By now we all know just about everything there is to know about Gin. For the last few years, we’ve been bombarded with the stuff, whether it’s served with cucumber and artisanal tonic, made in small batches or even from rhubarb (no word of a lie).
But what about the warmer of the cockles that is a wee dram of whisky? Well, you read it here first but the big W is having a moment too. And it’s not just for winter either.
Because this Saturday (21st) is World Whisky Day when bartenders around the globe are uniting to celebrate the spirit in all its glory with cocktails and tastings.
Still not convinced that whisky’s the drink for you?
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that bars and distilleries are beginning to market whisky more at women – through dreaming up delicious whisky-based cocktails and some interesting new products too.
For example, take SPEY Tenne (£35.95) and my personal favourite of those I tasted. Finished in tawny port casks, it looks a bit like a rose wine and is aimed at those who are new to to the spirit. Sweeter than your average dram, it’s light and easy to drink. Plus it comes in a gorgeous bottle with a a little tartan trim!
Next up is Glen Moray Classic – a quality Single Malt Scotch Whisky from Elgin, the capital of Speyside, Scotland’s most famous whisky region. The distillery has been producing fine malt whisky, distilled in traditional copper stills, on the banks of the River Lossie since 1897. The craft of producing this elegant and well-rounded Single Malt has been passed from generation to generation ensuring the legacy of the Glen Moray Distillery continues. Glen Moray is a great entry drink into the world of whisky. It offers excellent value and is an approachable whisky with butterscotch and shortbread on the nose and a lightly spiced mouthfeel with malty toffee notes and a lemongrass tang. RRP: £20 for 70cl.
Another affordably inviting brand, The Famous Grouse have brought out their Mellow Gold (£22 RRP) this year. Aged in Spanish sherry casks and charred American oak bourbon casks, this has an altogether sweeter mellower character that might appeal to anyone scared off by the ‘burn’ often attached to the taste of whisky.
And there’s also tried and tested brand Grant’s with their long-standing Family Reserve whisky (£16.99) – again a sweeter, richer drink with a vanilla flavour and light fragrance. Try it with ginger ale, Angostura bitters and a an orange wedge for a cocktail with a kick.
Patricia Dillon, managing director of Speyside Distillers Company Ltd who produce SPEY Tenne reckons that whisky and women are a winning combination.
“In recent years Rhianna, Christina Hendricks, Lady Gaga and Hilary Clinton have been connected with whisky brands or made it known that they enjoy a wee dram. But that’s not necessarily anything new – iconic Hollywood star Ava Gardner said during the height of her fame that she wanted to die with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whisky in the other!”
So, forget the hard drinking Don Drapers of this world and check out whisky’s more feminine side this World Whisky Day at one of the many London bars joining in:
Why not sample a deliciously summery Piney Brown Julep (£8) at music venue Kansas Smitty’s in Broadway Market and take part in their interactive whisky show and tell from 5.30-7.30?
Or, if North London’s more your thing, visit The Gallery in West Hampstead, renowned for its vast collection of whisky.
Finally, you can’t go wrong at this London classic – the American Bar at The Savoy. Try an Old Terraced House (£20) featuring Jack Daniels Single Barrel Whisky, Creme de Cassis, Lagavulin Whisky, Byrrh, absinthe, Savoy grenadine and Angostura bitters.