Today is the very first World Whisky Day, a celebration created, not by a card company in order to sell Whisky Day greetings cards, but by a Scot, Blair Bowman, to enable people to become more interested in Whisky.
In honour of this celebration, I thought I'd write about a whisky cocktail. Many cocktail aficionados are keen on a Manhattan; in fact, only yesterday I spoke to a lady who said that, until she masters the Manhattan, she won't move on to another mixed drink—dedication indeed. There is a version of this cocktail that uses Scotch instead of American Whiskey, The Rob Roy. I have not really been a fan of this drink, but in the spirit of innovation and open-mindedness I thought I'd give it another go.
The Rob Roy dates from around 1894 and was apparently invented by a bartender at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. Originally it used Dewar whisky, but we're going to try something a bit different. First, I needed to decide which whisky to use. I eventually chose Black Rory, which is a blend Scotch made for the Northumberland company, Spirit of the Coquet, who are also behind a gin that is aged for 10 years. Black Rory himself was a daring smuggler and illicit distiller in the Coquet Valley in Northumberland. All sounds rather swashbuckling!
Then for the vermouth. Red vermouth the order of the day and there are a lot of great varities out there, but I decided to go for a good standard in Martini Rosso, which came out well in our Red Vermouth Tasting last year.
Black Rory's Red Raul (RedRoy)
25ml Black Rory
25ml Martini Rosso
Dash of Spanish Bitters
STIR with ice and strain.
This was very smooth on the tongue. After a couple of seconds, a burst of sensations dominated by the bitters transformed this into a cocktail full of remarkably animated flavours, a whole array of elements: lots of herbal notes, including something much like basil; savoury notes, like red chilli; and hints of sweet spice, like paprika.
Black Rory Whisky is available form the Coquet Website at £35 for 70cl
Martini Rosso is available all over the place a litre typically costing around £11.
Dr Adam Elmegirab Spanish Bitters are available from the Whisky Exchange for around £10 a bottle.
Thanks to Adam, Billy and Sara for the help with this article.