In late November, I rather impulsively pre-ordered a limited batch release of The Sassenach, Sam Heughan’s new premium blended Scotch whisky. (Sam Heughan is the Scottish actor who plays Jamie Fraser on the mega-hit television series “Outlander.”) Reserve Bar was the only place from which to buy it here in the U.S. It’s a darn good thing I snagged it when I did because it is now completely sold out. It took a little over two months to ship and arrive from Scotland, but last week, arrive it did!
Hey, everyone. How are you today? I hope you all are staying well.
What sorts of things have been occupying your days? I have been teaching myself how to bake bread – along with the rest of the world, it seems -ha! I’m getting pretty good at it if I may say so myself!
Today, I’d like to give you a quick peek at Fordyce, Scotland, and the fairy tale castle that graces the center of the village. This utterly charming and (as locals would say) “chocolate box” town is located in Aberdeenshire, in the northeast section of the country, set among scenic rolling hills and only about a mile from the sea.
My mouth got jammed.
Jammed with ginger, that is!
Hello, and Happy New Year to you! I hope this first day of the bright, shiny new calendar year – holy shiitake, a new decade! – finds each of you well (and without too terrible a headache). 🙂
What sorts of celebrations did you engage in last night? Mr. C and I chose to ring in the year quietly at home, just us and our three doggies. Neither of us are big on crowds (though speaking for myself, I might be willing to put that sentiment aside if I ever have the chance to take part in one of the many Hogmanay festivals across Scotland. Stonehaven Fire Festival anyone?) Anyway, just because we stayed in doesn’t mean we didn’t have a great time. Mr. C made delicious Oysters Rockefeller, and we enjoyed a nice bottle of champagne while watching a bit of the Times Square celebration on television. Then we capped it off at midnight with a cwtch (the Welsh word for cuddle) and a whisky toast in our Scottish Cup of Friendship, or Quaich. A “kutch” and a “quake.” What more do you need to usher out the old and herald in the new?
So now that you have not one but two new vocabulary words to begin your year, I thought we would take a look at the latter of the two.
Mr. C and I had some big fun in the kitchen today. We made our first bridies. I must admit, I was a bit intimidated by the endeavor, mainly because I have zero experience in pastry making. I am a capable cook, but Mr. C is the real chef in the family. Thankfully with the efforts of the two of us, they turned out great!
What is a bridie? A bridie (also referred to as a Forfar Bridie because it is said to have originated in Forfar, Angus, Scotland) is a ‘D’ shaped pastry with a savory beef and onion filling. A bridie is similar to an English pasty (short ‘a’); however, it is made sans potatoes and has a lighter, flakier crust.
Bridies were introduced in the 1800s, and there are two stories of how they came to be. One story claims that they were originally made for weddings (the bride’s meal) and that the ‘D’ or horseshoe shape was meant for good luck. Another story says that they were made by a lady named Margaret Bridie, who would sell them at the market in Forfar. Either way, they are delicious!
Whisky. Uisga Beatha. Water of Life.
By law, Scotch (that is, whisky without the ‘e’) must be aged in oak barrels in Scotland for a minimum of three years. Most premium distillers, however, mature their whisky for much longer (8, 10, 12, 15 years, etc.). Many of the casks that are used to age Scotch are imported from America and Europe and have previously held wine, bourbon, port, and sherry. Each barrel lends its own distinctive flavors and color to the finished product. It is a long process, but believe me, for the distillers and those of us who reap the benefits of their labor…
…it is worth waiting for.
Halloween and all of its festivities are nearly upon us, so I thought it would be fun to find a Halloween-themed cocktail made with whisky. Notice, that’s whisky without the ‘e’ (Scotch). Because as much as I adore bourbon, I’m pretty much all about Scotland here!
I discovered this particular cocktail recipe on a site called Gastronom. The web site is hosted by an American couple named Jay and Leah, who love all things cocktails. Some of their recipes are pretty interesting! It’s a great resource if you are looking to try something a bit different. And that’s exactly what today’s recipe is. The “Professor’s Poisoned Apple” calls for Laphroaig, an Islay whisky that is made by drying malted barley over a peat fire, giving it its distinctive smoky taste of the island. The Scotch is combined with Amaretto, cranberry juice, apple cider, and bitters, creating a genuinely unique new flavor that isn’t dominated by any one of its ingredients. It is, for sure, an eclectic blend of tastes, but those tastes go surprisingly well together to create a flavor of fall.
Jay and Leah suggest the optional addition of dry ice as a way to really create a fun, atmospheric experience. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any on quick notice, but it would be neat to try it one day. You can see what it looks like by clicking the embedded link above. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
Whisky meets tequila. Yep, it was another serendipitous find for me and Mr. C. By the way, you can thank him for the silly title. 😉
Thanks to our mutual craving for margaritas one recent Saturday, we accidentally stumbled upon this latest offering from Don Julio while buying our tequila.
A little over a year ago, Don Julio released their first limited edition; a Reposado finished in barrels that had previously held Buchanan’s blended Scotch. I wrote about it here. Well, if I was excited about that one, then this year’s edition has me positively giddy. Why you ask? One word.
So tomorrow happens to be my 2 year blogging anniversary. Hooray me!! To celebrate, I am trying a new Scotch cocktail recipe called a Full Scottish. It seems rather appropriate, actually, given the focus of my blog.
I found this recipe on The Glenlivet’s web site; however, I imagine it would be good with any other Speyside (or perhaps Highland) single malt of your choice. The Glenlivet recommends using their 15-year-old Scotch for this recipe. Mr. C says that’s an awfully good Scotch to use in a cocktail recipe, but I told him we’re going to do it anyway! It’s a sacrifice I must make. 🙂
Full Scottish Recipe
50 ml The Glenlivet 15-year-old
20 ml/4 tsp lemon juice
15 ml/3 tsp white/ruby port ( I used Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Ruby Port)
5 ml/1 tsp simple syrup
15 ml/3 tsp orange marmalade
To make:Read more
Hi, friends. As I begin to write this cake recipe post, I have Eileen Barton’s cute 1950 hit song stuck in my head – “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake.” Go ahead. YouTube it. I dare you. 😀
Today I want to share a recipe for Honey and Whisky Cake. I got the recipe from a little book I purchased a few weeks ago in Scotland. This cake is quick and easy to make and delicious. It’s moist, not overly sweet, and the grated orange rind is a wonderful addition. My new favorite!