We have wanted to work with Black Rock cocktail bar pretty much since they first launched. An amazing venue, with a stunning centrepiece oak table that doubles as a maturation vessel for their blends and liqueurs, set up by a talented team of cocktail wizards.
That and their focus being Scotch Whisky, and the fact that they are big fans of Raasay While Wait, made them a perfect partner to develop some interesting drinks and host a cracking event, so when the opportunity came up, we jumped at it.
Of all the aged spirits, Scotch Whisky has one of the broadest flavour spectrums.
There are currently 110 distilleries in Scotland producing a huge breadth of flavour choices, and it is great to see bars showing such a big list, and embracing Scotch Cocktails.
For the night, our plan was to talk about our distillery project, how we created Raasay While We Wait, and show the whiskies’ versatility with a few different serves.
We started the evening with a dram of Raasay While We Wait, and a hoppy pale ale. A ‘half n hauf’, as the old boys in many a Scottish local drinks spot would call it, or a boilermaker if you are from the US. Not only did this give our guests a chance to try the whisky neat, it also gave them a nice cool beer to welcome the end of a day’s work – the combination worked nicely. Sipping the whisky first left a lingering finish of peat and red wine tannins, mixing well with the hoppiness of the sip of beer which followed.
The Black Rock Serves
Alongside the half n hauf, the Black Rock team served some peated bread that they had made using peated grist we sourced from Baird’s maltings in Inverness, where we’ll be sourcing our barley for the Isle of Raasay distillery.
The butter was infused with Raasay While We Wait, creating probably some of the best bread and butter you will ever taste – worthy of High-End London delis. The smoke gave the bread barrels of extra flavour.
Now that our guests had had a beer and a bite, we moved onto the first cocktail; a smoky Rob Roy made using Raasay While We Wait, Cocchi Vermouth, a Black Rock-made red wine vinegar and garnished with cherries infused with their table-aged cherry liqueur. This cocktail was the perfect partnership between our carefully crafted whisky and their creative flair. The smokiness and red wine notes made this a powerful Rob Roy with lots of complex note.
Whisky & Water
Our third serve was where Black Rock really showed off their magic. A whisky and water. Simple right? Well, yes and no. In the future we hope to produce batches of Isle of Raasay single malt using local peat from the Island (logistics to be determined) and as we had some generously cut by our Architect Olli, we thought it would be a great experiment to cut peat in one of the Black Rock drinks of the night.
The Black Rock folks used the Raasay peat to peat-smoke some water, infused with black pepper, and finally carbonated the whisky, served it over ice. A twist on a long serve popular in Japan (Mizuwari). This serve split the room, with the black pepper, smoke and savoury notes appealing to some, but not to others. We thought it was brilliant.
A big thanks to the team at Black Rock for all their hard and creative work developing these drinks with us, and for hosting us for a spectacular, whisky-filled evening.
You can try the Rob Roy for yourself by special request at Black Rock Bar.