A typical dram for me is approx. 50 ml or the size of a miniature bottle. But, as with everything, there is no rule without exceptions. Sometimes I pour a very large (XXL) dram(?!) to enjoy the whole evening. A typical whisky evening for me can consist of several different whiskies and also from different regions.
However, I really don't care what you do with your whisky - I hear it mixes particularly well with green tea, but that's your call to make.
These meanings derive from the use of dram as a unit of weight, equal to 60 grains, or 1/8 of an ounce, in apothecaries' weight (3.88 grams metric), or 1/16 of an ounce in standard avoirdupois weight (1.77 grams metric; apothecaries' and avoirdupois ounces are not identical).
The original weight from which this measure comes is the ancient Greek drachma, which was both a unit of currency and a unit of weight. Drachma, going through Latin and French, ended up in fourteenth-century English as dragme. Since this is somewhat difficult to pronounce, it was phonetically reduced to the form dram, which is what we use today."
BOOOOORRRRIINNG! A dram is as much as you want it to be, usually measured as "decent sized", good" or "measly"!
Our English friends (at least, those of you who knew Denis Thatcher!) will be well acquainted with the term "a snifter", or a tincture, a refresher, a reviver, a snorter etc. In each case, a measure of spirits (usually gin, in a g&t?) which depends on the drinker's mood, or the host's generosity.
So far as I'm aware (our US cousins can put me right on this), an American "shot" is an unquantified measure of spirits too - it's size determined by the pourer's mood, or the situation in which it is poured. I'm not sure if the Canadians use this term, or have their own equivalent.
In Lowland Scotland, many folks (usually older folks?) still refer to "a wee goldie" - a glass of whisky which is often anything but "wee" in quantity.
There must be a French equivalent for such a term - can anyone tell us what it is? Ditto the Aussies.
At other distilleries they pour you a shot of 20 ml and that's it. So it varies a lot.
If you're a small group and you start to socialize with the people serving the samples you can practically spend a lot of time and also taste a lot of whisky.
My “dram” is 3/8 of an oz. (10ml). And I typically have 3 different whiskies in an evening because I like to do comparisons. Also I like a lighter whisky before I try a smoky peaty one. It seems to enhance the smoke--which I enjoy. I like to have a light fruity malt after the evening meal. I limit myself to 1 oz. or less of spirits since I also always have a small glass of red wine with dinner.
I have boarderline osteoporosis and therefore, have to watch my intake of alcohol. Interestingly enough, a little alcohol is supposed to stimulate bone replacement but more than a moderate amount hinders it.
Bob & Jill, Colorado
Hmm, should there be a poll to gather statistics of this matter among WM forum readers? Options would be in "metrics" 10ml, 20ml, 40ml or "something else", or should there be more options?
As we generally do 12 whiskies, this translates to 6 oz over the course of 3-4 hours, which is tolerable to the body. There is a snack at the mid point and a driver is always laid on to ferry the participants home. It is what a "reasonable man" would always do especially in light of Ontario DWI legislation.
For dramming in my whisky lair, it's whatever you wish to free pour, which generally falls into the 1 1/2 oz range. Moderation is important, eh? Musky P.
I too was looking for the meaning of dram. After reading this thread am I correct in assuming a dram is more of a slang word being used meaning a "little bit"? And does it only apply more to whisky or all spirits? And is the word dram used more in Europe (UK) or is it used in all the whisky circles including the US?
Next time I walk into a bar I'm going to call out for a dram of whisky and see how the bartender reacts.
I'm in the learning stages off all this so excuse the lame questions.
Both cultures are generally known for their warmth, welcoming and joviality. But there is also another charachter which is not as obvious. It is an understated politness amongst themselves which was very much present in the bygone days.
In Ireland we use the word drop and probably can be directly swapped for Dram in Scotland, but it is not used as much nowdays like Dram is. But my grandfathers era whould always use drop especially in regards to a "drop of the craythur"
Example would be if people were visiting for whatever reason it was always seen as polite to offer a drink to you visitor ... however it was also polite to retort "only a small drop" ... so in Scotland I would imagine it would end up a person saying something "only a wee dram". However the politness would be returned once again by pouring a drop which ended up being a large one. Hence the dram was always much more than the actualy physical measurement.
However there maybe a more sinister reason for all this politness. If there was any occasion being held by a family and the neighbours were invited there was always the presure of putting the best foot forward, especially with funerals (wakes) & weddings. Therefore it was expected of you to offer a visitor a drink and this became the norm. However the visitor could not be seen to be there for the free drink and would reciprocate in the politest of fashions by asking for a small drink and not look like a greedy so and so infront of all the other persons present. But the final presure was how generous one's drop would be ... nothing like small town chat from your neighbours to put on the pressure.
WhiskyBill wrote:Next time I walk into a bar I'm going to call out for a dram of whisky and see how the bartender reacts.
OK - we go out for dinner to a nice restaurant/bar that seems to have a good selection of whisky's - it's a full bar. I ask the a waitress for dram of the The Macallan 12, shes says huh - what's a dram? I said just tell the bartender and he will know. I end up getting a Brandy snifter with about 1oz (a shot) of whisky for $25USD . I would have suspected double of whisky amount after Goggling the retail price on my iPhone and finding the local retail price at $45 for 750ml. It was a smooth and light drop however and bought a bottle (NOT at the bar).
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