The end of March/early April is unofficially "Whiskies of the World" season with many festivals around the globe celebrating all kinds of whiskey, whether you're into Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Irish, Canadian, or Sour Mash...There's something for everyone...Stay tuned this week for a discussion on the plethora of whiskies out there and the brands that made the 'cut' for being the 'best' by readers' choice this past year (official results will be available first week of April)...Also, I will list some new and innovative cocktails that can be mixed up using these fine and undiscovered spirits...
First up in the series is Scotch. These are the nominees among the people for best Scotch:
- Ardberg Uigeadail Scotch Whisky - Pronounced 'Oog-a-dal,' this bottling is from Ardberg and one of the favorites of the Islay (region of Scotland) single malt collection. It has Ardberg's signature, deep smoke profile mixed with the raisin notes of sherry casks and is not chill-filtered, leaving the maximum amount of flavor.
- Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whisky - These blended whiskies are from the town of Aberdeen, Scotland and are bold and rich. There are three expressions produced by Chivas, the common Chivas 12, Chivas 18 Gold Signature, and Chival 25 Original.
- Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey - From Santa Fe Spirits and produced in New Mexico, this cannot technically be called 'Scotch' whisky, yet as other non-Scottish distillers are doing, this follows in the traditions of Scotch. The peat-smoked malted barley is distilled then aged in various casks at a higher altitude than can be found in Scotland. The result is a unique whiskey with apparent homage to the traditional Scotch and it is becoming quite popular among those who have discovered it and Santa Fe's Silver Coyote Pure Malt Whiskey.
- Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky - The other blended whisky in the finals, Johnnie Walker, is known for designating their bottlings by the color of their label and as we progress through the rainbow of labels, the price and quality rises. The core range (in order) includes Red, Black, Green, Gold, and Blue and they also produce Swing and Double Black.
These aren't your fathers' or grandfathers' scotch drinks, but rather new and re-inventive classics. Perfect for Father's Day or grab a nice bottle of Scotch in a gift set from your local Wine & Spirits shop for Father's Day.
The Orkney Chapel
- 2 oz Highland Park 12-Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- 1/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
- 1/4 oz Sugar cane syrup
- 1/4 oz Grand Marnier
- 1/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
Garnish: Orange peel
Glass: Cocktail or coupe
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail or coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
The Modern Cocktail
- 1.5 tsp Fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whiskey
- 1.5 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin (accept no substitutes)
- 1 dash Absinthe
- 1 dash Orange bitters
Garnish: Maraschino cherry
Add the lemon juice and sugar to a shaker and stir. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry if you like.
Blood & Sand
- 3/4 oz The Glenrothes Select Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- 3/4 oz Sweet vermouth
- 3/4 oz Cherry Heering
- 3/4 oz Orange juice
Garnish: Orange peel
Glass: Coupe or cocktail
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
Not listed are some of the traditional scotch cocktails, such as the Rob Roy (aka Scotch Manhattan), Old-Fashioned, Rusty Nail, and Presbyterian. If you would like any of these recipes, please let me know.
Here are some photos of whiskey to invite you in: