Cockfighting, human sacrifice, dinner at Applebee’s—just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right. Take whiskey corks—please—fumes Daily Beast’s Lew Bryson. “It’s 2019, why are we still using this Renaissance-era bottle closure?” Bryson asks.
As he explains, unlike a tiny subset of wines, whiskey doesn’t benefit from exposure to oxygen once it’s bottled. Besides being a poor seal, a cork can break or—oh no!—crumble into your precious drink. For backup, Bryson turns to Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett, who doesn’t put on airs. “The cork is for look, feel, image, a historical feel,” Arnett says. “With modern liners, screw caps give you a better assurance of a seal than a cork.”
Oh, and watch out for lead
In the same spirit, VinePair’s Emily Saladino weighs how to store whiskey. Five factors come into play, she notes: light, oxygen, temperature, position and time. On the first, keep those bottles somewhere shady. On the second, see above—and if you want to cut down on oxygen exposure by transferring your whiskey to a smaller vessel, beware of commercial decanters, many of which contain lead.
If all else fails, there’s another solution. “Drink it all immediately and with great relish,” Saladino says. We like where this is going.