Innovative Irish

Today’s article appears not here, but on BehindBars – the site that is used to complement the articles I write for various on and off-line publications.

The story is much more mixology focused, as I wrote it for Mixology magazine a german magazine for Mixologists, but aren’t we all mixologists at heart??

If you are a German speaker and interested in some of the world’s best writing on bartending and mixology, you should pick up the magazine.

By Kevin Erskine

Originally published in German in Mixology Magazine Issue 6/2008

The best cocktails are the ones that offer flavour complexity – built by using individual components – with each ingredient shining on its own. Fresh fruits, creams, juices, spices and herbs are being used in growing numbers – replacing the premixed mixes unfortunately clung to by the lesser bartender. More mixologists are experimenting with unusual flavours – using a wider variety of ingredients, which, at first blush, seem incongruent – but when combined in the appropriate manner prove to create new and unique flavour profiles.

However you may agree that the basis for these cocktails is far too often the same old white spirits – with mixologists tending to stick to the more neutral of these liquors. It’s the real daredevils who are branching out into more strongly flavoured spirits – including brown spirits – such as aged rum and tequilas.

Where many of these experimentalists fail is that instead of complementing these strong flavours, the mixologist tends to minimize and cover them. An over-abundance of sweet is the lazy-bartender’s way to try to subdue tequila (e.g., the Margarita). To my mind, the best bartenders are those who can create a delicious cocktail from the most flavoursome of spirits – and none are more flavourful (or varied in flavours) than the whiskies of the world. But, if the concept of a whisk(e)y cocktail sends shivers up your spine, might I suggest you consider, perhaps, Irish whiskey.

Read the rest of the article in English

Here’s a link to the german article

MY next article for Mixology is about the resurgence of Rye Whiskey.

Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza – Spring 2009 Schedule

Continuing our tradition. . . for the fifth year in a row The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America would like to extend a  discounted admission to the 2009 U.S. Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Tour for readers of The Scotch Blog.

That’s right, Once again readers of The Scotch Blog pay the same admission price that members of the SMWS pay.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is once again happy to offer a discount for tickets to our Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2008 Tour.

“Member’s Price” is $115.00 per ticket. (Our Non-member’s ticket price is now $130; therefore, this offers a $15 discount on tickets for
this year’s events) This price will be honored to anyone who calls in for a ticket and mentions that they saw the event advertised on The
Scotch Blog

All Events 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Registration begins at 6:30 pm

Seattle & Dallas Require Jackets (No denim or Athletic Wear) – All other events are Business Casual and no denim or athletic wear are requested

Society Members/The Scotch Blog readers: $115
Non-Member Guests: $130


You MUST mention The Scotch Blog when placing your ticket order. Tickets by advance purchase only: 800-990-1991.

WWW.SMWSA.COM Must be 21 years of age.

Spring 2009 Schedule

THURSDAY, March 12
The Intercontinental Club
3315 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30326

FRIDAY, March 20
The Rainier Club
820 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
Jackets Required (No denim or Athletic Wear)

THURSDAY, April 16
JP Morgan Chase Tower Building (40th Floor – Sky Lobby)
2200 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75201
Jackets Required (No denim or Athletic Wear)

THURSDAY, April 30
The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street, Denver, CO 80202
Jackets Required (No Denim or Athletic Attire)

The Roosevelt Hotel
Madison @ 45th Street, New York, NY 10017

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Founder’s Birthday Honored with “Belated” Birthday Bourbon 

Louisville, KY – Old Forester has released this year’s expression of its Birthday Bourbon in honor of George Garvin Brown, the founder of Old Forester, America’s First Bottled Bourbon™. Launched six years ago to commemorate Brown’s Birthday on September 2, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is a premium, historically award-winning bourbon and a must-have for bourbon enthusiasts.
Due to the one-time release of Old Forester Repeal Bourbon along with complications with the glass supplier, this year’s version of Birthday Bourbon was delayed until now. The bourbon remains the same as it was intended to be released on September 2, having been stored in stainless steel tanks since its maturation several months ago.
“This year’s Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is crafted from a 62 barrel batch that was distilled and barreled in the late summer of 1995,” said Chris Morris, master distiller of Old Forester. “These barrels were entered on the sixth floor of Warehouse H on September 6, 1995.  This is an upper floor location which builds heat in the summer months ensuring a robust, complex barrel character will develop. The result is a taste profile that is much more chewy in terms of rich fruit and caramel character than the 2007 and 2006 releases.”
Unlike the standard Old Forester, which is a blend of whisky from several different years, Birthday Bourbon is a vintage-dated bourbon, hand-selected by Morris from one specific day. The result is a one-of-a-kind character and flavor that will never be replicated again. Its unique decanter style glass bottle is a throwback to the late 1800’s when Old Forester was first produced.
Since its introduction in 2002, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon has received unprecedented acclaim and has collected honors from USA Today, Malt Advocate, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Santé.  A favorite among critics, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon has taken home gold from numerous tasting competitions including a gold medal in the 2005, 2006 & 2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 2007 expression was also named American Whiskey of the Year at WhiskyFest New York.
Depending on the market, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, a Brown-Forman product, retails between $35 – $40, and is sold at most liquor stores with a wide and varied range of bourbons. The 2008 edition of Birthday Bourbon is bottled at 94 proof.
About Old Forester Bourbon
George Garvin Brown was the founder of Old Forester Bourbon Whisky and Brown-Forman Corporation. Brown-Forman Corporation, Louisville, Kentucky, is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Tequila Herradura, el Jimador Tequila, Canadian Mist, Fetzer and Bolla wines, and Korbel California Champagnes.

The 2008 Drammies: Categories & Call for Nominations

It’s time for the most coveted awards in the Whisky World – The Drammies.
Think of it as a People’s Choice award – as YOU the whisky loving public choose the nominees as well as the winners.

We’ve started a little later than usual…but that’s allowed us to get a full year of Whisky products in.

Once again, we are NOT limiting nominees to Scotch Whisky…but Any And All Whiskies are fair game.

Rules for submitting nominations

1. You are allowed to offer multiple nominees for each category, but you must rate them from highest to lowest.
2. When submitting nominees, you may also supply a reason for the nomination. We reserve the right to reprint these nomination reasons.
3. PLEASE NOTE That we’ll also be taking nominations in all of the categories for NON-SCOTCH whiskies. That’s right, The Drammies are “World Whisky”.
4. Please include your name and country where you live in the email. Anonymous submissions will be disregarded.
5. Work in the industry? You are invited to submit nominations as well. PLEASE don’t just submit ONLY your company’s products.
6. Submissions from PR firms will generally be ignored.
7. The nomination period goes through February 1. Shortly after that the nominees for each category will be announced and the voting will begin.
8. Nominees should be EMAILED to kevin at thescotchblog dot com.
9. Nominations in the comments section WILL BE DISREGARDED.

Best Packaging/ Marketing Campaign
Marketing counts. This packaging is sure to make someone pick it up. Ad, viral video, commercial, packaging, publicity stunt. Whatever it was it was the best.

Bang for the Buck
You simply can’t beat this whisky at this price. You’d probably buy it if it cost more, but for now you’ll just load up on it.

Distiller/Blender/Independent Bottler of the Year
Over all this distiller/blender did the best job this year. New Products, moving the industry forward, whatever criteria you choose, these guys are in the forefront.

Most Innovative New Product
Was there anything NEW this year that just put everyone else to shame? Someone who moved the bar, tried something different.

Best New Product (whisky)
The category says it all. This product was introduced (or reached your market) in 2008. And it was simply the best new thing out there.

Best New Product (Non-whisky i.e., book, resource, web site, etc)

You couldn’t drink it, but you could read it, view it, use it. This product was introduced (or reached your market) in 2008. And it was simply the best new thing out there.

Most under-rated-whisky
This one doesn’t get any respect. People don’t know about it OR it’s just a lot better than people give it credit for.

Worst Marketing Campaign
Ad, viral video, commercial, packaging, publicity stunt. Whatever it was it was the worst.

So…Have at it.

For now we’ll leave the Nominees and winners from the 2007 Awards up at for your review.