It’s World Gin Day again, which gives me another excuse to spend an afternoon drinking gin rather than tidying my flat. Last time I managed to write something for the day, I talked about the Negroni, still probably my favourite cocktail, and I’ve decided to go for another of my faves this time: the Aviation.
Having a bad memory is sometimes useful. I often forget where I’ve put things and while this is usually annoying (such as with the lost Waragi that I’ve been meaning to taste and write about for the last year) it can also lead to happy finds at the back of the booze cupboard. The other day, while searching for the Waragi, I noticed a sharpie labelled bottle that had slipped my mind shortly after putting the cap on, back on 28th October 2012 – a bottle aged Negroni.
After a couple of weeks of drinking almost nothing but beer for one reason or another, including wanders this weekend to both the Kernel and Partizan breweries, I thought I might treat myself to a cocktail. With some limes looking at me forlornly from the fridge I found some inspiration of what to do with them from my most recently finished booze book. Introducing my tipple for the evening – The Churchill.
Despite my having a small pile of limes in the fridge and a bottle of bourbon staring at me from my booze cupboard, I decided that I couldn’t let the third year of World Gin Day pass me by without mentioning it here. I may have spent most of World Gin Day itself, June 15th for 2013, with a Dodd’s Gin and tonic in my hand (from The London Distillery Company, who I will one day write about more fully on the blog) but Sunday is my evening for experimentation, so a Gin Old Fashioned it is.
Mark Gill, aka The Cocktail Geek, started up a tradition a while back of posting up your last drink of the week on Twitter, complete with a hashtag to aid in the finding of other participants. It didn’t really catch on, but I flung a drink up each week and Mark did a blog post. It’s gone a bit quiet over on the Twitters, so I thought I’d have a go at joining in again, but this time with an actual blog post. Just a short one…
Tonight I’ve decided to go for a couple of Last Drinks. Which is obviously cheating, but it’s a vaguely special day for a couple of reasons so I thought I’d reward myself.
One of the bonuses of working the world of drinks is that many of my cow-orkers are also booze obsessives. Step-up to the plate Mr Nic Vaughan – medical prosthetics designer(?!) turned trade guy at TWE, both our tame American and American whiskey go to guy. On his trips back to the US to see friends and family Nic often picks up interesting things, and earlier this year he picked me up a bottle that has been sitting on my shelf for a while, but finally got finished last weekend – High West’s 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan.
The Daiquiri has always been a cocktail I’ve avoided. In my minds eye it came served in a hurricane glass, stacked with crushed ice, fruit juice and more garnish than a large fruit cocktail should aspire to. At the back of mind there was a niggling sensation that I was getting it wrong. Hemingway drank these, and he’d have jammed a fruity umbrella clad drink sidewise up the arse of the bartender who offered it to him, while shooting a nearby wild animal with a rifle and necking a bottle of champagne. I confess that I also know little of Hemingway, but my imaginary version of him is probably more impressive than the real man.
One trip to Wikipedia later…
Nope, pretty accurate.
While Whisky Squad started out at The Gunmakers, with even the initial formation of the idea happening at the bar, over the last year or so we’ve been letting Jeff have his upstairs room back from time to time to make a foray out into the world. For Whisky Squad #41 we took that to the next obvious level and had the tasting outside – in St James’s Park.
It was to be Squad co-founder Andy’s last session of organising and he picked out a theme that he’d been wanting to look out for a while – Lowlanders. While the other regions of Scotland are all quite full of distilleries, the Lowlands have slowly but surely been contracting over the last few decades, until now there are only three operating single malt distilleries – Glenkinchie, Auchentoshan and Bladnoch. That said, there are still numerous bottlings available from the closed distilleries, so it wasn’t going to be as short a Squad session as it might at first seem.
I am much behind on Whisky Squad write-ups, which is especially bad as I’ve recently started helping out organise The Squad properly, rather than just shouting drunkenly during the sessions and claiming that it’s ‘help’. Anyways, Whisky Squad #37 has fallen by the wayside, as I was helping present it and didn’t make enough notes. But never mind – here is number #38!
There are some fairly mad people in the world of whisky – and I use that term in a purely complimentary manner. This weekend has shown off a couple of groups showing the best that whisky and madness can accomplish: Balvenie are tasting whisky in a specially built in a hotel in Manchester this weekend and (the thing that I’m going to write about here) John Glaser of Compass Box and Dom Roskrow decided to do some driving.
Now, driving between whisky tastings isn’t a particularly new thing. Doing a bunch of tastings in a day is also not a particularly big thing. However, doing eight tastings in a day at eight different locations, starting in Inverness and finishing in Brighton, is slightly different. And slightly more on the mad side.