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Hot Toddy Shots by Gabriella Mlynarczyk of Ink

December 17, 2013 Islay, Single Malt Scotch No Comments

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Hot Toddy Shots by Gabriella Mlynarczyk of Ink

4 packets (28 grams) of Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup Lagavulin Islay scotch
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup of honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey to hot water that has been infused with cloves, cinnamon and ground ginger overnight then strained)
1/2 cup ginger syrup (1:1 ratio ginger juice to cane sugar)
1/2 cup St. Elizabeth All Spice Dram liqueur or Drambuie
1/2 teaspoon cracked fresh black pepper

1. Pour the Lagavulin in a bowl and add the four packets of gelatin, allow to sit for 1 minute to bloom the gelatin powder.

2. In the meantime bring the rest of your ingredients to a simmer,  but not boil, in a pot. Add the hot honey-lemon mixture to the gelatin and whiskey and stir gently until the gelatin dissolves.

Let sit for 3-4 minutes

3. Whilst waiting prepare a silicone ice cube tray by spraying it with vegetable oil and wiping out the excess with a paper towel. The silicone and oil will make it easier to take the stock cubes out without them sticking or breaking. The mold we use is 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ from Bed Bath and Beyond or Cocktail Kingdom sells 1″ ice cube molds

4. Place the ice cube tray on a sheet pan or wooden board. Pour your Hot Toddy mix carefully into each ice cube mold, use a small pitcher or even a small funnel.

5. Place the mold in the refrigerator and allow to set for at least 12 hours, making sure the surface its placed on is even.

To prepare the Toddy:

1. Take a knife that has been dipped in hot water and run it around the edges of one of the cubes, gently pull the sides of the mold away and pull the stock cube out.

2. Slice into quarters then into eighths to make dissolving them easier. Place in your drinking vessel of choice.

3. Pour over 1 cup of either hot tea like ginger or chamomile or just plain hot water–Mlynarczyk infused hers with rosemary and lemon peel–stir for about 30 seconds, add lemon peel and cloves or anise.

Source: LA MAG

Kilchoman 4 year old for Single Cask Nation – Cask 378/07

I finally got my hands on the initial whisky release from Single Cask Nation and as a Founding member, boy, was it a wait (2/20/12 was when I signed up)…. but ultimately worth it.

Truth be told, I had the option to pick as my first bottle the 4 year old Kilchoman or the 12 year old Arran. And as much as I like both distilleries, I just had to go with the former.

Anyways, nosing the Kilchoman 4 year old is pleasurable. The label says 58.4% ABV, but I can’t really tell. My nose hairs aren’t singed. Still, it has the typical, sweet aroma. There’s notes of lemon pine sol, vanilla, cereal grain, wet leather shoe laces, and fresh peat. That peat becomes very apparent on the palate. There’s also hints of used tires. As this scotch goes down my gullet, my tongue remains coated which seems like forever. It’s always in the end where the cask strength character shines.

Delicious. I’m going to pour myself another.

Initial grade: A- / B+

Link: Single Cask Nation

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012 – Best Whisky of 2012

Last year, I had the pleasure and good fortune to attend an LA Scotch Club tasting with Kilchoman founder, Anthony Wills. It was great times had by all, and since then, I’ve been keen to try every publicly-released expression (and even some exclusive bottlings) from that distillery. And you know what? They’re all fantastic!

However, with pretty much every expression accessible to me, I always find myself gravitating to Kilchoman’s standard, Machir Bay. I find it an extremely well-balanced dram that I can spend quite a bit of time nosing and enjoying.

Though it is a vatting of some young-ish (3-, 4-, and 5-year old) whiskies (some fools will look down on this), the quality in ingredients, process, barrels, and some magic potion truly makes this a remarkable malt (and have converted some of those aforementioned fools to fanatics).

Comprised of spirits aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in oloroso sherry butts, this single malt exhibits a complexity on the nose and the palate that I can’t recall from any other scotches that I had in recent times.

Bottled at 46% ABV, nosing this whisky is a breeze. I get floral notes like hay and freshly-cut grass. There’s also some fruity tangerine, pine sol lemon, and Asian candy with Xylitol. Being from Islay, of course there’s the earthy peat. It’s a bit medicinal but not overwhelming.

Sipping it, there’s no doubt that Machir Bay is a savory, dry whisky. There’s hints of chocolate. Still, it’s all overshadowed by the peat and other goodness. I think that the 92 proof this whisky is bottled at is perfect. It allows a plethora of flavors to develop while allowing the finish to linger for a good amount of time.

Relating this to a life experience, it’s like visiting a moderately-packed county fair, complete with a farm animal petting zoo.

With a street price of around $50 a bottle, I give this a solid A grade.

Locally, it can be found at K&L and Total Wine.

Link: Kilchoman

Caol Ila 10 year old by Berry Bros and Rudd – Casks 309796 and 309881

I was at Total Wine the other day to replenish my whisky stock when I came across this 10 year old Caol Ila bottled by famed wine and spirits merchants, Berry Bros and Rudd. At a penny under $70, it represented an outstanding deal, especially for a cask strength (58.5%) from one of my favorite distilleries.

I love the natural, pale color. Just looking at it, I prepped for fruity (pears or apple) and vanilla notes, which I got on the nose. I also experienced unlit match sticks, cardboard, permanent marker fumes, and hay. The initial taste was a bit harsh which is expected for such a young and cask strength whisky. Letting it interact with the air for a bit, this dram did mellow out some. Still, it was one of the savoriest Caol Ilas that I’ve ever had. There was a lot of peat that coated the tongue, and it took forever for the alcohol to evaporate – ultra long long finish.

I gave it a B rating. It’s definitely worth picking up, especially for the price.

Link: Caol Ila

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength

I’m going to start this blog by telling you about,while also drinking, my favorite Scotch whisky, Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength. It’s a lot like the standard 10 year old, but better, primarily because, as its name implies, it was bottled right out of American oak barrels.

Hailing from the island of Islay, Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength is, in a word, AWESOME.

I love everything about it – the complexly sweet, sea-salty, medicinal nose, the peaty taste, and the extra long, smoky finish.

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