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  1. Are you confusing aroma and flavour as two distinct things. Aroma is flavour whether it is experienced through the nose or the mouth. I would disagree that the optimal strength for a dry martini is different to that of a wet one. I can see an arguement for the same ABV at the point of serving and as such the method for each having to vary to achieve this but that ABV will be significantly below 40%. I'm not sure of the science but in my experience alcohol carries flavour better than water... ie higher strength spirits seem to have a more intense flavouor so I think that there will probably be an optmum ABV that will carry the maximum flavour but be just soft enough so as to be burn free on the palate. This doesn't even take into account temperature. Cheers Ian
  2. In the experiments I have done, (all in the name of consistency and ecellence of taste) I have tried to reduce the variables involved in the process of mixing a martini but have found a curious thing. If you stir up your perfect concoction and then measure, temperature, dilution etc and try to emulate this by adding a specific quantity of chilled water to your gin and taking it to the required temperature, somehow the result is not the same as mixing room temp Gin, Vermouth and ice (cubed/cracked/whatever) to the reqired consistency. Anyone know why? Cheers Ian
  3. I work for Morrison Bowmore Distillers who own Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch. If you want to come to a talk by the blender and are around on the 21st August then let me know and I'll fix you up!! As well as visiting the distilleries you should meak time for the best malt bars in the world. A few notable ones in Glasgow are: The Lismore The Pot Still The Ben Nevis The Bon Accord Rhodric Dhu Oran Mor I have forgotten some I'm sure but that's a good list for starters. email... ian.mclaren@fiorbrands.co.uk for more details if you want... Cheers Ian PS. Good to see you here Adam... I don't know where you find the time!!
  4. Hi there I am doing some research into a new menu and have been unable to find any information on Copa Salami, well other than its Itailian. Can any one fill me on with more information, on taste, orgins, uses?
  5. Thank goodness I shelved that idea... How embarrassing would that have been!! When I went back to the forum index having posted my ideas I saw the Jello Shots thread and had a bit of a crisis of confidence in the #2 idea aswell. Never mind... Where can one buy liquid nitrogen? I'm in Scotland so specific retailers are not going to be an option but types of suppliers would be a help if anyone knows. Cheers Ian
  6. I've been asked to represent the future era of cocktails in a '200th aniversery of the cocktail' event in the UK. There are several teams representing notable eras in cocktail history (Tiki, Prohibition... etc...) and I have had to come up with two futuristic drinks. The challenge was really to come up with a couple of interesting ideas that could be cranked out at good speed as we are being asked to make 300 drinks in 30 minutes (3 of us!). Being a lover of all things Molecular I have decided to be as off the wall as possible. Given that the general public has not really heard of Molecular Gastronomy, I figured using two of the best known cocktails, and messing with them a bit, was the best approach. I have decided on: #1 A Bloody mary consisting of a semi frozen layer (churned in an ice cream maker until liquid sorbet consistency) and a hot foam layer, garnished with worcester and tabasco merangue shards. This was going to be a shot glass with frozen vodka at the bottom, room temperature clear tomato juice in the middle and hot foam on the top but the clear tomato juice has proven hard to source. #2 A trio of cosmos... A martini glass of warm water with a garnish of three gel cubes of Citron Vodka Cosmo, Kurrant Vodka Cosmo and Apeach Vodka Cosmo (three guesses who the sponsors are!!) on a cocktail stick. We are going to have to issue instructions El Bulli style as the idea is to pop a cube in the mouth followed by a sip of warm water to melt the jelly. I have no idea how these will turn out and whether or not they will be accepted by the guests as valid, quaffable drinks but what the hell. The event is on the 17th so any advice/comments would be welcome. It is meant to be a competition of sorts so any bright ideas may win me a trip to France!! Cheers Ian
  7. As far as I know they are shipping Shetland water to be distilled on the mainland into spirit. The blackwoods people are hoping to market a whisky soon and I think that they see this as their major business. They will steal the 'most northerly distillery in the UK' crown from Highland Park when they do. (not sure how coveted this is to be honest but H.P. always mention it.) The concept that botanicals are different every year so that generates a vintage product is new to gin is interesting. They tell me that it is their use of home grown botanicals, such as sea pinks, that allows them to make this statement. Personally I like the 60 but have not tasted the recent vintage so cannot comment. Cheers Ian
  8. Anyone wanting to try single malt scotch whisky should look no further than the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Founded in the early 80s by a group of friends who bought casks from distilleries and bottled it themselves, it is now an organisation with over 24000 members worldwide. They still do the same thing, buying casks and bottling them under their own label, but there is now an enormous range to choose from. All of the bottlings are cask strength, not chill filtered and one of a kind. The result is a collection of whiskies from well known distilleries (and some obscure ones) that will taste nothing like the commercial brands you see in stores. As they are in competition with the distillers own brands they are not allowed to name the distilleries but can only refer to them by number. No list is available to decode the numbers but the descriptions in the tasting notes usually give some fairly heavy hints. Check it out... you won't be disappointed!! Scotch Malt Whisky Society Cheers Ian
  9. Rosemary & Melon Martini 2 measures Gin 1 inch slice of Honeydew melon 1/2 measure of Rosemary syrup Muddle the melon, add other ingerdients, shake & double strain Cheers Ian
  10. Let's first clarify that I'm talking about Scotch throughout this post and not whiskey of any other origin. Malt whisky is a product produced at a single distillery. It is always, unless stated otherwise on the bottle, a blend from any number of casks from the distillery. The age statement on the bottle is the age of the youngest liquid in the bottle. It is Malted Barley, milled, washed and the resulting liquid fermented. This is then distilled, usually twice in pot stills and put in used oak barrels, usually from either the bourbon or sherry industries. It must stay in the barrel for a minimum of 3 yr to be called scotch whisky. The casks are blended to maintain a house style hence the fact that every bottle of Glenmorangie 10yr tastes the same. The recipe is never the same and this is the value and skill of a master distiller. Think of it as a map where you are trying to get from A to B with an unlimited number of routes in between. Grain whisky is any cereal used in the same way but distilled in a column still. It must also be aged in oak barrels for a minimum 3yr. Having said that it is legally any cereal (Mr Regan is correct!) 95% of grain whisky used in the production of scotch for consumption in well developed markets is made using malted barley (not usually maize). There are only about 4 grain distilleries in Scotland with Girvan being one of the biggest. Blended scotch: (Johnny walker(all colours), J&B rare, Dewars White Label, etc....) Is a blend of grain and malt whisky. The ratio of malt to grain will go up as the price rises with the ultra cheap own label bottles being 10% malt 90% and the better quality blends being somewhere nearer 40% Malt. A number of different Malts will be used to create the brand's style. If there is an age statement on your bottle of blended scotch (eg. Johnny Walker Gold 18yr or Chivas Regal 12yr) then that is again the age of youngest whisky in the bottle. Those which do not carry an age statement can be as young as 3yr. A very small niche in the Scotch market is the Vatted Malt bottlings. These are blends of malt whisky with no grain whisky added. Examples of this are Johnny walker Green label and Monkey Shoulder. I hope this has cleared up any confusion. Cheers Ian PS. None of the above catagories are 'better' than the other, try everything (even the cheap stuff) and make up your own mind!!
  11. I think this is a touch simplistic when talking about scotch malt whisky. The raw ingredients do play an enormous part in the end flavour, especially on Islay! When we talk about scotch it is important to remember that we are not talking about a continuous distillation process. The nature of the fact that it is batch distilled means that it is a spectrum of proof that is taken off (the middle cut or heart). This makes it a more complex product due to the comparatively high levels of congeners in the lower end of the cut. The people at Ardbeg are currently doing exciting things with young single malt and different levels of char in their barrels so whilst I'd probably agree with the broad statement every whisky is different. Any alcoholic spirit will have trigger points in its alcoholic strength at which different flavours will be released. So it really depends what you want to get out of your glass as to how strong you want it to be. Let's remember that unless your dram stipulates that it is single barrel or single cask on the label it is always blended. The main job of a distiller is to maintain the house style and that can only be achieved through blending. Blended whisky is not single malt cut with vodka, it is a blend of a variety of single malts with grain whisky, which is produced under the same laws as the malt. Granted it is produced in a column still but it must still be produced from malted barley and spend 3 years in an oak barrel. If you taste grain whisky, which is not likely unless you visit a distillery or find a rare bottling of Cameron Brig, it has a much lighter flavour but is still most definitely whisky. Sure there are good blends and not so good, but none of them are malt cut with vodka. Drink blends, there is nothing wrong with them!... Particularly try Monkey Shoulder which is a vatted malt from 3 distilleries... v.interesting Cheers Ian
  12. I think it would be unkind to say that it is just for show (especially as I don't know a great deal about the case in point) as the malt you see being turned etc will definitely be used!! You could class it as keeping old traditions alive or as passing on old methods rather than just hamming it up for the tourists (and the travel channel)
  13. I run an annual cocktail competition in our group of bars and this year yielded, one Butternut squash drink, one red onion/balsamic vinegar reduction drink and the winners recipe contained Capsicums or red peppers as I know them. There are lots of possibilities. I tried a cheese based martini once with Applewood smoked.... not nice! Cheers Ian
  14. Yes they are... Afraid there isn't a cetain malster that supplies any one of the regions. I'll ask a couple of the whiskey reps I know which company they get their stuff from but I doubt they'll know off the top of their heads. Check out this maltsters page for a glimpse of what is involved Yes malt is shipped around Scotland in tankers. Most distillaries I have been to have large driveways for the trucks to pull in and drop the malt into building. All thoroughly unromantic and as a Scot I feel like I'm blowing the lid on some sort of scandal. The demise of the maltings is not a new thing. Most of the iconic pagodas that you see on bottles and logos of Malt bottlings have been visitor centres for a while now. Indeed I ate lunch in what used to be the maltings at Cardu (home of Johnny Walker!!) not so long ago. The use of peat is another matter however. Not only is peat a non renewable resource but also it is not naturally occuring around the areas that many distillaries are found. So to say that they are going against centurys of tradition is a bit of a red herring. I don't want to consider what malt whisky tasted like at its inception or even 100 years ago!! Some advances in technology are good and as far as I can see and there would be no Malt whisky industry if it weren't for the use of commercial maltsters. There is no way that the comparatively tiny groups of buildings that comprise the majority of distillaries could churn out enough raw materials to produce even 5% of what is currently sold worldwide. So it is produced from barley that is not malted on the premises, so it is bottled in Glasgow or Kilmarnock, that is commercial detail that shouldn't detract from the fantastic liquids that get produced. Cheers Ian PS. Hope your dram doesn't taste any different as a result of this thread
  15. Mr. Craddock would have had a lot more trouble filling the pages of the Savoy cocktail book had he stuck to this rule!! See: Hoffman House Cocktail Martini (dry) Montpelier Marguerite All have the same ingredients but in different proportions This is only one of many examples Cheers Ian
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