IT is an important and popular fact the average Australian gamer is aged in their mid 30s. This is well over the legal drinking age, which means adult gamers can combine two of life’s pleasures – gaming and quality drinkables – into one experience.
Here at Game On Australia, we just bloody love gaming. We also, as it turns out, have several legends who enjoy whisky in its various forms – so we put our heads (and our whisky tumblers) together to come up with some favourites from across the wonderful world of whisky – and bourbon, and rum, and also gin, for good measure.
We’ve put together a list of our suggestions of the best gaming whiskies for Christmas and the New Year, which our fellow over-18s can enjoy responsibly whilst they game this festive season.
CHIVAS REGAL XV GOLD
Chivas blended whisky aged in cognac barrels? Yes please. The latest release from Chivas, known for their smooth blends, is an accessible and unpretentious drink that still has a distinct taste and style of its own.
Blending 15yo malt and grain whiskies with the cognac cask finishing, the drink has some fruit notes. The result is smooth and drinkable, either straight, on the rocks or combined with a mixer.
As a drink best savoured, it’s a good pairing with strategy or tycoon games, where you can really take your time to enjoy the beverage at your own pace as your plans come together on-screen.
Best enjoyed with: Strategy/Tycoon games, such as Transport Fever 2 or Planet Coaster.
Inspired by the Mackinlay Scotch whisky taken to (and left behind) in Antarctica by Sir Ernest Shackleton during the 1907 British Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton is a blended whisky with just the right touch of peat and a blend of whiskies and flavours to create an adventurous drinking experience.
For the true Polar Explorer experience, drink it on the rocks.
Best enjoyed with: Strange Brigade, Civilization VI, Victoria II, any other Grand Strategy game that encourages exploration and/or taking over the world. BYO pith helmet.
Not for the faint-hearted, this is an uncompromising and challenging whisky that is set straight to hardcore mode and definitely not for noobs.
For this reason it pairs well with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – it’s a a duo that is as dividing as it is unapologetic; you’ll either love or hate this pairing and there is no grey are at all.
Best enjoyed with: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, anything else with a difficulty curve that’s really more of a sheer cliff face.
WILD TURKEY 101
There’s a wide variety of Bourbon whiskeys out there, but Wild Turkey is one of the more accessible. For fans of the drink looking to take their experience up a level, Wild Turkey 101 is a worthwhile addition to the liquor cabinet, featuring caramel notes and a mellow taste that’s backed up with more kick than a .45/70 rifle, thanks to it being 101 proof (50.5% alcohol).
It’s not a subtle drink, but it is very enjoyable and an excellent accompaniment to games where action and decisive results are on the cards.
Best enjoyed with: Red Dead Redemption II, Days Gone, any other loud action game with plenty of gunfire and explosions.
Another American classic, with a cult following of loyalists ready to purchase any new release with massive fanfare. Much like the Call of Duty franchise, for that matter, with which Maker’s Mark pairs very well.
As with all bourbons, it works well when drunk neat, on the rocks, mixed with Coke or served as an Old Fashioned.
Best enjoyed with: Call of Duty and other games where gunfire and things blowing up feature prominently.
Canadian Whisky, like Bourbon, is a whole other fandom, but since our features & technology editor is a fan, it gets a mention here.
Canadian Club is a marvellous all-purpose whiskey that is equally drinkable on the rocks, mixed with dry ginger ale or cola, or neat. It’s quite a smooth drink and an excellent go-to for when your gaming session needs that extra something without drawing too much attention to itself.
Best enjoyed with: Anything you like really. Like Canadians themselves, it’s agreeable, friendly, and generally pleasant.
JAMESON CASKMATES STOUT EDITION
Irish whiskey aged in Stout casks (as in, the kind used to brew the beer of the same name) is an almost magical combination with notes of cocoa, coffee and butterscotch.
Bold but approachable, with a versatile smoothness that mixes well or can be enjoyed neat, this is an ideal pairing with role-playing games or even a MMORPG.
Best enjoyed with: The Outer Worlds, Fallout, World of Warcraft, any other good Western RPG or MMORPG.
HIBIKI JAPANESE HARMONY
Japan makes some excellent whiskies too, and Hibiki is a highly regarded classic in the field.
Sipped long and slow, every is taste a careful study of the craft that’s come together for this drop, much in the same way Pete plays his retro games, especially the puzzlers – with each step carefully considered, not moving through the levels too fast so to enjoy the designs of one of his favourite N64 titles (in this case, Bomberman 64).
Best enjoyed with: Bomberman 64 and other retro puzzler games.
HIBIKI JAPANESE HARMONY MASTER’S SELECT
Going beyond the already excellent Japanese Harmony, this exquisite yet complex whiskey becomes more beautiful with age, developing more refreshing flavours and rewarding those who delve deeper into its offering.
It pairs well with equally exquisite yet complex games like Bioshock – right when you think they’re both over, they smack you with a twist at the end.
Best enjoyed with: Bioshock, anything else with a surprising twist in the story
RATU SPICED RUM
Forget about those other well-known spiced rums affiliated with alleged pirate captains or giant mythical squids, this extraordinary rum hailing from Fiji is the one you should be drinking whilst gallivanting around the digital oceans.
With notes of caramel and vanilla, it’s extremely drinkable and if you want to level it up, consider mixing it with ginger beer for a Dark & Stormy.
Best enjoyed with: Sea of Thieves (obviously), World of Warships, anything else with a maritime setting.
This Japanese Gin six extra and unique to its motherland botanicals each representing the different seasons much like the game play of Flower.
The combination isn’t so much as a drink and a game rather an experience. Both are truly unique and so different to the rest of their respective fields that they are almost a must try for anyone.
Grab your favourite tonic water to mix with Roku and finish off with six matchstick thin pieces of fresh ginger for flavour.
Best enjoyed with: Flower, Concrete Genie, other magical/whimsical adventure games.