The focus is squarely on our favorite brown spirit and the products represented are predominantly whiskies. Brandy, Vodka, liquers and Rum make appearances but are in the extreme minority.
For us, it's a whisky wonderland.
Every one of these shows has its own personality and character. Some of that comes from the format, some from the attendees and a health chunk comes from the sponsors. People like John Hansel and Riannon Walsh work very hard to keep these three forces in alignment and aimed in the right direction.
WhiskyFest is very much an industy showcase. The major players and minor importers are on the same footing here. Everyone has the same space to work with, but that doesn't imply that the presentations are at all equal.
Mark and I trace the genesis of our whiskey adventures back to a science fiction convention in March of last year, but perhaps the biggest watershed for us was attending WhiskeyFest San Francisco in 2007. WhiskeyFest is an annual event hosted by Malt Advocate Magazine in
Once again proving that no sacrifice is too great, I boldly ventured on to the Jameson Bartenders Ball last night. Oh... what I won't do for my readers :)
This event is hosted By Jameson 3 times a year here in Northern California and last night was the last one for the year. It's a heck of a party and nothing like what I expected. I was imagining something with the lights up, music mellow and insiders chatting about products, promotions and other aspects of the spirits industry. This was just a wet tshirt contest short of spring break.
The drink menu was extensive: Jameson neat, Jameson on the rocks, Jameson and soda, Jameson and ginger ale, Jameson and cola, Jameson and American Honey or American Honey. All of the open bars were stocked with cases of Jameson and it was flowing freely.
I'm so happy St' Patrick's day is here again. The one day a year I can convince a large number of my coworkers to join me in some good Irish cheer. Every year I celebrate at the office by making a large pot of coffee, bringing in some whipping (or whipped) cream and a bottle of Irish Whiskey. I have a feeling that Guinness might make an appearance as well.
This year, in honor of Bushmills 400th anniversary, I wll be making them with Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey. I was considering going with Bushmills Black Bush or Bushmills Malt 10 but settled on the Bushmills Original for economic reasons.Not the least of which is that I can get a full liter of Original for less than a 750ml of the other two. Also just to sweeten the deal a little bit more, I'll bring in the Carolan's Irish Cream. I normally stock Bailey's Irish Cream but I'm out at the moment and the Carolan's was a very good deal at Christmas.
Bushmills has given me a couple dozen Black Bush / 400th Anniversary key chains to give to you my lucky readers. I'll have a picture of them here tonight, they're quite nice.
This is part of the 400th anniversary celebration and a reminder to go vote for the Bushmills Twin city in America.
Use the form here to send me your mailing address and I will get it out to you right away. I only ask that you pay the shipping. ($1.50 US)
Use the paypal button for US delivery:
UPDATE: I've decided to catch up with the rest of the world and start using a 100 point scale. We probably will never rate anything below 30 points (because we're not planning on rating anything that doubles as an industrial floor cleaner) but the conversions to the old ratings will be easy enough.
- Bushmills Original - 50
- Jameson Original - 50
- Crown Royal - 50
- Crown Royal Special Reserve - 55
- Midleton 2007 - 85
- Bushmills 21 - 87
I think this works, considering I also placed Bushmills 1608 at an 88
The other night, Mike, Travis and I got together to do some serious tasting. Before we began we had four new bottles to open. We tasted Bushmills 10, Bushmills 21, Midleton 2007, The Balvenie Doublewood, and Scapa 14.
This is hard work. There are so many great flavors there to try and quantify, codify and categorize them is very difficult. But that is what we do and we try to do it well.
Boy, Bushmills is very busy this year. In addition to the release of Bushmills 1608, they're doing a Twin Cities poll with a drawing for a trip to Ireland:
When we had the opportunity to pour the Bushmills 1608 at our fund raiser we where thrilled on multiple levels. Not only did we get to share one of the finest Irish whiskeys with people who would truly appreciate it, but we were able to do so before the official Release. We only pulled it out for the very savvy or the very curious. Even with its limited exposure, and our lack of emphasis on its presence, the 1608 created a buzz of excitement every time we pulled it out.
Now that was fun!
The day was rainy and somewhat miserable, but this didn't dampen our spirits at all. We were prepared for an entertaining evening where we were part of the main draw.
Mike went down early to drop off the whiskey and to scope out the location while Mark was still working at his day job. There were many supplies that had still not ben acquired and they would have to come at the last minute like so much of this event.
There were a lot of firsts last night. Last night was the first time the CADHC had a Whiskey Bros. Whiskey Tasting at their event. This was also the first time we had done an event like this one and our first time out with the point cards. The first time I'd served whiskey in the same room with a camel was also the first time we had done a party at Long Branch Farms.
Best though, it was the first time many of our guests had tried the whiskeys we brought.
Mike spoke about our selection process for this suite, and I can honestly say that we were on the right track, but the audience was a bit of a surprise. We had assembled a list that was heavy on Bourbons and fairly common bottles, and adding in more Scotch as it became possible via donations. As it happens,this crowd was very much into the single malts. We had quite a few people that were interested in the high end stuff, more than I imagined.
Some had never tried premium single malts, others had some experience but wanted to learn more. Diageo provided us with a flavor map that helped us explain the regions and traditional flavors of Scotland better.
Back in November down at WhiskeyBros HQ, Mark and I were enjoying some old favorites and discussing what exactly belonged on the list of whiskey to bring to the upcoming tasting. It was an extremely interesting and elucidating discussion for both of us, in that it gave us an opportunity to discuss what our favorites were, and why, as well as trying to find the perfect mix to fit a western themed event. Another important factor we took in to account was the actual experience of our tasters; are these people who can tell a Highland Scotch from an Islay by the nose? Or are these people who have enjoyed the occasional Jack Daniel's or Johnny Walker when it was around, but haven't explored much? With all this in mind, and a budget besides, we set to work building and cutting a list of whiskey that would be accessible to novices while still providing something special for the aficionados.
We always ring in the new year at home. We have a large number of friends and family join us at our home to party together. There are lost of holiday cocktails to choose from. This year I whipped-up (quite literally) a bunch of Irish Coffees and egg nog. This batch of Irish Coffees was particularly good so I thought I would publish the details of their construction.
- 2oz (6cl) Jameson Irish Whiskey or Bushmills Black
- 4oz (12cl) Peet's Coffee Holiday Blend Coffee
- 1tbsp (1.5cl) dark brown sugar
- approx 3oz (9cl) hand whipped cream (prepared as described below)
I prepared the whipped cream by whisking 8 oz (24cl) heavy whipping cream, 2oz (6cl) powdered sugar and 1tsp (.5cl) vanilla extract to soft peaks. The drinks were assembled by mixing the sugar and whiskey together, wile it was still in motion, pour in the coffee and top off with the whipping cream. We used standard 10-12oz coffee mugs and when the drink was ready, the cream was filling it to the top.
It's amazing how much writing can pile up in a short time. Even more amazing is how much a little cut can affect one's ability to write. So this will be my attempt to catch up on everything that has happened in the last few days.
It seems that every serious exploration of Irish whiskeys travels through the Midleton Distillery in the form of Red Breast. Even a discussion of Bushmills Black eventually mentions it.
The Whiskey Bros. owes quite a bit to that particular spirit. It is one of the first to raise our sights beyond the myopic selections of basic liquor stores and big-box grocery chains.
Whiskey Bros. is pleased to announce our sponsorship of the Coastside Adult Day Health Center's (http://www.coastsideadultdayhealth.org) annual Texas Hold'em Tournament. We will be hosting a whiskey tasting event to benefit the CADHC, who will be using proceeds from this event to continue their work providing care for seniors.
WHEN: Thursday, January 31st, 5pm - 10pm
WHERE: Long Branch Saloon & Farms (Google Map)
TICKETS: Poker and Dinner: $100 buy-in with $75 rebuy. Dinner only: $25. Whiksey Tasting: $25 at the event. Includes shot glass and 20 point tasting card. See below for advance purchase details.