How To Ruin An $8 Glass Of Scotch (And How To Save It)

Cutting it with Coke is a bad idea. But according to a Scottish whisky master, being a snob about it is even worse.

So there he is, wearing his Red Sox hat in minus 20, his body snugly clad in Bogner, on vacation, and wanting all of us to know about it. He perambulates from cougar to cougar, howYOUdoin’? his way to the bar. And you sit there sipping your drink, waiting for hot-dog breath to order, pay, and get out of your windburned face. He orders himself some top-shelf Scotch and does so loudly, so we know that he drinks top-shelf Scotch…only he orders it with ginger ale. And you snort. Because cutting a $10 nip of Scotch with anything other than two drops of non-chlorinated water, let alone high-fructose corn syrup, is just…a crime.

Only you’re so, so wrong. Evan Cattanach, 72, told us so. Evan, who hails from Kingussie, Scotland, has worked at 15 Scotch distilleries and now works as a Master of Whiskey for Talisker. “I’ve always believed that you should drink whiskey the way you enjoy it,” he says. “Adding lemonade to good Scotch is a tradition that goes back 100 years.” Evan says a good single malt or blend will stand up to just about any mixer. Which is why he’ll sometimes drink his “barbecue drink,” a measure of Johnnie Red with lots of ice and topped off with ginger ale. “The real crime here is the snobbery itself,” he says. (Shame on us.) “But,” he adds, “when I ski in Scotland I’ll go in for a warmup because the weather’s miserable. And I’m having Lagavulin or Talisker, and I’m having it neat.” So there, Mr. Bogner.