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Whisky Guide European Bartender School


CONTENTS The Whisky Story: From Grain to Glass

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Training the Taste Buds: Become a Whisky Expert

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Whisky Price Guide

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Pour Yourself a Cocktail

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The Whisky Insider

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Part 1 The Whisky Story: From Grain to Glass

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A Brief History of Scotch Whisky: From Moonshine to Magic

Scotch whisky, the water of life, is more than just a drink. It’s Scotland’s most famous export and arguably as iconic as haggis, kilts, and perhaps even The Proclaimers. Made from malted barley and then distilled in recycled oak barrels for at least three years (and one day), there’s heritage and history in every drop. Whether you’re sipping a single malt straight, having it on the rocks, in a cocktail, or even just with coca cola, anyone can enjoy whisky, in almost any setting. Today, you can find thousands of varieties of whisky and price points ranging from a few pounds a glass to a few thousand. So, how did scotch become a booming global trade worth billions of pounds?

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Whisky is a slow drink. It’s slow in its history and slow in its drinking. So, let’s take a trip back in time to see how it has evolved. Scottish distilleries have been producing barrels of whisky since the early 15th century. Records show that even royalty liked a wee dram; back in 1494 King James IV of Scotland sent a large consignment of malt to a Scottish friar to make what he called “aquavitae” (or whisky to the rest of us). Of course, it wasn’t just the nobility who enjoyed a tipple, the drink quickly began to grow in popularity. This was partly thanks to some cool indie monks who made their living distilling it around the country. Inevitably, being such a well-loved drink, whisky didn’t stay put for long. It first spread to England and Ireland, where the Bushmills distillery was founded, in 1608. It’s still in operation today - making it the oldest distillery in the world. Then, as people sailed over to America to start a life in the new world, it took up root across the pond too. Back home, things changed considerably when the Act of Union joined England and Scotland in 1707. The government soon introduced the malt tax, which was a huge burden on the whisky producers of Scotland. To avoid the attention of the tax collectors, people started distilling at night so the darkness would hide their activities. This is the origin of the word “moonshine”. Up until about 1830, most whisky was made in small scale pot stills which limited production. Whisky was also sterner stuff with a hot and fiery quality and often not that enjoyable. A former taxman and ingenious inventor called Aeneas Coffey came to the rescue and created a new type of still that allowed grain whisky to be produced on a much larger scale. Grain whisky differs from malt whisky in that it’s made from a combination of malted barley, corn, wheat or rye, rather than only malted barley. Mixing well with traditional malt whisky, the resulting blend is lighter, smoother, and much more palatable for the average person. Later, partly thanks to Coffey’s invention and its newly refined character, blended whisky’s popularity really exploded. Carried across the world by soldiers and merchants during the height of the British Empire in the mid-19th century. It became popular in countries as far and wide as Japan, India, and South Africa. Soon locals were producing it themselves, giving rise to the huge array of whisky (and whiskey) we have today; from Irish whiskey, American Bourbon and Tennessee straight, to Japanese whisky and Rye whiskeys. As you might expect, each type has its own qualities, flavours, distinctions, and dash of local flair.

To avoid the attention of the tax collectors, people started distilling at night so the darkness would hide their activities. This is the origin of the word “moonshine”. EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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Whisky or Whiskey?

Wait, is it Whisky or Whiskey? Actually, it’s both! It’s generally accepted that whisky from Scotland is spelled without an ‘e’ and whiskey from Ireland and the US has one. Japanese whisky making follows the Scottish tradition and so drops the ‘e’ too. But why the difference in spelling? Consensus is that whisky comes come from the Gaelic word uisce, which means “water”. Both Scottish and Irish transliterations of the word were slightly different, so while the spelling has changed over the years, really the difference in spelling is nothing more than convention.

Know Your Stuff: Single Malts, Grain Whisky and Blended Whisky Single malt whiskies are produced by individual distilleries and only contain one variety of malted barley. It’s distilled twice using pot stills and aged in oak barrels, which give it a rich woody colour and infuse it with unique flavours. The characteristics of each single malt whisky will change considerably depending on the water and malt, the barrels, the peat, the land and the distillation process, and length of maturation. Grain whisky can be made from a number of different cereal crops including rye, corn wheat, and malted barley. It tends to be stronger, smoother, but less flavoursome than single malt whiskies, and is often used to make blended whiskies as a result. Blended whisky is made when single malts and grain whiskies are mixed together to produce a smoother drink. Most mass market whisky brands use blends because it allows them to standardise character and flavour notes. It takes a great deal of expertise and the nose of a master distiller to match flavour combinations from dozens of different single malts and grain whiskies to create a recognisable final product.

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A License to Distill: How Whisky is Made Nose a glass of scotch and you’re not just sniffing some alcohol, you’re experiencing hundreds of years of tradition. While every distillery has its own way of doing things, it’s a relatively simple drink to make and the process remains much the same.

Making Scotch: The Process The first step to making scotch is to malt the barley. It’s soaked and dried a number of times and laid out on the floor to germinate. Once the little green sprouts are showing (and long before a full blown barley crop has grown in the shed), it’s dried in a kiln (oven). At this point, peat can be added to the fire to include a smoky quality to the spirit. The kiln stops the germination and the roasted grain is ground up and made into a powder called grist. This is then mixed with hot water in a large heater called a mash tun. Once the starch in the grain has broken down, the whisky makers are left with a liquid called wort. Next, the wort is poured into a big vat called a washback. Yeast is added to start the fermentation process and it bubbles away like a witch’s cauldron, creating alcohol. This liquid - now called the wash - is distilled twice. This takes two copper stills; the wash still and the spirit still. The wash still heats and vaporises the alcohol, which is then carried to the spirit still. At this point the spirit is called low wines. The spirit still distills the alcohol further. The resulting spirit is then poured into oak barrels to mature. In Scotland, there are some very strict rules governing whisky making. Some of the key points are that the spirit must be matured for a minimum of three years and one day in a charred oak barrel, and of course - that it must be made in Scotland. EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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Scottish Whiskies Here are the five main whisky making regions in Scotland. Highlands and Speyside Whisky The highlands region produces excellent single malt whisky that’s almost as varied as its scenery. There’s something to suit all tastes including aged whiskies that are sweet, smoky, floral, and even a touch salty. There are dozens of renowned distilleries in the Highlands. Glengoyne distillery, for example was founded in 1833 just north of Glasgow in Dumgoyne. It produces unpeated whisky with complex, bold flavours. Speyside, an annex of the Highlands, is in northeastern Scotland. Again, there are dozens of Speyside distilleries and the region produces a large number of single malts. Strathisla is one of the most famous, being the longest running distillery in Scotland (founded in 1786). It produces a sublime single malt that is also used as the main component of the Chivas Regal Blend. Lowlands Whisky There are currently only six operational whisky distilleries in the Scottish Lowlands - and today this region is mostly known for producing whisky to be used in blends. However, there are still some good single malts to be found. The Bladnoch distillery, for example, produces a highly palatable whisky. The furthest south of all the Scottish distilleries, it was founded on the banks of the Bladnoch river near Wigtown by the McClelland family in 1817. With a few ups, downs, and some temporary closures, it’s now operational, producing a limited supply of its fruity single malt. EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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Campbeltown Whisky Campbeltown is located in southwest Scotland and was once the beating heart of whisky production. Still famous for peaty, slightly salty, and smoky single malts you can find a range of full-bodied varieties. This region is also home to the oldest independent whisky producer in Scotland, the Springbank distillery, which was founded in 1828. With three different malts, it produces a range of whiskies with maturation times ranging from 10 years to 21 years. Islands Whisky The Scottish islands produce an array of peaty single malts. These distilleries are based on Arran, Lewis, Skye, Mull, Orkney, Arran, and Jura, and the characteristics of each whisky can vary. The Arran distillery for example, was founded relatively recently (1994) and produces a single malt that is also used in blended varieties. Islay Whisky Quite literally an island unto itself, Islay is in the west of Scotland and has a number of distilleries. With dry, smoky, strong characters, Islay whiskies are often said to be quite fiery - you’ll also notice a coastal influence as some have a salty, even seaweedy characteristic. Over 200 years old, the Laphroaig distillery on Islay producers a distinctive example of a Single malt Scotch Whisky. Rich, peaty, and downright rustic, it has both fans and detractors, but we certainly think it deserves a mention!

With dry, smoky, strong characters, Islay whiskies are often said to be quite fiery - you’ll also notice a coastal influence as some have a salty, even seaweedy characteristic. EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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Part 2 Training the taste buds: become a whisky expert

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Learn how to taste Whisky Soaked in history and full of culture and tradition, whisky certainly has some mystery to it. Many people want to know more and they especially want to learn how to taste whisky. Whether you’re heading to a distillery to do a whisky tasting course or you’re simply having some friends over for a whisky night, it’s a good idea to have some of that sommelier know-how up your sleeve. Our whisky tasting guide will take you through the process, introduce you to some useful vocabulary to help you describe whisky, and give you some key information. Step One: The Whisky Glass There are several different types of whisky glasses and some are better for a tasting session than others. Copita or tulip style whisky glass

The Copita style glass is a type of Spanish sherry glass. It has a wide base, a stem, and the sides narrow to the top. This makes it ideal for nosing. Nosing is the action of smelling the whisky to uncover its aromas, characteristics and “personality”. The stem allows the taster to keep the whisky from warming in their hand, and the “tulip’ shape of the glass allows the alcohol vapour to dissipate, without overwhelming the more subtle aromas of the whisky. Glencairn whisky glass Also well-adapted for nosing whisky, the Glencairn glass has been specifically designed for swirling, observing, and drinking. Like the Copita, the shape of the glass allows the taster to appreciate the delicate smell and flavours of the drink in hand. EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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Snifter glass Snifters are a relatively common way to serve straight whisky. The bowl-like shape of the glass, means it does not tend to filter out the alcohol vapour in the same way as the Glencairn or Copita. This makes it harder for the taster to discern the more ethereal notes and aromas, resulting in a flatter tasting session. Tumbler and Highball Not designed for tasting at all, the tumbler and highball glasses are best when you simply want a good whisky on the rocks with ice and soda, or whisky cocktail. Step Two: Whisky Legs Contrary to popular belief, whisky legs aren’t what you get after an evening of whisky tasting. Rather they’re the transparent remnants of alcohol that coat the sides of your glass and then ‘walk down’ after swirling your drink. By observing how quickly the whisky legs return to your drink, you’re able to see how viscous your whisky is. If your whisky has quick legs, it’s lighter on its feet and probably quite young. Slow whisky legs, on the other hand, indicate a heavier, more mature whisky. Step Three: Nosing Your Whisky According to Nature Magazine, the human nose has 400 different scent receptors and can identify over a trillion different scents. Quite a feat! With your new found super power, you’ll be able to really enjoy your whisky. When you go to smell - or ‘nose’ - your whiskey, you should do it in stages. The first sniff will probably be quite alcoholic and you won’t catch many of the drink’s subtleties. Being so strong you should also avoid inhaling for too long, or you might start feeling dizzy.

Smell is a very nostalgic sense, so let the whisky tap into your memory. What does it remind you of?

The second, third, and fourth inhales will give you more of an idea of the whisky’s character. First, let your mind go blank and allow your nose to take over. Smell is a very nostalgic sense, so let the whisky tap into your memory. What does it remind you of?

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Perhaps you notice the salt air of a seaside walk, the warmth of the sun on a summer field, your uncle’s old smoky pipe, a waft of an oak tree in the forest, or even a putrid cabbage. Whatever you smell, note it down, clear your mind, and sniff again. Step Four: Add a Splash of Water A drop of still water in your whisky will dilute the alcohol slightly and bring out the flavour. It’s a good way to get a real handle on your drink and understand it more deeply. Ice will dilute it too much and make nosing the whisky very difficult (chilling the nose will dampen your sense of smell). Step Five: Tasting and Savouring Your Whisky Ah, the fun bit. Sip, savour, and swallow. It’s time to look out for different flavours, how it interacts with your taste buds and also how it goes down. Does it have a bite? Is it a sweet tasting scotch? Does it feel angry? Smooth or salty? There’s no wrong answer, what you experience is yours. Simply observe what you taste and note it down.

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Sound like a whisky expert When you’re dressed to impress and swilling some whisky, you should probably know your lingo too. If you don’t know a “citrus” whisky from a “peaty” one, our quick vocabulary guide will help you describe your drink. And remember, you can be poetic! Tell people what your drink reminds you of, how it makes you feel, and use your memory, and all of your senses.

Bready - perhaps your whisky has an element of wheat, reminding you of French baguettes and fresh produce Dry - less fruity, with very little sweetness, you might ask for a glass of water afterwards Fruity - sweet, fresh and light, perhaps there’s a hint of oak in there too

Balanced - the flavours blend well and nothing is particularly overwhelming

Citrus - can you taste orange, lemon or other fruits?

Youthful - light, bright interesting flavours, but hard to define and distinguish

Light - it’s easy to drink, refreshing, and open Peaty - you can taste the smoke and it reminds you of the highlands

Mature - smooth, well blended, distinctive notes, and flavour tones Smoky - your whisky reminds you of log fires and oak trees Fiery - it has a bite as it goes down, and perhaps a stronger taste of alcohol than you would prefer

Seaweedy - taste the ocean and feel like a pirate, this is probably a whisky from the islands Salty - some whiskeys have a salty or briney quality EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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A Whisky Glossary ABV - ABV stands for Alcohol By Volume. The higher the ABV, the stronger your drink is. By law, Scotch whisky must be bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40% ABV, but can be higher depending on the producer. American Whiskeys - Most American whiskeys are types of grain whiskey, with a large corn (maize) component. These are the most common variations: Bourbon: the classic American whiskey, made famous in Kentucky, is aged in new, charred white oak barrels. In terms of flavour, you’ll probably notice a slightly sweeter flavour than traditional malt whisky. This is thanks to the type of grain used; bourbon is made from at least 51% corn, though it can have other grain components. If you’re looking for a classic Kentucky bourbon, Maker’s Mark is a good place to start. Tennessee whisky: is a subcategory of bourbon. Jack Daniels, for example, is classed as a Tennessee whisky and that distinctive “Jack Daniels taste” comes from its journey through a tightly packed charcoal filter. But in most cases it can be hard to spot the difference between a bourbon and a tennessee whisky. Rye Whiskey: aged for at least 2 years, rye whisky is distilled from at least 51% rye and also often contains malted barley and corn. It has a fruity, spicy character, and a deep, satisfying colour. Want a rye whisky cocktail? Try a Rye Old Fashioned, for a slightly drier taste along with some Don Draper flair. Wheat whisky: this “bready” sweet whisky is made up of at least 51% wheat and a combination of other grains. If a whisky contains less than this percentage of wheat, it may be considered a “wheated bourbon” instead. Aged in oak barrels and matured as with other styles, it can have complex flavours, but is often quite sweet. Barrel - there’s more to a whisky barrel than meets the eye. All Scotch whisky barrels are made from oak - a porous hardwood that allows the spirit to seep in and out, adding colour and character to the product. Scotch producers never use new barrels. Distilleries typically source their barrels from American bourbon producers, but old wine or rum casks can also be used. The inside of the barrels are charred before the spirit is left to mature, adding to the complexity and depth of the whisky’s character. EUROPEAN BARTENDER SCHOOL

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Blended Whisky - blended whisky refers to a combination of single malt and grain whiskies. Large-scale producers employ highly-skilled master distillers to blend whiskies. Their years of experience and welldeveloped palate allows them to combine a number of flavour characteristics in order to produce a recognisable final product.

Uisge beatha is the Scots Gaelic term meaning “water of life”. The modern spelling of whisky is derived from this word.

Malted Barley - barley is soaked in water and allowed to germinate. It’s then heat treated, halting the germination process, which creates malt. A principal ingredient in many types of whisky, malt has a type of enzyme that breaks starch into sugars, which can then be fermented to create alcohol. Mash - malt is ground into a powder called grist and then put in a large container called a mash tun along with hot water. Proof - the ‘Proof’ of any alcohol is calculated by doubling the percentage of alcohol by volume. For example, a whisky with 40% alcohol will be 80 proof. Still - whisky stills are large heaters made of copper, designed to distill the spirit. The first distillation goes through the wash still and creates an alcoholic liquid called low wines. On the second distillation it goes through the Spirit Still, which creates a much higher proof alcohol. Uisge Beatha - uisge beatha is the Scots Gaelic term meaning “water of life”. The modern spelling of whisky is derived from this word. Wash - wash is the alcoholic liquid which is then distilled to make whisky.

Whisky Legs - swirl your whisky in a glass, you’ll see the transparent remnants of alcohol called whisky legs. Fast-moving whisky legs indicate a younger, lighter whisky. Slower legs show an older, more viscous drink. Wort - wort is the liquid taken from the mash tun; once yeast is added it’ll ferment and create an alcoholic liquid.

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Part 3 Whisky Price Guide

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How Much Does a Good Whisky Cost?

The most expensive whisky in the world was probably the Macallan “M” whisky, which sold at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2014 for an eye-watering $628,205. Then, in April 2018, another record was broken when two very rare 1926 Macallan whiskies were sold in Dubai for $1.2 million at luxury spirits retailer Le Clos. This was officially the most “expensive whisky retail sale in history” according to Forbes magazine. If you have more conservative tastes, you might want to try the Dalmore 50 Year Old, which will only set you back £50,000 a bottle. But still, definitely a sipping whisky. Most of us though, are looking for a drink that doesn’t cost the same as a TESLA. It’s important too to remember that price doesn’t always reflect quality. Production, quantity and demand can all cause prices to go up or down. And you can certainly get a very decent whisky (or whiskey) for less than £50. Here’s our price guide to help you choose the right whisky for you.

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Price point: £20-40 Looking for a good whisky for a night in with friends? Or the perfect whisky for a cocktail? These are some excellent choices for under £40.

Grant’s Family Reserve Whisky

Jack Daniels

What? Where? How much? -

What? Where? How much? -

40% ABV, 1L Sainsbury’s £20

We love Grant’s, it’s a versatile, accessible whisky with a fruity aroma and light, malty taste with some slightly smoky sweetness. Drink it straight or use it in a cocktail and you won’t be disappointed.

Laphroaig Select Single Malt Whisky 40% ABV, 1L Sainsbury’s £30

Great alone, with ice, or in a cocktail, Jack Daniels is a party favourite, and a high quality Tennessee Whiskey.

What? Where? How much? -

40%, 70cl Sainsbury’s £33.00

This is a distinctive single malt whisky with a big character. Peaty, fiery and with a touch of the sea, this one is to be enjoyed alone with a drop or two of still water.

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Price point: £41-70 If you want something special for your drinks cabinet or an impressive bottle for your fatherin-law, you won’t be disappointed with this selection for under £70.

Johnnie Walker Swing

Lagavulin 16 Year Old

Macallan 10 Year Old Fine oak range

What? Where?

40%, 70cl The Whisky Exchange How much? - £51.45

What? Where?

43% ABV 70cl The Whisky Exchange How much? - £55.45

What? Where?

The first thing you’ll notice is the distinctive bottle which “swings” when pushed. Then you’ll get lost in the dark gold spirit. With slightly smoky notes of oak, fresh with a touch of sweetness.

This whisky is a bit of a headturner. It doesn’t go down without a fight, but those who love it, really do. It’s a full-bodied single malt that hails from Islay and has a distinctive peaty, deep and dry quality.

This accessible Speyside single malt Scotch whisky has a medium body, which is slightly smoky with reminders of heather, oak and malt and some sweet undertones of honey.

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40% ABV 70cl The Whisky Exchange How much? - £69.95

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Price point: £70-110 Feeling fancy? Here’s our top pick for those willing to spend up to £110 on a quality bottle of whisky.

Caol Ila 2002 Distiller’s Edition

Glenlivet Code

What? Where? How much?

What? Where? How much?

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43% ABV, 70cl The Whisky Exchange £71.95

Full-bodied, smoky, rich with good level of sweetness, this is a good whisky to taste, savour and enjoy.

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70cl / 48% The Whisky Exchange £99.95

This Speyside single malt Scotch whisky is a little... different. With no information about the nose, taste or finish, Glenlivet are challenging its fans to test their senses and crack the “code”. According to Glenlivet the tasting notes will be revealed at the end of 2018.

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Price point: £111-150 It’s getting pretty serious over £100 and whisky connoisseurs will be delighted with these distinctive single malts.

Aberlour 18 Year Old

The Glenfiddich Distillery Malt Whisky

What? Where? How much?

What? Where? How much?

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43% ABV The Whisky Exchange £117

The Aberlour is a rich, full-bodied, mildly sweet whisky and extremely drinkable. North of £100, this 18-year-old single malt scotch is one to enjoy on its own with a drop or two of still water to open up the dram.

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Variable ABV, 70cl Glenfiddich Online £120.00

With a fruity, aroma and a dash of vanilla, it’s a complex whisky with spicy hints of oak, ginger and other rich flavour tones.

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Price point: £150 + If you really want to push the boat out and try something special, we’ve thrown an Irish single malt and an American bourbon into the mix.

Bushmills 21 Year Old

Four Roses Small Batch 2013, 125th Anniversary Bourbon

What? Where? How much?

What? Where? How much?

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40% ABV, 70cl The Whisky Exchange £169

This Irish single malt whiskey is a medium-bodied and sweet. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks for 19 years and finished in ex-Madeira casks for a further 2 years, this is a top class Irish Whiskey from the oldest distillery in the world.

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51.6% ABV, 70cl The Whisky Exchange £550

We’ve thrown a bourbon into the mix here. Matured in selected casks, the 125th anniversary in 2013, the Four Roses is a limited edition that has been aged for 13 to 18 years. At this price, you are buying its rarity, quality and an interesting talking point.

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Part 4 Pour Yourself a Cocktail

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Five Whisky Cocktails to Make at Home

Is it time to liven up your house parties? Or perhaps you want to impress someone special the next time they come round for dinner? Whatever the occasion - cocktails are fun, but it can be hard to know where to start. The good news is, we’re here to help! Cocktails don’t have to be complicated and having a few simple whisky cocktails up your sleeve could be just the ticket. Whether you’d like to make a classic Old Fashioned, a tangy Whisky Sour or a sweet Rob Roy, or you’d simply like to try something new, here are five popular cocktails to make with whisky that will certainly hit the spot.

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Brown Derby Cocktail

Origin The Brown Derby cocktail is a bit glam, coming straight out of Tinseltown. It was invented in the Vendome Club in the 1930s and was named after a hat-shaped restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard.

Taste A refreshing, chilled grapefruit whisky cocktail.

When to drink it With its Hollywood history and elegant appeal, this is a refreshing drink for a romantic summertime date night.

Ingredients Bourbon 4.5 cl Fresh grapefruit juice 3 cl Honey syrup 1.5 cl Grapefruit zest

How to make it 1. Add your honey syrup and fresh grapefruit juice to a mixing tin. 2. Introduce the bourbon and ice. 3. Shake it well and strain the chilled drink into a cocktail glass. 4. Garnish with some grapefruit zest.

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Old Fashioned Origin Like lots of old fashioned things, the origin of this cocktail is a little unclear. Some say it was first mixed in the Pendennis Club in Kentucky in 1881, but this is unlikely to be the case as there are records of it dating back 12 years before the club was opened. It is probably an evolution of an old-timey New Orleans cocktail called the Spoon cocktail (so named because a spoon was left for the customer to stir in the sugar that hadn’t dissolved). But wherever it came from, it’s most certainly a classic.

Taste Simple, citrusy and a little touch of sweetness, the Old Fashioned brings out the flavour of the whisky.

When to drink it Don Draper would argue you can drink it anytime, but this is a perfect post-meal evening drink.

Ingredients Bourbon 4.4 cl Angostura soaked sugar cube Soda Ice cubes Orange zest

How to make it 1. Soak a sugar cube in few dashes of Angostura Bitters and a drop of water. Muddle it in a rocks glass. 2. Add the Bourbon and stir to dissolve the sugar. 3. Drop in some ice cubes and stir to dilute. 4. Finally, twist the orange zest slightly to bring out the flavour and garnish.

Variation You can switch out the bourbon and make a scotch Old Fashioned instead. The final result will depend on the type of whisky you choose, but we like Grant’s scotch for this.

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Rob Roy Origin Named after an operetta based on the life of Scottish folk hero Rob Rob MacGregor, this cocktail has a history dating back to 1894. It was invented at Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan and, as you might expect, is made with scotch whisky.

Taste Sweet, dry, or balanced.

When to drink it Sip your Rob Roy at a fancy evening do and you will look the bees knees.

Ingredients Angostura bitters Grant’s Blended Scotch whisky 6 cl Sweet Vermouth 2.2 cl

How to make it 1. Mix sweet vermouth with your Grant’s Scotch whisky and add a dash or three of Angostura bitters. 2. Add ice and stir to chill and dilute. 3. Finally strain it into a chilled martini glass, without ice, and adorn with a couple of maraschino cherries.

Variation Though traditionally sweet, the Rob Roy can be adapted to suit your taste with “dry” and “perfect” varieties. To do this, simply substitute the sweet vermouth for a dry vermouth, or measure equal parts sweet and dry for a more balanced (or “perfect”) cocktail.

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Whisky Sour Origin Originally drunk by British sailors, the Whiskey Sour has travelled all over the world and been seen in different forms - including Brandy Sours. One of the first mentions of this popular cocktail goes back to 1872, when a Peruvian newspaper article credited the invention of the drink to a sailor named Elliot Staub.

Taste As you might imagine, it’s more citrus than sweet, with zesty lemon and orange highlights.

When to drink it This is a classic cocktail and suitable for any occasion.

Ingredients Bourbon 6 cl 1 pasteurized egg white Fresh lemon juice 3 cl Syrup 1.5 cl Maraschino cherry Orange zest

How to make it 1. Add one pasteurized egg white along with ice to your mixing tin. Shake well and aerate the whites. 2. Next add the fresh lemon juice, syrup and bourbon to the mixing tin. 3. Shake for a good 30 to 40 seconds. 4. Strain the drink over ice cubes in a rocks glass. 5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.

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Whiskey Smash Origin Dating from the 1860’s, the first version of the Whisky Smash was probably invented by a man named Jerry Thomas. A more modern version - and the drink we know and love today - was created by Dale “King of Cocktails” DeGroff in the Rainbow Room, New York.

Taste Minty, citrus, and refreshing; if you like mojitos, you’ll love the Whisky Smash.

When to drink it Kicking back at a beach bar or hanging with friends on a night out, it’s a great drink for any social occasion.

Ingredients Bourbon 6 cl A handful of fresh mint leaves Half a lemon cut into wedges Simple syrup 1 tablespoon Ice

How to make it 1. Muddle the lemons in a mixing glass and add some mint leaves and syrup. 2. Next add the bourbon and ice. 3. Shake it like a polaroid picture. 4. Strain it into the glass to get rid of the lemon pips and mint leaves. 5. Serve with a garnish of mint leaves over crushed ice, in a tumbler. 6. Pop in a straw and enjoy.

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Part 5 The Whisky Insider

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about whisky... and more

Here are the answers to some of your burning questions about whisky, as told by our EBS spirit experts!

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Just ask, we have the answers When was whisky invented? Whisky has been evolving for many hundreds of years, but the first mention of it in any official document was in 1494 when royal records show a Scottish friar was sent malt to make “aqua vitae” (whisky). What’s the oldest distillery in the world? Bushmills is the oldest distillery in the world. It was first opened in Ireland in 1608. Today it produces a range of popular Irish malt whiskeys. How do I become a whisky expert? Every whisky expert starts in a different way, but whisky tours at a distillery are a great place to start. You’ll get first-hand experience of the process and get taken through all the stages of production, from malting and the way through to maturation in barrels. Feeling inspired? Join our action-packed whisky expedition, in partnership with William Grant & Sons, at the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. You’ll learn everything you need to know about whiskymaking and more from real experts. Click here for more information. What is the “Angel’s share”? As whisky matures in the barrel it loses approximately 2% of liquid content per year, due to evaporation. Early distillers noticed this and said this missing portion of the whisky was for the angels. This process of evaporation also limits the amount of time a whisky can be aged for. After a certain period of time there will be none left; the casks will be empty and the angels will be drunk. Angel’s Share is also a fantastic film directed by Ken Loach!

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Does whisky continue to mature in the bottle? No, whisky only matures in the barrel. Once a whisky is bottled, it retains the same characteristics. Why does some scotch whisky taste like the sea? Whisky is a mysterious drink and its flavours are shaped by the environment in which it is made. Some whiskies - especially those from Islay - have distinctively “seaweedy” or “salty” overtones. This is down to the expansion of the whisky barrels in summer and their contraction in winter. The air sucked in and blown out during maturation has a big effect on the final product. The salty sea air of Islay leaves a strong impression on the spirit. Should I drink whisky with or without ice? Purists would say that ice over dilutes the whisky and numbs your taste buds to the more subtle flavour notes of the whisky. But it’s up to you! If you like whisky on the rocks, order it. It’s a personal choice and you should absolutely enjoy your drink the way you want it. Should I drink my whisky with water? Whisky has a lot of alcohol. By diluting it slightly, with still water, you reduce the ABV percentage and open up the flavours. Most experts recommend adding a few drops of water, so you can fully appreciate its character. What is the difference between whisky and bourbon? Bourbon is an American whiskey primarily made with fermented corn (maize). It therefore tends to have a slightly sweeter taste. Whisky (or whiskey), on the other hand, is mostly made from malted barley. Its characteristics will depend on whether you are drinking a single malt or a blended variety. Which is the best temperature to taste whisky? On cold and blustery day, by a roaring log fire. But seriously, it is best at room temperature.

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Can I make whisky at home? No - we don’t recommend it. Not only is it illegal in most countries, without specialist equipment, you also won’t be sure of how strong your whisky is, or whether it is safe to drink. Why is whisky brown? Whisky is brown, dark gold, amber, reddy and all shades in between. It gets its colour from the charred oak barrels. Before it goes into the barrels, like most other spirits, whisky is clear. Which kind of food pairs best with whisky? Haggis! No, not really. People don’t tend to drink whisky with meals, but it does go well with savoury snacks like peanuts, pistachios and crisps. Do different whiskys have a large range of alcohol %? Just like wine and other spirits, a whisky’s ABV (alcohol by volume) can vary. Nonetheless, for a scotch whisky to be legal, it must have a minimum ABV of 40%. What’s the strangest whisky story? We think that the “old Canadian toe” tale is by far the strangest whisky story. In 1973, a Canadian police captain called Dick Stevenson discovered the preserved big toe of a local miner called Louie Liken, while cleaning out a cabin. Blackened and gelatinous, Liken’s toe had been amputated way back in the 1920s. Nevertheless, the Captain (perhaps on seeing the toe floating in alcohol) thought it would be a good addition to a local whisky bar called the Sourdough Saloon. Supposedly with little else to do in town, the locals challenged each other to down their whiskys, with old Liken’s toe floating in the bottom. Since then, despite the fact that the toe has been swallowed, stolen and replaced many times, the Sourtoe club has been going strong. Today, those who are able to drink the whisky and touch the toe to their lips, win a certificate to show their achievement.

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After reading our fully intensive guide, we hope that your love and understanding of whisky have significantly developed, leaving you feeling satisfied or eager to learn more. If you would like to learn more, European Bartender School have teamed up with William Grant & Sons to allow exclusive access to the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland. If you thought this guide was extensive, this is nothing compared to the knowledge of the craftsman on-site at the distillery. You will get to see how barrels are made, how they store and age them. You’ll even get to go into the Highlands and see where they source there raw materials, giving you the complete 360 process of distillation. Treat yourself or a loved one and get 5 nights to stay on-site at the Glenfiddich accomodation. It truly is an experience you will never forget! Book online today to secure your place, but be quick because places are limited!

Book now

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Profile for European Bartender School

The Whiskey Guide | The European Bartender School  

Everything you need or want to know about whisky, from grain to glass, how to taste, how to make popular whisky cocktails, your questions an...

The Whiskey Guide | The European Bartender School  

Everything you need or want to know about whisky, from grain to glass, how to taste, how to make popular whisky cocktails, your questions an...

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