Whiskey – the Irish liquid

Yup, not many know that the exquisite spirit of whiskey was actually something that originated in Ireland. But the Irish are used to being screwed, so Scotland’s whiskey is now more well-known around the world.

Initially distillation was used by boring early humans to make perfumes, but they soon graduated to produce better stuff, thanks to ancient Celts whose monks brought the tech back to Ireland to produce uisgebeatha (water of life).

Not a bird..

Not a bird..

The first Irish record of drinking waay too much whiskey is that of a chieftain in 1405 “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae” at Christmas. Yea, understandable. He OD-ed and died.

Till today, it’s the first written record of the existence of whiskey. Haha. Solid.

Anyway Kieran Crowe is a very-much alive Irishman who’s the brand ambassador of Jameson Irish Whiskey whom i met recently for a chat.

The Irish

The Irish

So what’s different about Irisch (i just made that up) vs say, Scotch? ”Well Scotch tends to be smokier. Irish whiskies are typically triple-distilled, makes it a little smoother. Also when we malt our barley, we don’t use peat to smoke ’em; we use heated air. That would be the main difference,” he says.

Cieran pretending to make a cocktail

Kieran pretending to make a cocktail

Irisch was bigger than Scotch for a very long time in fact. But a series of unfortunate events saw Scotch take over the number one position. “But over the last 25 years, Irish whiskey has gotten bigger and bigger, lead by Jameson.”

The unfortunate events include the Irish War of Independence and subsequent trade war with Britain which denied it access to Commonwealth markets.

Kieran says the worldwide revival began in a Brooklyn dive bar called Bushwick Country Club (not a country club), with affordable drinks and friendly staff. The bartenders there invented a shooter called the Pickleback. A shot of Jameson is chased by a shot of pickle brine. Gotta try it.

Owner John fixing a Pickleback

Owner John fixing a Pickleback

US is the largest market for Jameson, which takes half of their 5 million annual cases. Interestingly, 12 more distilleries are opening in Ireland over the next five years.

The second best-selling Irisch in the world is Bushmills, followed by Tullamore Dew. “Keep an eye out for Red Breast.” is his tip.

That's the delicious Scarlette O'Jameson, a cocktail with raspberries available at Locker & Loft

That’s the delicious Scarlette O’Jameson, a cocktail with among others raspberries, available at Locker & Loft only

How do the Irish drink Irisch? “Over rocks, with a little water. The younger ones drink it with ginger ale and lime.”  Ale & lime? That’s how i usually take rum!

I kinda enjoy Jameson Original. A good whiskey to be taken on it’s own, at anytime, and versatile in cocktails as well. It’s matured in a combo of ex-Bourbon barrels as well as Sherry casks.

Kieran leads a toast after the tasting session

Kieran leads a toast after the tasting session

Kieran also took a bunch of folk thru a whisky tasting, which went down at restaurant & cocktail bar Locker & Loft. Followed by shots of Jameson, like true Irish.

He however messed up big time and said ”Cheers”, but soon corrected himself – “Sláinte!!”

 

Brain damage: 7.5 / 10

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Tea cocktails

A tea distributor, Exclusivitea, had an interesting event recently at 61 Monarchy, featuring drinks that also had tea in them, as well as  Fentimans Botanically Brewed sodas. The tea, Ronnefeldt, is from Germany, with at least a dozen styles and flavours available.

Good stuff

The cocktails were created by Shirmy.

Shirmy doing the tarik

Three cocktails were available, kicking off with Berries Wonderland – Tanqueray 10, Creme de Cacao, Shiso Leaves, simple syrup, lemon juice and Ronnefeldt Sweet Berries soda. A complicated mix of flavours, however a lil on the bitter-ish side for me.

Nicely presented

The Spices Breamble is an exciting drink. It’s made of vodka infused with Ronnefeldt Masala Chai, Creme de Cassis, fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, evaporated milk and simple syrup.

I loved it. An excellent mix with tinges of fruit, spice and cream coming together amazingly. The masala taste from the tea is just right. Tho i’d prefer a little less sweetness, most would find it fine.

Comes in two parts

 

Dunk milk into glass

The final drink is made of Monkey Shoulder, Cherry Heering, Sweet Vermouth, lemon juice, dry orange peel, Fentiman’s Mandarin & Seville Orange Jigger topped with Ronnefeldt Roiboos Orange foam, called T-Joy. I got a bitch-slap after the previous milky indulgence. This one is a zesty, strong surprise, with a finish of orange and whisky.

Boom

 

Jpeg

I have yet to try the teas on their own, but they seem to be good stuff, and doing a good job by experimenting with alcohols and such. Tea-related cocktails are are quite common, but this is a good effort by Exlcusivetea.

The cocktails cost RM40 each and are available till Dec 4 at 61 Monarchy.

 

Brain damage: 7/10

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Auchentoshan shows up

Auchentoshan Single Malt Whiskey (ock-en-tosh-en) is one that has a low profile over here, which is unfortunate, coz i enjoy it. However, it carried out what was probably its first event recently, at BSC in Bangsar (WIP).

A bar popped-up

A bar popped-up

This is a single malt that originates from the Lowlands, and is one of only three remaining malt distilleries in the Lowland whisky region of Scotland. The distillery rests at the foot of the Old Kilpatrick hills overlooking the river Clyde, which runs through the heart of Glasgow in the West of Scotland.

The third still

The third still

Auchentoshan is the only Scotch whisky that is triple-distilled. What this does is that it removes more impurities for a cleaner result. It has an effect obviously, making it probably the smoothest, most delicate tasting single malt scotch whisky around.

auc

The most well-known expressions are the 12, the Three Wood and the 18.

At the event, guests had the opportunity to have some fun – making cocktails! There was a pop-up cocktail bar with all the ingredients, tools and recipes needed to make several types of drinks.

 

Taste profiles for cocktails

Taste profiles for cocktails

The one i enjoyed the most involved the Three Wood (which is aged in three types of wood), called What the Kueh!? It also consists of gula melaka, pandan reduction, and bitters, plus a scoop of passion fruit. Delicious.

Auchentoshan’s signature smooth, delicate taste is something you can expect from their products.  It’s range of whiskies are available at several bars including Locker & Loft.

The session they had was a fun, interactive event; now if only they’d be more active with this brand…

 

Brain damage: 7.5/10

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Tiffin teaser party

We had a great time at Taste of Tiffin, a two-day event at Publika organized by Freeform Untitled. Took my  mixologist Imran along as well, to check out the alcohol section.

It was certainly an experiential celebration of food and drink. Although we only attended one afternoon, it was obvious that it was a unique collection of food and drinks all in one spot, with a total guest count of 3,000.

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The set-up outside

There were three parts of the event that we visited – the food booths outside, the ones inside, and the booze section. There was some really good grub all around, and we were spoilt for choice. I vaguely recall swallowing some Mexican stuff in the afternoon while buzzed.

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The afternoon session

Anyway, my highlight was in the Black Box – the sampling sessions in the afternoon, as well as cocktail stands. I got so wasted at one point just from sampling the variety that was given, that i had to leave. Swallowed the Mexican stuff at the food section, then came back.

I enjoyed trying out some new gin from Australia, West Winds – the Sabre, and the Cutlass. Especially the Sabre – kinda tangy and sweetish. These gins are available at Locker & Loft.

There were about 40 different spirits to try at the event!

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The Wholly Spirits boys

 

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Some of the booty

 

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Many mini-bars to select from

The best part of this event is that it’s actually merely a teaser to the main event, Tiffin Week. This goes down Sept 24 – Oct 3 at Publika. Expect a very interesting and fun ten days.

Launching mid-2016

Launching mid-2016 for Sept

But in the meantime, Tiffin is also organizing an F&B experience for Urbanscapes 2016. Locker & Loft will be involved in the final weekend of Urbanscapes in KL, May 7 & 8, where we’ll be making alcoholic ”daytime drinks!” from 11am on Saturday & Sunday.

Event details here. Day-drinkers, rejoice.

 

Brain damage: 8/10

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