The Singani Way
There is a way for Singani—a way to get the most out of Singani, and then, a way to "be" Singani. In time, these things will be here. For now, here is how to drink Singani.
How to drink Singani
Not everything can be drunk straight. In fact, a lot of people cannot tolerate the taste of liquor without it being mixed with something else first. In contrast, people's judgment of Singani is that it is smooth enough to drink straight. And more, since Singani has a taste profile all its own, it is not mainly the taste of ethanol that you experience, as you would in vodka for example. These characteristics, smooth and flavorful, make Singani something that can be drunk straight by many people who would not do so otherwise.
There actually is a best temperature at which to drink Singani if you are going to drink it straight. It's not a "correct" temperature, or a "right" temperature, it's just more or less the better temperature to get the most out of it. That temperature is 60ºF, which is slightly cool, but not cold.
The easiest way to know if you're sort of in the ballpark is to grab the bottle. If it feels like just a bottle, then it is probably a bit too warm, and if the bottle feels warm to the touch, it is definitely too warm. Conversely, if it feels like it came from the refrigerator not long ago, it is too cold. The bottle should feel cool to the touch but not cold. Find a place to store it where it can be at that temperature, coolish to the touch.
The reason is that around 60 degrees the spirit's aromatics are evident but it is too cool to throw off a lot of ethanol vapor. Much warmer and the ethanol gets peppy, so when you lift the glass to your face you get a snootful of ethanol fumes. (For this reason, Singani should never be candled. It is not a brandy, and heating it up is just going gas you, not a pleasant thing.)
When it is cold, Singani's aromas get sleepy, they're there, but they wont be as intense. In those cases when you want to tone it down a bit, a chill shot works very well.
It's very fine
If you are in the mood to get the most out of Singani, this is how.
- Pour one to two ounces of Singani into a small cool glass
- Raise the glass and allow the aromatics to be drawn into your nose (no need to sniff, just breathe slowly in through your nose is enough)
- Take in about ½ ounce of the Singani and hold it in your closed mouth briefly while the aromatics rise to your nose from the inside
- Swallow, making sure your lips are closed; drawing air through your mouth while swallowing will carburate the spirit and cause you to inhale fumes or even have the spirit go down the wrong way
- Exhale naturally and slowly through mouth and nose being alert to what your nose tells you
How to look like you know what you're doing.
- Pour no more than one ounce of Singani in a shot glass
- In one smooth motion, bring the glass to your lips, tilt head slightly to get it all in, close lips well, swallow
- Never swallow with your mouth open, when your friends have to pound you on your back it will not look sophisticated
- Keep your eyes open, don't wince like a newbie
- Exhale strongly and say aah deep in your throat
- Optional: slam the shot glass down like a Russian
There are times when a shot of Singani chilled just hits the spot. To get it icy cold, keep it in the freezer. Put your shot glasses in as well so they're ready.
- Pour no more than one ounce of Singani in a cold shot glass.
- Avoid handling excessively as this will warm the drink.
- Bring to lips, draw in, don't be in a hurry, pause a bit to savor, close lips firmly, swallow
This is best understood by watching the video. It's the sort of thing that looks easy, but actually requires practice. The footnote would be, as always, swallow with lips (mouth) closed.
Singani and ice
Singani cocktails and ice work well because the spirit is in a dance with other ingredients and ice helps chill the drink and bring them together.
However, if Singani is the main ingredient in a cocktail or is the only ingredient (meaning straight) it is best not to allow Singani to come into direct contact with ice. Singani on the rocks should never happen, any more than you would drop chunks of ice into a glass of champagne or into a snifter of cognac.
Singani is a carefully bred aromatic profile. Putting it in contact with ice alters that profile. You don't ice up a cabernet sauvignon, you don't ice up a Singani. Chill OK, ice no, unless you are mixing a cocktail. Even cocktails benefit from pre-chilled ingredients rather than ice.