Monday, May 28, 2012

The Pig: Washington, DC & American Whisky

While staying in DC last week for work, I stumbled upon a new restaurant near Logan Circle, The Pig. They didn't have a lot of Scotch, but I noticed they had a little section of Scotch styled American whiskey.

I was there by myself, early and seated at the bar, so the nice bartenders let me taste all three. Corsair triple smoke from Tennessee was a pretty good attempt at an Islay-like Scotch. Wasmund's single malt from Virginia just tasted odd, I am not sure how to describe it. I was happiest with Pritchard's single malt from Tennessee, and will have to pick up a bottle for the home collection sometime. Very little of the cherry flavor I tend to associate with American whiskies. Great paired with the Carolina smoked BBQ pork I had with mac n cheese. Stayed on for dessert and left when it was packed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stronachie 12 year Highland & Churchill: San Francisco, CA (USA)

This Sunday my co-blogger and I were out with friends who took us to the relatively new Churchhill bar at Market & Church in San Francisco.

I loved the decor - shiny wood tables, pool, Christmas lights! We had a round of cocktails first (menu on paper fixed to a piece of metal - nice), and for the second round I decided to check out their Scotch. One friend had a beer, another a second cocktail and my co-blogger some rum.

They served it up in a cute little canning jar:

Stronachie 12 year tasted like a classic Highland. Smelled divine, tasted smooth, and was affordable at this establishment at only $10. I enjoyed nearly the entire pour myself, and wouldn't have minded another! 

It seems to run about $50 a bottle. Which, if I had tasted this side-by-side with Oban 14 year, I am pretty sure I can see myself happily drinking Stronachie at home instead and saving myself a little money. (and enjoying having something a little different to share with friends who come over!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New York Times Islay tasting

A quick post related to The New York Time's recent article, even though this is the co-blogger who is not a fan of Islay Scotch.

1) I can't believe Laphroaig 10 year was first on their list. (and also their best value - I'll give it that)

2) I'm annoyed that they didn't print the full list of the 20 they sampled.

3) Apparently I need to taste Corryvreckan again. Perhaps they didn't taste Uigadail, but I'm pretty sure that's my favorite Ardbeg expression. (of the ones I have been fortunate to try)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2010 Whisky Tasting & Pairing at City Club (SF)

Last year, The Whisky Shop & City Club of San Francisco teamed up with Ed Kohl. Like this fall, we were welcomed with a blood & sand made with Isle of Skye 8 year. 

Food on the menu that evening:
bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo
baked oysters on the half shell with bacon & creamy bechamel
peppered beef tenderloin with a blue cheese sauce on toast
white & red pepper puree & shaved reggiano on toast

One of these days I'll learn to eat more before I go if its just appetizers paired with the Scotch!

First up was Auchentoshan (Lowland). Unfortunately I didn't record which one, but it wasn't the Three Wood because I've had that before and its not my thing (though my co-blogger likes it just fine).

Next up was Highland Park (Orkney), which was okay. Kilchoman (new Islay) was not pleasant but I'm not a peat girl. I liked Smokehead (Islay) better (and would later buy a bottle for my co-blogger). Maybe this just wasn't my night, because even Edradour (Highland) wasn't making me swoon. It smelled pretty molasses-y but was pretty fire-y.

I wasn't enthusiastic about the food pairing, they definitely did a better job this year than last year. On the upside, Ed gave a great talk! Now I wish I could have a pour of Scotch ... if only I weren't sick & congested!

2011 Whisky Tasting Dinner at City Club (SF)

Ah, if only I could be seated at a table like this every week:
The Whisky Shop in San Francisco is a fabulous establishment, with hundreds of bottles of Scotch (and Whiskey) for sale. They team up with the City Club of San Francisco every now and then for amazing evenings of education & drinking. I've attended twice before, and the drinks were paired with appetizers. This time we were in a smaller room and had a full on meal paired with our malts. 

You might notice the empty martini glass... that was a yummy blood & sand created with Isle of Skye 8 year. We then dived into a delicious (if bony) char-grilled Monterey sardine with polenta croutons while tasting Chieftain's Allt'A'Bhainne 16 year old (Speyside), Chieftain's Braevall 1996 14 year (Speyside), and Chieftain's Rosebank 1990 20 year cask strength 108 proof (Lowland). Hard for a little girl like me to keep up!

But this was not a leisurely afternoon at a bar with my Scotch partner, so I had to move on to the next course. Coffee-cabernet braised Long Valley Ranch short ribs with cippolini, parsnip-potato puree, and Broccoli di Ciccio. Oh this was heavenly, but I couldn't finish it! We were tasked with trying Chieftain's Longmorn 1994 17 year (Speyside), Chieftain's Auchroisk 1995 16 year (Speyside) and Isle of Skye 12 year (Island/Speyside).

As one might guess, I was having a hard time keeping up, so I don't have many tasting notes for you. I managed to write "yum" after Allt-A-Bhainne, "peach, yes!" after Braeval, "whoa" after Rosebank, "oh! nice!" after Longmorn and "smiles" after Auchroisk.

We weren't done yet. Time for some Washington apple crisp with Tahitian vanilla gelato (see why I couldn't finish my short ribs? a girl has to prioritize...) paired with Smokehead (Islay) and Chieftain's Caol Ila 14 year Jamaican Rum Finish cask strength 110 proof (Islay). WOW, they were amazing!

If only I could have slowed down the pace a bit so I could have had time to eat & drink everything... Oh well, here's to the next tasting night!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Zotter: Scotch Whisky chocolate bar: "Highland Harvest"

I love chocolate. And Scotch. I was delighted to find Zotter's whisky cream filled bar in Probieren Geniessen in Mannheim, Germany when I took a day trip there in October.

Cute shop, they sold more than just whisky, and you could bring or buy a small vessel to fill! Or buy an entire bottle.

Anyway, the chocolate was lovely. I wish I'd purchased 2 bars so I could taste some more as I write this post! Google found me Chocablog's review, which you can read here. Good picture of the bar itself, too.

I'm making truffles with a friend on Black Friday. Perhaps I should try mixing in some Scotch?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Singlebarrel: San Jose, CA (USA) & Scotch-based cocktails

Pardon for the lapse in posts. I've been lazy.

So, I love me a fancy cocktail, however I haven't explored many Scotch-based cocktails. The ones I have heard about or tried were all mixed with Islay Scotches, not my favorite type (but beloved by my co-blogger).

In San Jose the other weekend with a good friend, we checked out Singlebarrel. This establishment has been open about a year and a half and at 7ish in the evening, was already sporting a line out the door. I thought this was ridiculous, I'm in San Jose, right? But it was all about to make sense.

The very nice ID-checker/guard/host explained to me, as a Singlebarrel n00b, that we would go downstairs, talk to the bartenders about what we like, and that a lovely cocktail would be suggested to us. Oh, and to spit out any gum we might be chewing because their real cloth napkins are made by some lady in the South.

We waited our turn and proceeded down the stairs. Nearly too dark but perfect for the mood, kind of like Bourbon & Branch. However, too dark for me to easily read the bottles of Bourbon, Scotch, etc that were displayed behind the bar. You could just teasingly see the beautiful bottle shapes and colors of the delicious liquids within. Loved the suspenders & caps sported by the bartenders. My friend and I found stools at the bar which we were allowed to perch & stay on (if standing, you must leave the bar area after you receive your drink, and head to the spacious lounging area). I had two rather sweet/girly drinks (yummy in their own right), but my friend had two cocktails with Laphroaig. Great establishment, this place. I hope to go back!

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that I need to research/create a yummy Highland or Speyside based cocktail to order so I can encourage these bartenders that not all Scotch-based cocktail needs to be done with Islay... *grumble* In the meantime, here is a link to a recipe for Butter, Lemon, Smoke, featuring Peat Monster.