I was recently invited by the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation to whisk up some cocktails at their Whiskies of the World festival. Whiskies have long been used for classic cocktails such as The Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned.
Now that the North American whisky industry has brought innovation to the category with the launch of a number of spiced and flavoured whiskies, expect to see more cocktails using whisky.
The craze was launched by Jim Beam with its popular Red Stag brand, which is infused with cherry flavouring. Most of the major American whiskey producers followed suit and now the trend has extended to Canada. It’s doubtful the flavoured movement will extend Scotland (there is little potential upside for an industry which has a strong brand based on tradition), but let’s not forget there is still plenty of innovation on that side of the Atlantic.
In this case, innovation is a bit of a misnomer. Certainly, many Scotch producers launched new wood finishes in the last decade but instead of searching for new flavours, a lot of forward thinking Scotch producers are looking to the past. They are trying to bring back true terroir definition to their whiskies by using traditional practices and local ingredients.
Everyday: Wiser’s Spiced Vanilla Whisky (NSLC, $29.99)
This sweet scented Canadian made whisky makes a great base to cocktails.
Serving Suggestion: The Ginger Spice
Ginger Spice Cocktail
1 ½ oz Wiser’s Spiced Vanilla Whisky
4 oz Schweppes Ginger Ale
Twist of orange
1. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
2. Top with Wiser’s Spiced Whisky, Schweppes Ginger Ale and the bitters; stir.
3. Garnish with a twist of orange.
Gourmet: Bruichladdich Rocks (Select NSLC, $46.99)
Islay based Bruichladdich are one of Scotland’s leaders of terroir focused spirit production. This version is a good entry point to their style which can become quite intense. They describe it as a “a bright, light and floral dram that expresses both the marine-top notes of classic Bruichladdich and Master Distiller Jim McEwan’s lifetime experience.” Sounds like a dram worth trying on a cool fall evening.
Serving Suggestion: In a Glencairn glass with a drop of spring water.
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.