Whisky purists might disapprove, but for Anthony Bourdain “on the rocks” was the way to go. He made very few exceptions to this rule.
A controversial view on whisky
When he talked about the proper way to serve a burger or the best eateries in New York City, no one questioned Anthony Bourdain’s opinion. He was, simply put, a unique authority on food and taste.
Whisky aficionados, however, were not impressed at his insight about their favorite drink. In an interview with writer Dan Dunn for the podcast Drinky Fun Time, Bourdain confessed that he enjoyed whisky with ice, no matter the age of the bottle.
A very special kind of ice
Naturally, the idea of putting ice in a glass of Lagavulin sounds offensive to whisky experts. They might change their minds, though when they hear where the ice came from.
During a trip to Antarctica, Bourdain had some scotch with a shard of ice picked directly from the nearby glacier. That is what we call a once in a lifetime experience. At the time, a crew member joked:
“The ice I just put in your drink is like thousands of years older than even the idea of whisky.”
The exception to the rule
In most cases, Bourdain liked to add a cube to his whisky. It did not matter what most people thought, the world-famous chef would not step back. He said:
“I’m sure many people don’t like when I say it, but unless it’s something really, you know, rare and high-end like this, I’ll put a rock or two in.”
He made one exception to this rule: if the whisky was older than 23 years, then he would drink it neat.
Whisky serving: to each their own
Not every whisky expert thinks Bourdain was being blasphemous. Heather Nelson, managing director at Toulvaddie Distillery in Scotland, thinks that the most important thing is enjoying the experience. She told the Independent:
“Whisky is there for the enjoyment of the drinker, if that means adding ice, water, or whatever it is that enhances your whisky drinking experience, then that is what you should do.”
In other words, the only rule to follow is that of your palate. After all, when one travels as much as Bourdain used to, life gets quite a different taste.