Whisky Whisky Whisky, the drink everyone just thinks they hate, regardless of whether they have tried it or not. The proverbial old man's tipple, best neat on a fat block of ice. The drink of choice for the guy trying to impress you and prove how much of a man he is, only to pull faces and express how this is his favourite drink ever. Being from a Scottish background, believe it nor not (God bless the Campbells!), I feel like I already have it in me to enjoy whisky. My favourite being this amazing salted caramel whisky I bought on the way back from New York last year. All drunk neat.
(Goldmember; Seven Flowers)
Whatever the connotation, Scotch Whisky has this reputation for being and old and outdated spirit that does not suit the everyday palette. This is where Love Scotch comes in, trying to change minds of spirit drinkers. So on a Tuesday, I was down at the The Drift Bar & Restaurant on Bishopsgate, right next to Liverpool Street Station for a Scotchtail Mixology class. The aim is to showing appreciation for scotch whisky, one cocktail at a time using a diverse selection of Scotch whiskies - Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Singleton Sprey Cascade Scotch Whisky Single Malt, Cardhu Amber Rock Scotch Whisky and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. Rather than just having one distinct flavour, Scotch whisky has a broad range of flavours and textures from floral, citrus malts to a punchy and indulgent heavyweight. All of these flavours come out when drunk in the right way which is where tasting classes come in.
At the Love Scotch event, we got to try out making classic cocktails with a Scotch Whisky twist to gain that appreciation for the spirit. An espresso martini became Morning Skye using Talisker.
Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whisky (50ml)
Espresso Coffee (fresh) (50ml)
Gingerbread Syrup (15ml)
At times, the additions to the cocktails overpowered the whisky to the point where you could no longer tell that it was a whisky cocktail - The Goldmember in particular did this which is a twist on the standard Pornstar Martini. That may be because Johnnie Walker Gold has a light, soft, honey like texture which when added to the fruit tasted too sweet for my taste. However, a classic Mojito became The Scottish Flora with Cardhu, honey, raspberries, lime and ginger which was the best of the night. The muddled strawberries were quite sweet but did not overpower the light, sweet texture of the Cardhu. I've been a fan of David Beckham's Haig Club ever since I had it near at the Hilton in Manchester so it paired very nicely with Champagne and elderflowers for the Seven Flowers.
Aside from that, the Drift Bar & Restaurant given me a new place to bring up in conversation and try again for drinks when non Londoners come to visit and ask me where to go. Set up on two floors, for a Tuesday night, the place was packed and seemed like a nice, chilled spot to bring friends.
The pop up will be stationed at The Drift Bar until March 2017 for anyone to come and try their hand at making scotch whisky cocktails of their own at their masterclasses and events. The Scotchtail masterclasses are available for private bookings for up to 10 people which includes two cocktails for £20 and three for £30.