Letters: Cutting Scotch's alcohol content

Dear Bill:

Is there a non-alcohol Scotch or a low-alcohol Scotch?

Can the alcohol be reduced by heating and will it lose its favor? If so how long would you heat it?

Thanks, Gene

Dear Gene:

Quick answer to the first part of your question: No.

By law, Scotch whisky must be at least 40% alcohol by volume (abv), or 80 proof. And, heating it wouldn't do much for the drinkability of the whisky.

You could, of course, simply add water to the point at which it doesn't offend your palate (a little bit of water or ice always helps whiskies of any sort open up). That's how "light" or "lite" beers and even some wines lower their alcohol levels. And, you can always reduce the amount of Scotch in whatever cocktail recipe you like and increase the other non-alcoholic ingredients to taste.

A third option is to try a Scotch-based liqueur that has some of the same taste properties as its parent whisky but a lower alcohol level and often other flavors mixed in. A few examples:

• Stag's Breath, 19.8 abv%, 39.6 proof
• Bruadar, 22% abv, 44 proof
• Old Pulteney Liqueur, 30% abv, 60 proof
• Cock of the North, 35% abv, 70 proof
• Wallace Liqueur, 35% abv, 70 proof

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