Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Apr 5, 2012

Whiskey Tasting & Old Fashioneds

Over the past few months, I've been hitting up a bunch of free whiskey tastings with a friend of mine.  Let's call her Lady Whiskey, since I already nicknamed another friend of mine Whiskey.  We started to think that maybe we should host our own little whiskey tasting soiree for our friends.  Some of them are fans of the lovely brown liquors like we are, and some are just scared to try it.  Lady Whiskey and I decided that the best approach would be to serve a white whiskey, bourbon, rye whiskey, scotch and then a blended whiskey so people could discern the differences.  We did a casual presentation going over some of the basic knowledge on whiskey, and then explained each libation we were serving, the grain mash, why it had certain flavors, etc.  It was fun listening to all the different flavor notes people tasted and what they liked best.  Lady Whiskey put together a lovely and large plate of different cured meats, paté, bread, pickles, caper berries and mustards, and also baked some killer oatmeal cookies.  I brought my Spiced Bitter Bar Nuts and Guinness White Cheddar Spread.

Here's what we served:
Death's Door White Whisky - This is an un-aged whiskey, thus the white color, and it's reminiscent of tequila.  

Maker's 46 - Lady Whiskey had this bottle on hand, and figured most people had tried regular Maker's, so why not have something a little nicer?  It's aged longer than regular Maker's and has a richer caramel flavor.  

Bulleit Rye - This is my go-to whiskey for sipping on the rocks or making cocktails with.  Bulleit has only been making this rye for a year, and it's delicious, with a good price to boot.

Glenlivet 12 Year - We tried to pull a fast one on our guests by hiding the label when we poured.  There's a common misconception that all scotch is smoky, but not all distilleries dry their barley over peat fires.  Glenlivet doesn't have the smoky taste, but we had a whiskey afficionado in the room and he guessed it right away.  

High West Double Rye - I hauled this all the way back from the distillery in Park City, Utah and we served this last because it's a blended whiskey.  The 2 year-old rye has this spicy kick, while the 16 year-old rye has a mellow, caramel like flavor.  Together, it's like a whiskey party in a bottle.  

After the tasting, I did a cocktail demonstration.  Everyone should have a couple cocktail recipes in their arsenal and the two I selected have minimal ingredients and are just so delicious.  First, we made the Gold Rush, which has just 3 ingredients—bourbon, lemon juice and honey syrup.  Next, I showed everyone how to make a proper Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioned
  • 1 white sugar cube (sometimes, I use brown sugar cubes to mix things up a bit)
  • 1 tsp water
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters (you can also use other bitters flavors)
  • 3 oz bourbon or whiskey (I like making mine with the Bulleit Rye)
  • Orange peel for garnish
- Put the sugar cube in a glass, add the water and bitters and muddle that cube down.
- Add ice (I like to use my King Ice Cubes)
- Add the bourbon or whiskey and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Squeeze the orange peel over the drink and rub the outside part of the rind along the rim of the glass.
- Drop that orange peel in and enjoy!

After the cocktail demo, everyone was eager to whip up their own drink.  There was muddling, there was shaking, great conversation and plenty of laughter.  Everyone left feeling more empowered and knowledgeable about whiskey, and also made new friends.  And all five bottles were empty, so I'm pretty sure our first whiskey tasting was a smashing success.  


Riley Brent said...

These whiskeys look tasty and refreshing. I would like to attend to some whiskey tasting as well, but time does not allow me to do so. Anyway, I was able to taste that high west Whiskey, and I am very eager to taste it one more time.

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Billy said...

I agree. I also like drinking whiskeys, but I love drinking wines even more. Whiskey tasting seems like a very fun event just like wine tasting does. Anyway, one of my favorite wines is Cabernet Sauvignon made from Australia.

George Schneider said...

I am not really a fan of whiskeys. I choose wines over whiskeys as well. For me, they are healthier too. A right amount of wine is good for the heart. Because of my love to wines, I always buy wines online especially when looking forward to a special occasion.