I love Christmas and everything about it. The smell of pine and home baking, the whole family watching the same cheesy movies year after year, eating and drinking without the guilt, and generally feeling warm and fuzzy! There’s nothing better than having the fire going, holding onto a hot cup of tea and reminiscing about the year just gone, the good and the bad.
But this year, with the mild autumn we’ve been having, I’m finding it hard to believe that Christmas is just over a month away. I want to get excited about Christmas, I really do. I want to feel it in the air and not just see it in shop windows. I want to feel nostalgic – and this year, I need a little help to feel festive.
Just as I was pondering this, as if by some Christmas miracle, The Drift Bar & Restaurant in London’s Liverpool Street invited me down to a #LoveScotch Christmas Food Pairing. Cited as a masterclass to celebrate the festive season, It also promised a twist on the old fashioned Scotch and I was curious.
When I think of Scotch, I never think of cocktails. I think of a granddad sitting in his rocking chair, reading glasses sliding halfway down his nose, one hand cradling a glass of neat whisky and the other clutching a newspaper. I was excited about the evening and the prospect of falling in love with Scotch.
Battling through the rush hour and drizzle, we took a left turn at the very impressive Heron Tower, gave a quick gasp of admiration to the giant fish tank occupying its reception area, and then quickly entered the busy bar. The ground floor was dimly lit, the beautiful lights of the inside reflecting on the glass walls, mixing with the lights of the outside world.
To the right of the bar, a big wooden table was set up with various bottles of Scotch, crystal glasses, tumblers sat on tartan cloths, shakers and other cocktail paraphernalia, creating a cosy and a festive atmosphere.
Kicking off the Christmas season, the #LoveScotch Christmas Food Pairing Masterclass evening put a new spin on this gold nectar. In this masterclass, led by resident bartender Doug Graham-Leigh, we had the opportunity to recreate some classic cocktails using different Scotch whiskies instead of the usual alcohol found on bar menus. There were four drinks on offer, each paired with a festive canapé complementing them nicely.
We created two of the drinks on offer – the Morning Skye and the Seven Flowers. Not only did I feel like Tom Cruise in ‘Cocktail’ for a couple of hours, I also learnt some interesting facts about all the different Scotch’s we were using from Doug, who was very passionate and knowledgeable about whiskies.
We also tried the Goldmember and the Scottish Flora, which featured on the menu. All drinks were delicious, refreshing, with just a subtle taste of the Scotch, and I found a new appreciation for this drink.
I left with a hint of nostalgia in my heart and it was beginning to feel like Christmas.
The one-off #LoveScotch Christmas Food Pairing Masterclass will take place on 29th November and is priced at £30 per person. Advance booking is recommended.
The Drift Bar & Restaurant will also be home to the #LoveScotch pop up until March 2017, offering an opportunity to learn the mastery of cocktail making using various Scotch whiskies.
- For more information visit http://drakeandmorgan.co.uk/the-drift/. For bookings, contact The Drift at email@example.com or call 0845 468 0103. The Drift, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY; Nearest tube station: Liverpool Street