A Tale of Whiskies
There is a whisky for everyone, you just need to know where to look or how to stir
One of the best things about whisky is that there really is something for everyone. Whether you are a traditionalist or experimental with your drams, today's vast world of whisky offers the perfect tipple for every palate… You just need to know where to look, or how to stir.
If you are more of a traditionalist and love a whisky forward cocktail like an Old Fashioned or Whisky Sour, rest assured, these classics are not going anywhere. What we are seeing in recent times though, is a rise in cocktails designed to be lighter and more refreshing, and to be consumed at any time of day.
Much like the global favourite – the Gin & Tonic, a Whisky Highball is easy to make, deliciously refreshing, and thanks to the complexity of whisky, they offer endless flavour possibilities.
As a general recipe, you should use one-part whisky, three parts sparkling/soda water. Add half a part cordial/sweetener (homemade or purchased) if you like your drinks on the sweeter side.
There are a thousand highball recipes and you can always experiment with them. Decide your favourite whisky, pick up on key flavour notes, then look to enhance them with additional additives (cordial or juice) and garnish. In all recipes, it is recommended to use plenty of good quality ice to ensure your highballs are kept cool and refreshing.
Start your journey with lighter style whiskies
If you have tried whisky before, and thought it was not for you. Chances are you tried something that was either very strong, or heavily peated (smoky flavoured). Naturally, this can scare off a few unsuspecting drinkers. Much like you would not go for the hottest dish on a menu if you weren't familiar with consuming chilli, you should start your whisky journey with a lighter style dram.
Many distilleries are releasing sweeter style whiskies designed perfectly for new whisky drinkers. Take for example, The Singleton of Glendullan, a bright and approachable Speyside malt, the 12-year bursts of orchard fruits with a creamy, lingering finish, while the 15-year offers an incomparable spiciness, while maintaining a delicate finish. Encouraging consumers to "unapologetically enjoy" their whisky anyway they please you are free to appreciate your drink as you wish. If that means adding water, soda, plenty of ice, or whatever else you desire, then so be it. There will be no judgement in breaking from tradition.
Think you have tried everything?
Think again, the world of whisky is about to get a whole lot more exciting.
Scotch whisky is bound by a strict set of rules. This is a good thing as it ensures all liquids labelled "Scotch" are of a particular standard. However, it does inhibit some innovation. As producers look to create new and interesting flavours in whisky, they are looking to experiment in new ways.
Until recently, many of these innovations would have been outside the Scotch Whisky regulations. The long-awaited relaxing of these rules, now mean that vast innovation is on the horizon.
For example, original regulations for Scotch Whisky stated it must be matured in casks traditionally used by the industry. Meaning maturation was limited to barrels that had once housed bourbon, sherry, port or cognac. However, they are now able to experiment with previously disallowed barrels, such as those that previously held Tequila, Mezcal, or baijiu, amongst others.
What would this do to whisky? Only time will tell. However, given the flavour profile of Tequila for example, an ex-Tequila barrel can be expected to offer some deliciously intriguing vegetal flavours such as white pepper and capsicum. If this peaks your fancy, keep a close eye on this space. You could soon be sipping on a truly unique single malt.
Wherever you are in your whisky journey, there is something for everyone and encouragement to experiment to find what that is. Whether you are looking to ease yourself into the whisky world with a lighter style cocktail or love the idea of something completely new. There are drams to suit all of those desires.
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