5 Boston-Area Whiskey Tastings Where You Can Learn While You Sip

There are almost as many types and classes of whiskey as there are wine. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the intricacies of what separates whiskey from bourbon and bourbon from scotch are enough to make your head spin. That is, unless you have a knowledgable guide to walk you through it.

Whether you are a connoisseur or looking to expand your cocktail options, these 5 Boston area bars offer fabulous whiskey tastings, with a side of knowledge.

1. The Haven

This Jamaica Plain spot declares itself the only authentic Scottish bar in New England. Their fall scotch tasting events and Dram Nights feature four to six single malt Scotches from rotating Scottish distilleries. They also serve a selection of cheeses and a history lesson on the featured distilleries. Dram Nights are held on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. and are $30 per person.

2. The Hawthorne

Sunday Sips at The Hawthorne is a popular tasting series that often features whiskey. Distillery experts such as Dave Avery and Allan Roth educate participants on the day's featured spirit. On November 11 you can learn about Wild Turkey, and on Nov. 18 Glenffidich will be featured. Samples are sold by the ounce every Sunday at 5 p.m. in The Hawthorne’s Stone Room.

3. Saloon

Whiskey Wednesdays at Saloon consist of dinner and cocktail pairings. On the first Wednesday of each month, guests can enjoy an entire meal created around one distillery's whiskeys. Rather than being served in drams, the liquor is mixed into unique cocktails that complement your meal. Prices vary.

4. The Smoke Shop

Known for their incredible barbecue, The Smoke Shop has locations in Assembly Row, Kendall Square, and the Seaport. On December 4, they will debut their new monthly whiskey tastings and classes. The “Home for the Holiday” event on Dec. 4 and 5 will feature Boston-area distilleries and include cocktail tutorials. Classes are $46.19 per person.

5. Wink & Nod

Wink & Nod is serious about their scotch. So serious in fact, they have their own Scotch Club. Each month a representative from a different distillery educates members with a tasting flight. Best of all, the tastings are complimentary once you pay your one-time $20 membership fee.