different labels used. The oldest categories are Extra Old and Hors d’âge.
Finally, let’s not forget the very old whiskies with 50 years of age… and more!
All these spirits have waited decades for us to appreciate their aromas. So let’s take the time to let them reveal themselves to us!
How to aerate your spirits?
In many ways that are similar to the world of wine, you have many options to aerate your spirits.
Use different glasses
Which glass you choose will depend on various factors, starting with the spirit in question. However, we can specify that, whatever the alcohol, the INAO type glass is the “all-purpose” glass.
Otherwise, some glasses have wider shapes, allowing a larger volume to be in contact with the oxygen, which can accelerate the process. Others have narrower shapes to concentrate the aromas.
It is interesting to look at the two main Cognac glasses: the tulip glass and the balloon glass. The tulip glass has a distinctive shape that allows the aromas to be better captured and concentrated. The balloon glass allows for intense oxygenation of the Cognac (or other spirit). Its large volume can be beneficial in some cases. Moreover, its small foot will encourage us to hold the glass in the palm of our hand, an interesting thing in case the spirit needs to be warmed up to reach the necessary room temperature.
Be careful though, too much oxygenation surface can be harmful. For this reason, choose balloon glasses with a capacity of between 25 and 30cl.
Serve in advance
In a simpler way you can just serve your spirit in advance, 2 hours before, even if of course it will depend on the spirit. Be careful in this case to think about it and to pay attention to the room temperature! Simple but not the most convenient.
Use a carafe
As with wine, you can give it a boost. However, be careful with the use of the decanter. Keeping your spirit in a carafe for a long time is certainly pleasant from an aesthetic point of view (it is even very classy!), but it will make it lose its character in the long run!
Even if Aveine was first designed to fit wine bottles, it can also be used for some spirits bottles. This will depend essentially on their shape and volume. Unlike the other techniques mentioned, the Aveine aerator allows you to achieve precise and measured aeration instantly.
Take into account the volume left in your bottle
The lower the level of your bottle, the more you will realize that your spirit loses its aromatic intensity… until it seems “bland”. A basic rule to remember is that as soon as you pass the halfway point of your container, your spirit will lose character. The ideal would be to favor the consumption of this bottle rather than another one that would have a better level. You can also choose to change your container to a smaller one.
Take the time to enjoy things: let your spirit breathe!
Once again, taking the time to do things is essential. In this case, let your spirit reveal all its complexity. Take the time to discover it and in front of a lot of power, a lot of alcohol, give it time to mellow. And if it is an old bottle, give it time to emerge from its rest so that it can tell you the most exciting of stories. You’ll have a great time discovering their evolution!