We recently attended the brilliant drinks festival Imbibe at the London Olympia. It was a chance to try lots of fantastic spirits, meet some talented drinks professionals and go to a few masterclasses. We particularly enjoyed the “Around the World in 6 Highballs” masterclass, which was presented by the fine folks behind The Black Rock Bar and Fluid Movements Consultancy. Black Rock Bar is one of the most innovative new bars in London, with its most striking feature being the huge oak tree table running through the middle of it, which has whisky and cocktails maturing within it, and taps to pour this maturing liquid into your glass. Quite a remarkable and uncommon way of showing customers the wonders of ageing alcohol in oak.
In this masterclass, they chose 6 whiskies from around the world to make long drinks with. These drinks would accentuate certain aspects of the whiskies character. As these were being poured, the guys talked us through the thought process behind each creation, and a few key facts about the whiskies they had used. They were keen to point out that while they knew quite a bit about whisky, their expertise lay in flavour. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
Lagavulin Highball: Lagavulin infused with seaweed and heather honey. This was a big one to begin with. So many briny, seafood, seaweed, smoke and beach notes. Not for the fainthearted, as the flavours were huge. It really enhanced the seaside feel that the peat in Lagavulin brings.
Woodford Reserve Highball: The plan behind this one was to create a big American diner style highball. A double shot of whisky, orange sugar syrup and milk. Served with some popcorn chicken. This highball eased the shock of the first highball.
Nikka Highball: Nikka Japanese whisky, mixed with sauvignon blanc which was infused with apricot. This was probably our favourite. The fruity/floral notes of the whisky mixed well with the apricot and grapefruit notes of the wine.
A brilliant tasting that worked well with the chosen theme, and certainly provided lots of inspiration. We will be releasing our own cocktail recipes soon, so you can make great Borders & Raasay While We Wait cocktails at home.