Whisky Cocktail Hour?

While my jaunt around the globe hasn’t quite finished, my quick zip through a few interesting cocktails is a ‘wrap’!

In case you missed any, here is a quick list:

  • Old Fashioned – Bourbon, bitters, sugar with a twist of orange
  • Manhattan – Bourbon, vermouth + bitters
  • Mint Julep – Bourbon, simple syrup, bitters + mint
  • The Ginger Baker – Tennessee whisky, ginger, lime + pineapple juice, orgeat syrup with a slice of pineapple
  • Spiced Boulevardier – Infused bourbon, vermouth, campari with a twist of orange or almonds

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

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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.

Other American whisky experiences:

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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.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Whiskey 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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Whiskey 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.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Whiskey 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.

Other American whisky experiences:

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Bonus Bourbon… Willett Pot Stilled Reserve 47%

Our Whisky Ladies evening closed with a Kentucky bourbon and chocolate – how fitting! This was a completely unplanned enthusiastic “I just so happen to have this great bourbon!” addition to our tasting!

The folks over at Willett (aka Kentucky Bourbon Distillers) claim a family history that harkens back to John David Willett (born in 1841) who was part of the master distiller for the Moore, Willett & Frenke Distillery. However, truth be told, these folks have actually only recently re-entered the distilling game in 2012, having stopped operations in the 1980s.

It is speculated that this particular whisky may actually be a product of Heaven Hill Distilleries – the folks that produce Elijah Craig amongst many others – using copper stills with only a pot still used for the doubler stage. Confused much?

All that matters to the Whisky Ladies is what we thought when we sampled it…

Willett Pot Still Reserve 47%

  • Nose – Well hello bourbon! Nice herbs, bubblegum sweet, slight mustiness too
  • Palate – Nice warm bourbon. some nuts, honey…
  • Finish – Great finish – a bit spicy

This was a bourbon that cried out for a cube of ice! When added? Voila! Lots of bright floral elements – overall just made it fab, Fab, FAB!!

And what do the Willett folks have to say about this whiskey?

  • Nose – Floral notes – jasmine and orange blossom, ginger, cinnamon with lots of bananas when water is added
  • Palate – Lemon, black tea, butterscotch, charcoal, citrus, nutty, honey. With water added – bananas and milk chocolate
  • Finish – Medium length, eucalyptus, herbal, rye, spicy, pepper, barber’s shop…with water added, light toffee & pecans

Very floral on the nose with wonderful citrus notes; more citrus on the palate with loads of honey & then turning quite herbal on the finish. An incredibly different and inviting array of aromas & flavors when water is added!

What else did we sample that “risky whisky” evening?

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Risky whisky? Virgil Kaine 2016 Ashcat 45.6%

Our trio of potentially ‘risky whisky‘ closed with a shift from old world France to new world US of A – with a “low country” whiskey from Charleston, South Carolina!

Virgil Kaine was started by two chefs – David Szlam and Ryan Meany. The idea behind Virgil Kaine was to draw on culinary “know-how” to blend, infuse and tinker in order to craft whiskeys like a ginger-infused bourbon, a ‘high-rye’ bourbon blend and a ‘robber baron’ rye… and more recently their limited edition “Ashcat” which is what we sampled.

Virgil Kaine 2016 Ashcat 45.6% Bottle #0612

  • Nose – Dusty, sawdust, cologne, spirit, dark honey, bitter, beeswax, caramelized honey, light raisin
  • Palate – Bourbon with a sherry twist! Warms, direct, spice
  • Finish – Finally a finish! Raisins, chocolatey hazel nuts

From practically the first sip, our birthday whisky lady gave an unequivocal announcement “I like this very much!”

This was no single malt, definitely a bourbon, yet we appreciated that it had other elements too.

In our Glencairn vs Norlan glass comparison, we found the Norlan brought out much more raisins, dark heavy honey on the nose and made it much more rounded on the palate, pumping up the slightly bitter quality.

Here is what the folks from Virgil Kaine have to say:

Virgil Kaine’s first detour from our three original whiskeys. A limited edition that strikes a balanced blend between the sweetness of a wheated bourbon, the spice of High-Rye bourbon and tannins derived from sherry casks. Which is all just a fancy way of saying we created a great tasting bourbon we hope you love as much as we loved making it. Savor this one. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

  • Nose – Cane sugar & sherry
  • Taste – Butterscotch, orange peel & dried figs
  • Finish – Smooth, long finish

What else did we sample that “risky whisky” evening?

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Whisky Ladies Risky Whisky

Our Whisky Ladies are generally an adventuresome set. Which is why our whisky explorations are not limited to your standard Scottish fare… not to say we don’t thoroughly enjoy a solid Scottish dram, just that our predilections lean to the off-beat rather than well trodden paths.

Which sometimes leads to some rather stellar flops! Most recently the AD Laws Triticum + Hordeum stand out as whiskies we would never ever chose to repeat. On the other end of the spectrum, that very night Canada‘s Shelter Point was an instant hit and another evening Finland‘s Teerenpeli 10 year was just yum!

We know when you take risks with your whisky choices there will be some delicious surprises mixed in with some unmitigated disasters!

When we began our evening, we had no idea how our selection would fare… just that we wanted to continue our whisky explorations to seek out new distilleries! Here is what we tried:

Then we added brilliant bonus drams… Our whisky lady host of the evening was celebrating her 40th birthday. What better way than with a 40 year old Auchentoshan!! And her whisky lady mother then decided we simply must have an extra desert treat of a rather bonus bourbon Willlett.

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AD Laws Hordeum Straight Malt 42.5%

Last in our “out of the ordinary” North American evening was the 2nd in a pair of AD Laws grain experiments.

After trying the AD Laws Triticum, we weren’t quite sure what to expect with Hordeum.


What did our ladies think?

AD Laws Hordeum Straight Malt Batch 1B, 2 years 42.5%

  • Nose – Still quite raw like the Triticum, yet sweeter, hints of flowers like rose or bluebells, more hay-like than uncooked porridge, woodsy with dry sawdust, a hint of varnish, liquorice and maple
  • Palate – Grain sweet, grassy, hay, corn syrup, becoming almost aggressively grainy
  • Finish – Grassy, grain
  • Water – Anti-climatic

Overall we found it “better but….” One joked that this whisky could be a muscly farm man on his tractor!

After trying Triticum on ice, I thought to see if the same trick worked with the Hordeum. What did I find? Quite sharp, brings out the spice and looses the maple sweet twist.

While this particular whisky may not be to my taste, I love that they are experimenting I also absolutely love their bottles! The 375 ml is just the right size as a decanter and no doubt will find future use.


Here is what the folks over at AD Laws have to say about their Hordeum:

One of the world’s first cultivated grains, hordeum, or wild barley grass, grew from an agricultural staple to ultimately reach its pinnacle in whiskey making. Every bottle of A.D. Laws Hordeum Straight Barley Whiskey is a nod to this ancestral grain and its singularity. Our atypical on-grain, sour mash style, coupled with Colorado mountain barley, imparts a unique character to this whiskey. Locally roasted artisan malts lend a nutty flavor, while hints of stewed fruit complement its sweet malt backbone. This grain forward, single malt whiskey showcases the native terroir of Colorado.

  • 99% Colorado-grown malted barley with a splash of rye
  • Aged 3 years in full-sized 53 gallon new American white oak barrels
  • Classic open air, sour mash fermentation
  • Distilled twice through our Vendome 4-plate pot/column still
  • Bottled at 85 Proof

We sampled their recipe B and our bottle indicated it was aged for 2 not 3 years.

What all did we try in our “out of ordinary” evening?

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