Whisky Marketplace Blog US brings you news, reviews and tasting notes from the world of whisky.

Aug 06

Whiskey Cocktail Recipe: The Old Fashioned

Posted on 6th August 2015 by Pierre

We’re going to share our take on a classic whiskey cocktail, perfect at any time of the year, especially refreshing during the summer months. We’ve been incredibly self sacrificing while writing this piece, trying various combinations of ingredients and methods to bring you the definitive recipe. Ladies and gentlemen, we present the, thoroughly well researched, Whisky Marketplace Old Fashioned...

As any chef will tell you, it’s all about the ingredients, and that’s a maxim mixologists will no doubt echo. Some of you may baulk at the idea of putting expensive or high quality whiskey into your cocktails but before we get too protective let’s examine the idea. In our view there are broadly two types of cocktail, long drinks with plenty of non-alcoholic mixer and shorter concoctions that are chiefly made up of pure spirit plus a few additives. We’re going to nail our colours to the mast here, the short cocktails are the ones we really like - hey, we’re whiskey drinkers, right? So if the cocktail is primarily made up of the whisky with a few additional flavourings, you’re going to want to put decent components into it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

And that doesn’t stop with the whiskey. In fact it starts with the ice. We don’t put any old ice in our cocktails. Oh no! We want the purest ice possible because for this cocktail, the ice is a central ingredient. If you’re buying your ice ready made, go for a spring water brand. In UK stores the Blue Keld brand is widely available (for example at Ocado) - we’ve tested it against non spring water versions and it makes an astonishing difference providing a clean, pure base that allows the other flavours to shine. If you’re making the cubes yourself consider freezing a good quality spring water - the same sort of water you’d be happy to add to your whisky, which make sense doesn’t it?

Pay similar attention to your oranges, another key ingredient. Cheap bags of economy oranges will have disappointing skins that tear and break when you twist them and don’t yield the explosion of zesty oils you need for this cocktail. Buy good quality oranges with firm, supple skins.

So on to the alcoholic ingredients. The classic version of the cocktail is made with rye whiskey but it has also become very popular with a bourbon base so we’ve picked one of each. We also like to use two types of bitters in our recipe.

Ingredients:

See July's Staff Picks for the best prices on Rittenhouse Rye and Ridgemont Reserve '1792

  • Rittenhouse Rye or Ridgemont Reserve '1792' Bourbon
  • The Bitter Truth: Orange Bitters
  • The Bitter Truth: Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Sugar syrup
  • Ice - we recommend Blue Keld Spring Water Ice

The method:

If you’ve ever cooked a risotto you’ll know that opinions vary on whether to follow the old fashioned method of adding a little stock at a time while continuously stirring is essential or simply to add all the ingredients at once. For us the risotto tastes better following the traditional method and quite frankly the same is true for the Old Fashioned, do it the old fashioned way, add a little at a time and work the mixture. You can taste the love in the end product!

  1. Add a couple of teaspoons of sugar syrup to your glass.
  2. Add a dash of the Orange Bitters and a dash of the Own Decanter Bitters
  3. Add a dash of whiskey
  4. Work the mixture with a bar spoon
  5. Add a single ice cube
  6. Continue to work and stir the mixture
  7. Add another ice cube with around a third of the remaining whiskey
  8. Continue to work and stir the mixture
  9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 until all the whiskey is added
  10. Cut a strip of orange peel.
  11. Twist and pull the peel over the glass to release the zesty oils into the mix.
  12. Wipe the peel around the rim of the glass to leave traces of the oil
  13. Peel another strip and trim to a nice neat strip with a knife.
  14. Twist and place the peel strip upright in between the ice cubes
  15. Serve and enjoy.

Jul 31

Staff Picks - July 2015

Posted on 31st July 2015 by Pierre

Notice anything unusual about these staff picks? That’s right, there’s only two whiskeys. The remaining two items are bottles of bitters. Confused? If you read this article with our take on the classic Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail you won’t be.

Like most serious whisky commentators we’ve always told you not to put ice in your whiskey. Cocktails are of course an exception to that. But as any of you who have ever tried it will know, ice does strange things to whisky. As it cools certain flavours are suppressed and others seem to come to the fore. Not all whiskeys remain pleasant and some are distinctly uncooperative in cocktails.

Our bourbon and rye choices here are not only fantastic sipping whiskeys, straight up with no ice, they perform exceptionally well in our cocktail and would no doubt suit other recipes. As for the bitters, if you’re experience to date consists solely of the famous and widely available Angostura Bitters then you have a world of flavour experience about to open up to you...

How to make the perfect Old Fashioned video podcast.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Rittenhouse Rye

Rittenhouse Rye

Cracking value for money, this rye has beautiful sweet depths and plenty of spice. If you’re not using it in cocktails the overproof version is worth checking out. This standard strength edition is spot on as the base for a range of whiskey cocktails.

£25.99 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Ridgemont Reserve “1792”

Ridgemont Reserve “1792”

1792 was year Kentucky became independent from Virginia and joined the Union as the 15th state. This bourbon celebrates that date in its name but there’s a lot more to celebrate here with its delight balance of rye spice and sweetness.

£63.95 at www.htfw.com

Pierre
The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters

The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters

German company The Bitter Truth make some astonishing concoctions, not least of which are these bitters based on a recipe by legendary 19th century bartender Jerry Thomas. Rich, dark and aromatic they’ll enhance a huge variety of cocktails.

£15.25 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
The Bitter Truth: Orange Bitters

The Bitter Truth: Orange Bitters

There are certain flavours which pretty much universally work with whisky and top of that list has to be orange. These exceptional orange bitters will work wonders with your whiskey cocktail recipes and are essential for a good Old Fashioned.

£14.53 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre

May 05

Compass Box Hedonism Quindecimus

Posted on 5th May 2015 by Pierre

Grain whisky was seen for many years as only being fit for bulking out blended whisky and the notion of quality grain-only expressions would have been laughed at. As any experienced blender will tell you, they have long known that good quality grain whisky is an essential component which binds together the malts in a premium blend. More recently grain has been bottled and sold in both single grain expressions and blended grain-only expressions.

Hedonism Quindecimus

It must be noted that this has been done to varying levels of success - the premium grain releases can be over priced and disappointing, particularly when compared with malt whiskies at a similar price. Done well they are exceptional, full of complex flavours and grain sweetness.

Compass Box Whisky’s Hedonism was one of the whiskies which changed perceptions of grain whisky when it was first released fifteen years ago. As with many things the company does it was ahead of its time. To celebrate the anniversary of that release they have issued a new limited edition release called Hedonism Quindecimus.

Hedonism Quindecimus is firmly in the latter category of rich, well executed grain whiskies and is available now for £128 from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange

Apr 20

Staff Picks - April 2015

Posted on 20th April 2015 by Pierre

We haven’t posted any staff picks for a few months - ahem, five to be exact. We have no excuse. So this is something of a new start and for that reason we have chosen to look at some new products. We haven’t tried them so they're here because they’re new and because they caught our eye.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Wild Turkey Rye

Wild Turkey Rye

With the warmer weather starting here in the UK, our thoughts are turning to summer drinking and more specifically cocktails. If you don’t have a bottle of rye in your cabinet you’re not properly equipped for some of the best whiskey cocktail recipes. With a reputation for fine bourbons the folks at Wild Turkey are a safe bet and this rye is unlikely to be an exception.

£32.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Adnams Single Malt Whisky No. 1

Adnams Single Malt Whisky No. 1

Adnams are famous for their excellent beers and with all that brewing knowledge brought to bear on the production of this whisky it’s likely to be something special. The first release from this newcomer to the whisky market, it’ll no doubt fly off the shelves. Handsomely packaged in a striking blue clad bottle this three year old will certainly benefit from the milder English climate and is likely to be more mature than the age statement would suggest.

£48.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Tomatin Cask Strength Batch 1

Tomatin Cask Strength Batch 1

I say Tomatin, you say Tomartin. You say 43%, I say cask strength... OK that sounded better in my head! Tomatin is arguably a lesser known distillery that really deserves more recognition. I’ll state my interest, I’m a fan. So I’m more than a little excited about this cask strength edition. Tomatins tend to be richly flavoured but a cask strength edition, matured in oloroso and bourbon casks is going to be something special.

£49.84 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Highland Park, 18 Year Old, 1996 - Old Particular

Highland Park, 18 Year Old, 1996 - Old Particular

You don’t see that many Highland Park indie bottlings, so this one caught my eye. Bottled at 48.4% by Douglas Laing this looks very interesting. Douglas Laing are of course one of the best established independent bottlers and Highland Park rarely put a foot wrong - an excellent and very promising pairing. At just over £95 it’s a shade less expensive than the official HP18 own bottling too.

£96.76 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc

Dec 02

Christmas gift ideas for whisky lovers [updated]

Posted on 2nd December 2014 by Pierre

[Editor's note] First publishes in 2012, this article still gets a huge amount of traffic but we noticed that some of the recommendations were out of dates so we've updated the list for 2014.

Buying a Christmas present for the whisky lover in your life? Youve perused their whisky collection and read Stu's excellent Christmas Whisky Gifts: Buying Guide. But you want to buy them something other than, or perhaps in addition to, a bottle of whisky.

Where to start? Here are some suggestions...

Mature your own whisky kit

A mini cask, some new make spirit and the chance to mature whisky at home. The higher ratio of wood to spirit contact with a small barrel like this will affect the liquid much faster than the large casks used to mature whisky for large scale production. In a matter of weeks and months you'll notice dramatic changes in the spirit. Not only will this be fun but you're sure to learn a lot about the effects of wood on spirit as you sample it at different stages of maturation.

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Great Whisky Reads

The whisky landscape shifts and evolves year on year. All that whisky slowly maturing in dark warehouses around the globe reaches its optimum age and gets released. New brands come into the market. So while its a slow evolution, it is relentless hence the number of annually released whisky guides. Arguably the two most indispensable are Ingvar Rondes Malt Whisky Yearbook and the always controversial Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, the 2015 edition of these essential reads are available now. Another book we thoroughly enjoyed is Ian Buxton's 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die. All three titles are available here on the Master of Malt book list.

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Whisky Liqueurs

In some countries - the UK for one - whisky is seen as an after dinner drink. If however you go to France youÕll notice that on most menus itÕs listed as an aperitif with many digestifs having a much sweeter profile. Even the most dedicated malt aficionado gets a sweet tooth from time to time so what better way to satisfy that than with whisky liqueur? Master of Malt make a range of whisky liqueurs based on 10, 15, 21, 30 and even 40 year old Speyside whiskies. At over £500 a bottle the 40 year old is for those with deep pockets but this page on their site has a whisky liqueur to suit most budgets.

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Set of tasting glasses

For those 'Mad Men' whisky moments you can't beat the style and glamour of a good tumbler to hold your dram, but is it the best type of glass for tasting whisky? After all you don't see many professional whisky tasters using them. In truth, for full appreciation of the complex flavours and aromas of whisky, you need glass where the opening is narrower than the widest part of the glass. For durability you can't beat the solid and dependable Glencairn glass - perfect for the job and robust enough to survive regular visits to the dishwasher. For something a little more delicate and, dare we say it, elegant take a look at the Whisky Exchange's own 'tulip' shaped nosing glass.

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Nov 28

Staff Picks - November 2014

Posted on 28th November 2014 by Pierre

A quartet of fabulous Scotches this month with two old favourites, a superb indie and a new release from old distillery that doesn’t usually bottle its own whisky. For a detailed look at the Bunnahabhain watch the video tasting notes here

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Bunnahabhain 23 year old: Abbey Whisky: Rare Casks

Bunnahabhain 23 year old: Abbey Whisky: Rare Casks

Featured in a WMTV video this month, Abbey Whisky have bottled another terrific single cask malt. This is part of their Rare Casks series and they really do seem to know a thing or two about cask selection. This has that special quality, that spark of personality which distinguishes truly great whisky from just good whisky. For more detailed tasting notes check the podcast in the link above.

£72.95 at www.abbeywhisky.com

Pierre
Glenrothes Select Reserve

Glenrothes Select Reserve

If you haven’t sampled any Glenrothes, this expression is a fantastic introduction to the distillery’s style. Plenty of zesty fruit on the nose and palate of this full flavoured whisky, with some white pepper spice on the finish, make this an appealing and very accessible Speyside scotch from a much loved distillery.

£29.50 at www.thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Pierre
Craigellachie 17 years old

Craigellachie 17 years old

Apart from a release under the Flora and Fauna range when the distillery was owned by Diageo, Craigellachie haven’t issued any own bottlings until now. The new owners obviously realised they have some gems in the warehouse and have released 13, 17, 19 and 23 year old expressions - all of which are superb. For us the standout expression is the 19 year old but sadly it’s travel retail only. This 17 year old however is almost as much of a delight and rather good value at the price. More info in an upcoming blog post.

£80.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre
Compass Box Hedonism

Compass Box Hedonism

David Beckham is without doubt incredibly handsome, an advertisers dream, so you might well have seen him staring from the pages of the colour supplements clutching a blue bottle of Haig Club. Might well have seen him? If you haven’t seen him and his hipster ‘friends’ then you’ve obviously been on Mars for the last month. Many years before David thought about releasing grain whisky in a blue bottle John Glaser thought about releasing it in a brown bottle. It still tastes rather good.

£53.41 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre

Sep 29

Staff Picks - September 2014

Posted on 29th September 2014 by Pierre

This month we pick four blended whiskies from Scotland. None of these are household names but all are worthy of a place in your cabinet.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

The Naked Grouse

The Naked Grouse

One of those whiskies that makes you confront your prejudices. After all, any bottle with a grouse on the label may not set your pulse racing. But this is different. First there’s no label on the bottle, second its content is quite different to that of its more famous sibling. This is a good quality blended malt - no grain whisky here - much of it distilled by The Macallan and Highland Park. An entirely different bird.

£25.07 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Black Bottle

Black Bottle

Recently repackaged in a beautiful vintage style, this is a superb blended whisky. Complex and spicy, the new recipe is lighter on the peat than previous incarnations. Complex, elegant and sophisticated, it’s quite a surprise when you see the cost. A very good blend at a very affordable price.

£16.50 at www.thegreenwellystop.co.uk

Pierre
Big Peat

Big Peat

Big Peat lives up to its name with a combination of malts from Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen - yes, you read that correctly, Port Ellen! This blended malt from Douglas Laing is created in small batches, isn’t chill filtered and is bottled at 46% ABV. Full flavoured, complex and, of course, peaty.

£34.06 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Compass Box: Asyla

Compass Box: Asyla

The lightest and most subtle of John Glaser’s creations, this quiet, soft whisky is often overlooked amongst some of his bolder blends. The term ‘whispering whisky’ could have been coined to describe Asyla and the man himself remains justifiably proud of this whisky.

£33.75 at www.abbeywhisky.com

Pierre

Jul 18

Staff Picks - July 2014

Posted on 18th July 2014 by Pierre

We are having some pretty extreme weather here in the UK. Last night we had the fiercest thunder storms I can remember. This morning there was a hail storm and now it’s brilliantly sunny, about 84 degrees and very humid. Why am I giving you a weather report? Put simply this hot, humid climate makes me think of bourbon. So, without further ado, let me introduce four bourbons every whiskey drinker must try.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark

An iconic bourbon, as much for the striking red wax sealed packaging as for the excellent whiskey in the bottle. Great bourbon for sure but there’s also an important lesson in flavour here. The mash bill is rye free. So this is a perfect whiskey to educate your palate about wheated whiskey. That is, heavily wheat based bourbons which avoid the rye spice kick in favour of softer, sweeter wheat flavours.

£26.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Maker’s Mark wheat rich mash bill is this rye heavy recipe. Bulleit has all the spicy kick that a high rye content mash bill creates. Taken side by side with a wheated whiskey this will not only delight but will also educate your nose and taste buds concerning rye’s contribution to bourbon flavour.

£27.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Produced in Versailles, Kentucky, Woodford Reserve has a decent level of rye in the mash bill. Not as extreme as the Bulleit, this adds a spicy kick without going to the extremes. Accessibly priced and very drinkable, this occupies the middle ground in our opening trio and, once again, you can approach this from an educational and scientific stance. Can you see how I’m making learning fun here?

£28.75 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre
Eagle Rare 10 year old

Eagle Rare 10 year old

A great value premium bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. The Kentucky climate makes the bourbon distilled there mature pretty quickly and in three years much of it is ready to drink. So you can imagine what happens after 10 years, not only is this ready it to drink but it is something else entirely. An essential whiskey.

£34.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre

Jun 17

Staff Picks - June 2014: World Cup Whiskies

Posted on 17th June 2014 by Jean-Luc

Now then, we realise that this is a slightly tenuous link but every man and his wife are jumping on the World Cup band wagon so why not join in the fun. The big news ahead of the tournament is that Scotland and Ireland – the great celtic whisky producing nations – both failed to qualify for the finals in Brazil, so we sent our talent scouts a little further afield to pick four exotic Whisky World Cup choices for your tastebuds to tackle this summer.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Millstone 100 Dutch Rye

Millstone 100 Dutch Rye

Netherlands: Like the great Dutch football teams of yesteryear, famous exponents of the 'Total Football' philosophy, this whisky is also very pure and could even be called 'Total Rye'. Millstone 100 Rye whisky is produced by Zuidam and it's all about the number one hundred. It's distilled from 100% rye. It's matured for 100 months. It's then bottled at 100 Proof – which works out at 50% ABV.

£62.45 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Lark Single Cask Australian Whisky Cask #205

Lark Single Cask Australian Whisky Cask #205

Australia: Not famed for their football or their whisky, Australia are rank outsiders to return down under with the World Cup trophy. The budding whisky scene in Tasmania, however, could one day produce a world champion of its own. Good luck to the 'Socceroos' all the same!

£95.35 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Guillon Cuvée 42 French Whisky

Guillon Cuvée 42 French Whisky

France: World Cup winners in 1998, France are more famous for Cognac than whisky but a number of distilleries operate in the North of the country, which has a strong celtic connection. Guillon Cuvée, however, is produced in the heart of the Champagne region and is matured in three types of white Burgundy casks for around four years.

£42.58 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc
Ichiro's Malt & Grain / Premium Chichibu Blended Whisky

Ichiro's Malt & Grain / Premium Chichibu Blended Whisky

Japan: Ichiro Akuto is the star player of Japan's phenomenal whisky industry. This is a blend of whiskies from Chichibu and other Japanese distilleries - possibly including Hanyu and Karuizawa. Interestingly, it's labeled as a 'worldwide blended whisky' which indicates that it could even contain spirits produced elsewhere in the world. A whisky worthy of the World Cup? We think so.

£87.95 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Jean-Luc

May 19

Staff Picks - May 2014

Posted on 19th May 2014 by Pierre

For this month’s staff picks we’ve gone for a loose theme of “great bottles from less well known Scottish distilleries”. Although the four distilleries in question aren’t obscure if you’re a Scotch fan, they certainly aren’t household names. What they have in common is that they all produce wonderful whisky.

Staff Picks - our choices for this month

Arran 12 Years Old Cask Strength

Arran 12 Years Old Cask Strength

The Arran distillery was opened in 1995 so it’s still regarded as something of a newcomer in the world of Scotch. Arran is growing in reputation and popularity - a taste of this cask strength malt will tell you why. Bursting with fruit and spice, this whisky is highly recommended.

£43.36 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Oban 14 Years Old

Oban 14 Years Old

This gem of a whisky is something of an old favourite of ours. Subtle coastal notes mingle with clean, fruity malt. There’s something quiet about Oban Distillery, it doesn’t release many expressions and owners Diageo don’t really shout about it. Which means you might have missed this whisky. Now may be the time to put that right.

£37.55 at www.masterofmalt.com

Pierre
Balblair 1990 Islay Cask 1466

Balblair 1990 Islay Cask 1466

The releases from Balblair have been of a consistently high standard over the last few years. This whisky is no exception but what is unusual about this expression is that it has been further matured in a cask which previously held peated malt. The peated cask adds a new layer of flavour to the typical Balblair character.

£124.95 at www.masterofmalt.com

Jean-Luc
Tomatin Cu Bocan 1989

Tomatin Cu Bocan 1989

Continuing the theme of peated whiskies from distilleries that aren’t known for the style, Tomatin Cu Bocan appears to be the result of an accidentally produced batch of peated malt. An unusual back story for an unusual, and quite delicious, whisky.

£199.00 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Pierre