What is a flight?
We’re not talking airplanes or staircases here. In the world of liquor a flight is a grouping of samples of similar spirits. They are usually comprised of 3 to 5 different samples. The main purpose of a flight is to highlight the similarities and differences of the chosen spirits.
Aren’t flights just rounds of shots?
While it may look like your bartender just brought you a round for all of your friends, flights are intended to be sipped. You’re not trying to get drunk here. Again, the main purpose of trying a flight is to compare the spirits. Ultimately you should walk away with a better understanding of the spirit. If you take each of the samples as a shot, you’re likely to end up stumbling away with nothing gained.
So no shots. How do I get the most out of a flight?
I’m glad you asked! When doing a flight, don’t drink all of one sample before moving onto the next. You want to drink all of the samples in sync to really get the best comparisons. The beauty of a flight is that you have 3-5 different wines/whiskeys/beers at one time, rather than one after the other.
Ok I tasted them, but I don’t know too much about the spirits in my flight.
That’s pretty normal. Many bars/restaurants will have handouts to give you more information about what you’re drinking. These handouts will usually have a tasting description from the distiller/brewer/maker.
Or, see if your favorite watering hole offers guided flight tastings. These are class-like groups lead by someone who can give you more information such as the history of the spirit and anything special about how it’s made.
One last question: How do you pick what spirits should go in a flight?
Every good flight has a central theme. For scotch it could be a collection of blended scotches or the same brand with different ages. You could try a wine flight of oaked vs unoaked wines. OR a bourbon flight focused on one flavoring grain. The possibilities are endless.