Macallan Amber Revisited

About a year ago I wrote about the introduction of Macallan Amber into the US market. In the intervening time Michael Jackson has called it "madness" but I disagreed and was quoted in the same article in the Scottish newspaper The Scotsman as saying:

"It’s not for purists, it’s an entry-level drug which gets people acquainted with the taste of whisky."

Macallan Amber is slowly rolling out to more markets. I was invited to DC to have lunch with Dale DeGroff (as nice a guy as I’d always expected) for the roll-out of Amber in the DC market. It was real honor for me to trade stories with a true legend of mixology and try some of the recipes Dale had created using Amber (included at the end of the story . . .)

In addition to Boston, Minneapolis, and San Francisco Amber is now available in Washington DC, Denver, and Seattle.

Originally Posted – June 9, 2006

Macallan and Boston

tribute to my upcoming appearance on Boston radio tomorrow night (June
10th) at 11:59 PM (The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ 1030 am), I thought I’d
take this chance to talk about Macallan Amber Liqueur.


I know, I know, you’re asking:

1. "What does Macallan Amber Liqueur have to do with Boston?"
2. "What IS Macallan Amber Liqueur?"
3. "Why are you on radio in Boston?"

Let’s take those questions in no particular order…

2. "What IS Macallan Amber Liqueur?"

Amber Liqueur is the first liqueur developed by Macallan. In case you
are not familiar with the concept of a whisky liqueur, I will quote
myself from Yeah it’s pink. What’s your point?

liqueur is class of spirit that is produced by mixing or redistilling
spirits with fruits, herbs, spices, and/or cream. Liqueurs are
sometimes referred to as "Cordials" and often served as a digestif
(after-dinner drink).

Whisky liqueurs are nothing new
– Drambuie, Glayva, Columba, Atholl Brose, Heather Cream, Cock O’ The
North, Stag’s Breath and Drumgray are all whisky liqueurs.

Glenfiddich, Old Puteney, Glenturret, Arran and Edradour have all released branded whisky liqueurs based on their malts.

Now that we are all up to speed, let’s continue.

Macallan has taken a very interesting approach to Amber – they’ve
used maple and pecan to flavor the Macallan single malt. The result is
something fantastic.

color is a dark deep amber and apparently no artificial coloring is at
play. Amber smells like the bestCimg1925
maple syrup you’ve ever had. You have
to really get your nose in to detect the Macallan. The taste is sweet
without being cloying at all; the maple flavor and nuttiness dominate,
but it is incredibly well balanced. Do I detect a little citrus? The
finish is where you’ll find the Macallan spice – it’s long and tasty.

Not only is this delicious neat, but I believe it would make a
fantastic cocktail ingredient. As a matter of fact, to test this theory
out, I created a "Tan Scotsman"  by mixing equal parts Amber, Kahlua
and Whole Milk and found it to be suitably worthy to add to my
repertoire. (Apologies to lovers of the White Russian).

The maple flavor is strong, so it will take a little skill to come
up with a nice cocktail that isn’t dominated by the maple, but once you
figure out the balances, you’ll have a staple ingredient in your bar.

But it doesn’t stop at cocktails – Amber could certainly bring the
average cup of latte up to a new level. I could also see this being
added to a number of foods – pour Amber on your pancakes and transform
them into a gourmet breakfast. Or as a dessert – over pears or good
vanilla ice cream. I’m not a bad cook, so I gave cooking with Amber a
shot and came up with something pretty good. Recipe below.

Attractively packaged; bottled at 25% ABV; and a suggested retail price of $34.95.

1. "What does Macallan Amber Liqueur have to do with Boston?"
Amber Liqueur was introduced exclusively into the Boston market last
October, and even now is only available in three markets – Boston, San
Francisco, and Minneapolis.

I talked to my friend Joe Howell of Federal Wine & Spirits (Boston) about Amber:

went through cases of the stuff when it was first introduced. It’s very
fairly priced. It was a very popular Christmas gift. We even had some
Canadians come down for it.

It’s a great product to have as an after or before dinner drink
when you’re having guests. It’s really good to give to people who say
they don’t like Scotch.

A good chef could do some spectacular things with Amber.

So if you are in Boston, pick up a bottle, or stop by your local hipster bar and have them whip you up something nice.

3.  "Why are you on radio in Boston?"
people are actually interested in what I have to say. Seriously, Scotch
Blog reader and Boston local Dick Syatt introduced me to some Boston
radio personalities – and this turned into stints on the Rod Fritz and
Jordan Rich shows. I’ll be talking about Scotch, the second edition of
my book, places to buy Scotch in the Boston area, and generally why
more Bostonians should be drinking Scotch.
Federal Wine & Spirits
29 State Street
Boston, MA 02109
Scallops with Bacon and Amber
1 pound of Scallops
4-5 slices of Bacon
2 ounces Macallan Amber Liqueur

  • Coarsely chop the bacon and brown in a frying pan until cooked through.
  • Remove the bacon, leaving the drippings in the pan.
  • Saute the scallops in the same pan until cooked through. Drain any liquid.
  • Pour the Amber over the scallops and saute until the scallops are coated and the Amber has reduced slightly.
  • Add the cooked bacon to pan and toss until coated.
  • Serve immediately.

Drink recipes by Dale DeGroff

The Amber Lace
2 parts Amber Liqueur
4 parts club soda or lemon-lime soda
Splash of raspberry liqueur
Slice of fresh lemon

  • Serve in a tall glass with ice and raspberries

Amber Julep
1 ounce Macallan Amber liqueur
1 ounce the Macallan 12 yr old
6 mint leaves

  • Serve in a rocks glass with crushed ice and sprig of mint

Golden Sunset (for the upscale cocktailian bar)
2 ounces (60ml) Amber   
3 ounces (90ml) Martenelli’s Sparkling Cider (non-alcoholic)
2 or 3 strawberries

  • Muddle the strawberries in the bottom of a Boston Glass
  • Add the Amber
  • Shake well with ice and double strain into a champagne flute.
  • Top with the Martinelli’s and garnish with a strawberry.

NOTE: Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider is widely available around the United States.

Golden Promise Highball (adapted from the screwdriver/wallbanger)
1 ounces (30ml) Amber
1 ounce (30ml) vodka
¼ ounce (7ml) Galliano
4 ounces (90ml) fresh orange juice 

  • Prepare the rim of a highball glass with a dusting of cinnamon.
  • Build all the ingredients over ice in a highball glass and serve.

The Speyside Car
1 ½ ounces (50ml) VS or VSOP Cognac
1 ounce (30ml) Amber 
½ ounce (15ml) fresh lemon juice

  • Shake all three in gradients well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

NOTE: The classic Sidecar is often served in a glass frosted with sugar, in the case of the Speyside Car, the sugar rim should be cinnamon and sugar mixed two parts cinnamon one part sugar.

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Comments (4)

  1. Dan Templeton

    Scotch is gaining here in China where I can only find Chivas, Black and Red label JW and
    Scottish Collie…blended stuff. I am not in Beijing or Shanghai, but the real urban China.
    I am interested in the Amber as I was thinking of my moms Maple Pecan pie and how it might be transformed by the Amber.

  2. david ditch

    Hi there from UK! You wouldn’t believe the pain i have trying to locate amber over here! i knew that you could get it from royal mile in edinburgh, but they have now stopped anyone know where i can get it from in UK!

  3. lauren

    you can buy it from the glenturret distillery in crieff, bonnie scotland.

  4. Jonathan N

    Try placing a shot glass of Amber in the frig for 10-15 minutes, making it cool not cold. It deadens the maple syrup taste and brings out the scotch while leaving just enough of the maple flavor behind to be very enjoyable.

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