Whiskey Cocktail – Spiced Boulevardier

Last in our whiskey cocktails was the Spiced Boulevardier. Unlike all the other cocktails, this one needs a bit of advance preparation.

With the bourbon, do an overnight infusion with spices that include Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and black cardamon.

Spiced Boulevardier recipe

  • 30 ml infused Bourbon
  • 7.5 ml sweet Vermouth
  • 7.5 ml Campari
  • Orange peel and/or cinnamon stick

In a mixing glass filled with ice, stir all ingredients and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange peel and cinnamon stick and serve.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

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Whiskey Cocktail – The Ginger Baker

Next up in our whiskey cocktails was particularly fun to make – The Ginger Baker.

The Ginger Baker recipe

  • 45 ml Tennessee
  • 10 ml fresh ginger juice
  • 10 ml fresh lime juice
  • 10 ml orgeat syrup
  • 30 ml pineapple juice
  • Slice of fresh pineapple or dehydrated pineapple & 2 almonds

In a shaker glass filled with ice, pour all ingredients and mix well. Strain into an old fashioned glass. Drop a few spheres of ice, garnish with either the fresh pineapple or dehydrated pineapple & 2 almonds and serve.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

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Whisky Cocktail – Mint Julep

Next up in our whiskey cocktails was the perfect refreshing hot weather cocktail – the Mint Julep.

Mint Julep recipe

  • 45 ml Bourbon/Tennessee
  • 10 ml simple syrup
  • 3 drops aromatic bitters
  • Fresh mint sprigs

In a silver Julep cup, drop the mint sprigs and add aromatic bitters, simple syrup and whiskey then muddle. Fill the cup with crushed ice and mix well. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Whisky cocktails – Manhattan

Let me start off my confessing I’m not a big Bourbon, Tenessee or American Rye fan… I’m also not really a cocktail gal – especially if they are sweet. So the Manhattan is not typically my style.  However it is indeed a classic so no session of whiskey cocktail making would be complete without it!

Manhattan recipe

  • 45 ml Bourbon/Tennessee
  • 10 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 drops aromatic bitters

In a mixing glass filed with ice, pour all ingredients and stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry or orange peel.

These all came courtesy of a whisky cocktail ‘masterclass’ with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

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Whisky Cocktail – Old Fashioned

I’m in Canada for a week and I thought while I’m off gallivanting, may as well post a few whisky cocktails – a bit of a departure from my usual style.

These recipes all came from a few hours one Friday afternoon in a sultry hot Mumbai May day where I joined a cocktail making class…

We began with a classic – Old Fashioned – full of ice!

Old Fashioned recipe

  • 45 ml Bourbon/Tennessee
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3-5 drops aromatic bitters

In an old fashioned glass, drop a sugar cube and add the bitters. Break the sugar and mix well. Pour in the whiskey and fill with ice. Gi e it a quick stir to mix well and add more ice if necessary. Release the oils from an orange peel and drop.

These all came courtesy of a session with DISCUS in May 2017, Mumbai.

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A perfect partner… Suntory’s Toki 43%

After our rather interesting evening exploring Rampur from India, Royal Lochnagar 12 year and the remarkable aged grain Girvan 28 year…. we had an opportunity to pick anything from our hosts floor to ceiling whisky cupboard…

My eye spied Suntory’s Toki… like Hibiki,Toki is made from Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita.

Suntory’s Toki 43%

  • Nose – Cheese, lemon miringue pie, light peaches or crisp apples, simple
  • Palate – Exceedingly smooth, very drinkable, think custard, hint of ginger, light citrus, fresh and clean
  • Finish – Short, sweet, a little spicy, simple yet pleasing

Our immediate reaction is this would pair well with a cheese and fruit platter – think a nice range of old cheddar and applies. Or desert – something light not heavy. Or even an arugula salad with blue cheese and caramel walnuts.

I brought the glass with us for the dinner… our desert was a baked lagan nu custard. And the Toki paired with it? perfection! Just the right interplay between the different elements and an ideal way to close the evening.

Here’s what the folks at Suntory have to say:

  • Color – clear gold
  • Nose – basil, green apple, honey
  • Palate – grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, thyme
  • Finish – subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak,
    white pepper and ginger

Also from our evening:

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Girvan Patent Still 28 year 42%

One doesn’t often come across an aged grain. So it was such a surprise and treat to have this 28 year old Girvan close our tasting trio. We sampled blind from a freshly opened bottle, having no clue what we were sipping. Here is what we found…

Girvan 28 year 42% No 1 App KA269PT

  • Nose – Nail polish remover, paint, some fruit, furniture polish, reminded one of a Chemistry lab with a bio-chemistry sweet note, staying steady, not evolving beyond an oil and spice, then after tasting the nose transforms – revealing fruits, pudding, opening up in a beautiful way
  • Palate – Sweet honey water, Parsis toffee green mathai (sweet), then began to open up further to reveal a quality almost like an eclair, a bitter caramel rum ball
  • Finish – Initially a spicy fish then a sweet, walnut bitter, with a chocolate noughat, held and genuinely very nice
  • Water – Nope. Don’t. Just enjoy it neat.

There was something quite unique about this whisky. We began to speculate that perhaps it was finished in a white wine cask – perhaps muscatel or sauternes? Perhaps not a single malt at all? Some corn? With such a honey light colour it was hard to pin point. All we knew was it was quite unique with a very distinctive and interesting character.

And the reveal? An aged Lowland grain! Wow!

Girvan goes by the name The Girvan Patent Still referring to their continuous distillation method using Coffey Stills which they credit for creating “a delicious spirit full of a rich intensity.”

Here is what the folks over at Girvan have to say:

Filled to American White Oak our whisky’s soul is forged from wood & mellowed by time. Naturally golden amber in colour – this is Single Grain Whisky at its finest.

Notes of honey, toffee, vanilla & caramelised fruits. It is, quite simply, Deliciously Different single grain whisky. 

  • Rich & Complex
  • Vanilla
  • Toffee Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus/Chocolate Orange

Bottom line, did we enjoy? Absolutely! It was a unique experience – both distinctive and memorable.

Also from our evening:

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Royal Lochnagar 12 year 40%

After the original Rampur 43%, we were primed for something different… We sampled blind from a freshly opened bottle, having no clue what we were sipping.

Royal Lochnagar 12 year 40%

  • Nose – Varnish, oily, sweet, a bit like a saag sabzi (spinach veggie dish), bitter, old fruits, cold pressed coconut oil, a little lemon zest, some light liquorice, sense of being heavy
  • Palate – Sharp, hot, spice, then as we grew accustomed to it, appreciated its chewy quality with a good mouthfeel, one even mentioned ‘oil cake’, very smooth but fairly standard in character
  • Finish – Green pepper oil, bitter
  • Water – The oiliness comes on more sweetly. Some shared with water, it simply joined the territory of “Just a good a drinkable whisky”

As we sipped and discussed, we appreciated how it retains its aromas, a nice pleasant finish with many enjoying the finish more than the initial taste on the palate, but in all not a terribly complex whisky. As for age, it was hard to judge but seemed in the NAS category. In short, we found it a decent dram, enjoyable in its way but somehow quite ordinary.

With the reveal some surprise – none would have thought the whisky had matured for 12 years.

Royal Lochnagar is located near Balmoral Castle and has been producing whisky since 1845. Once upon a time, you would not find an official bottling easily however with Diageo’s “Classic Malts Selection“, it joins the ranks of travel retail popping up all over the globe.

It is described as “a fragrant Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky with a delightful balance of fruit and spices.” with official tasting notes of:

  • Nose – Planed wood, light toffee, boat varnish. After a while, coffee with brown sugar. A relatively closed nose. Linseed oil behind, even putty, and later a lychee-like acidity. With water the acidity comes up (acid drops), and the nose sweetens. Still a pleasant fresh woodiness or leatheriness, the varnish now supported by artists turpentine. Warm sand. After a while, coffee dregs with brown sugar. Not an obvious nose, however.
  • Taste – Pleasant; an initial sweetness is quickly overtaken by acidity. 
  • Finish – Dry; medium-length, with an attractive lingering sandalwood aftertaste.

Hmm… at least they haven’t over-inflated various elements and admit to the varnish, acidity, and yes – sandalwood isn’t a bad way of describing the finish.

But overall… nothing to prompt rushing out to explore more from this distillery. Simply one to enjoy it for what it is.

Also from our evening:

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Another Indian single malt – Rampur 43%

It is one of those strange ironies that being able to BUY in India an Indian single malt produced in India is actually difficult.

Rampur Single Malt is from Radico Khaitan distillery in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The distillery itself dates back to the 1940s, however this is their first single malt. Touted as the ‘Kohinoor of Single Malts’.

This particular bottle was purchased in the US. We sampled it blind – freshly opened.

Rampur (06/2016) Batch 383 43%

  • Nose – Banana, spice, sweet lemon, peaches, nectarines, jackfruit, summer fresh with juicy fruits, cashew fruit, mandarin orange canned segments, honey sugar drops… if covered for a bit lost some of the fruitiness and took on a young wood quality, then as aired more… melon toffee, light perfume, cashew feni
  • Palate – Green capsicum, a bit of spice, not at all bitter yet also no body, no complaints per se but nothing wonderful either
  • Finish – Spice, bitter, a sense of being quite green or young
  • Water – Just makes it sweeter with a bit of spice – adds nothing

Our speculation ran rife – the nose was initially quite lovely but by contrast the palate disappointing. Discussion turned to how this is characteristic of some young whiskies that are bursting with fruit aromas but haven’t yet spent enough time in the cask for it to shift to more complex notes or have any staying power. We all felt this whisky had promise but just needed to spend more time maturing.

We also speculated that this may be one of those whiskies that do not keep well… some more powerful peaty and even sherry bombs seem to mellow out with a little oxidation, revealing more nuanced characters. Others, again tending to be younger or more delicate drams can lose the very quality that makes them interesting if spend too much time oxidation in a bottle.

We could not specifically identify its origin – just that it was neither Scottish nor Japanese and not typically American either.

With the reveal, we were terribly impressed out host managed to track down a bottle as we’d been coveting an opportunity to try it since launch.

In all we pronounced it a “Good early attempt.” 

At the end of the evening, we returned to see how it fared with an hour or so open… there was a lovely toasted coconut on the nose, a coffee bitter on the palate yet overall it was a ‘mono-dimensional’ whisky… lacking the nuanced complexity we ideally seek in a dram.

Who knows, perhaps future editions with a bit more patience will reveal further characteristics. And certainly this is an entirely respectable early effort and nothing to dent desi pride in yet another home grown single malt.

Also from our evening:

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Rampur, Royal Lochnagar, Girvan 28 year

What a range! From Rampur, Uttar Pradesh to nearby Balmoral Castle to a unique aged grain Girvan, our original Mumbai tasting group had quite the June session.

Also from our evening:

Our main sampling was followed with a bonus…

  • Suntory Toki 43%

Tune in over the next few days for tasting notes..

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