Whisk(e)y…With an ‘E’

Hi, Friends,

I’m giddy you stopped by!  I hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend.

As promised a couple of weeks ago, I have a special guest blogger here today.  Technically this was supposed to happen last weekend, but unfortunately, my guest was in a car accident that totaled his beautiful convertible. Ugh!  No worries, though, because aside from a few cuts and a little soreness, he’s feeling A-OK.  And that’s a very good thing because I happen to be in love with this guy!

Readers, today I’m turning things over to my sweet husband, Mr. C, who is going to share with you a little bit about the whisk(e)y education we received on our recent anniversary getaway.  Enjoy.

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Recipe: Whisky Balls

Hi, Friends!  Welcome back.

Last week I mentioned to you that I had a guest blogger lined up for this week, but due to unforeseen circumstances (tell you about it later), I had to mix things up a bit.  So…we are going to cook today instead!

If you stopped by last week, then you know that Mr. C and I recently took a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to celebrate our anniversary.  During our visit, we toured three different bourbon distilleries (Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve).  Each of the tours concluded with a tasting and we were offered a bourbon ball made with whiskey from that particular distillery.  All were delicious but Mr. C and I both agreed that the bourbon balls at Buffalo Trace were AH-MAZING.  I did a little poking around on the internet when we got back and found a recipe that is supposed to be very similar to the candies invented in 1938 by Ruth Booe, the founder of Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory in Frankfort, KY.  This is the candy company that today makes the bourbon balls for purchase at Buffalo Trace.  Perfect!

Because I write a blog about Scotland and not about Kentucky, I decided to give these a try using Scotch rather than bourbon (whisky with a “y” as opposed to whiskey with an “ey”).  Mr. C suggested that I use BenRiach 10 year old (a Speyside Scotch) which I discovered was an excellent choice given that it is aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, lending it the perfect sweet flavor.

Who’s ready to cook?  Let’s give it a go!

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Whisky Meets Tequila

Hey all!

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.  At present, I am sitting here in my den, windows open, sipping a wee dram, and enjoying the sound of a quiet, steady rain.  Bliss.

So this morning while Mr. C was at the liquor store buying tequila to make margaritas, he stumbled upon a newly stocked item – Don Julio Tequila-Reposado, Double Cask.

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Did you catch what the box says?  “Finished in casks used in the making of Buchanan’s blended Scotch whisky”.  Holy cow!  What’s that you ask?  Why yes, of course he bought a bottle, silly!

If any of you are familiar with the Don Julio brand, you know that their tequilas are top shelf. Definitely not the stuff of college drinking games.  No.  Don Julio tequilas are like a fine wine or a premium Scotch.  They are meant for sipping (emphasis on sipping-for the love of Pete, please don’t shoot it), savoring, and appreciating all of their fine qualities.  In fact, Don Julio tequilas are so exceptional that they are best enjoyed neat.  No mixer required.

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“Why, Here Comes My Hot Toddy”…(Recipe)

[Fred:] Here she comes, down the street

[Bing:] My, oh my, ain’t she sweet?

[Fred:] Why, here comes my hot toddy

[Bing:] Over my dead body

[Bing:] I’ll capture her heart singing

[Fred:] Just wait until she get a load of my dancing

When I hear the words hot toddy I am always reminded of these lines from the song “I’ll Capture Your Heart”, sung by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in the 1942 classic movie “Holiday Inn” (and consequently, I can’t get the tune out of my head).  In the movie, Bing’s character Jim and Fred’s character Ted are both in love with Lila.  In the song, Jim sings of his plans to win Lila over with his singing and Ted is confident that his dancing will win her heart.  As the movie unfolds, Lila ends up declaring her love for Ted and a broken-hearted Jim leaves town.  Jim soon meets Linda, however, after he books her to perform at his holidays-only live entertainment venue at the inn.  They fall in love and, of course, a newly dumped Ted shows up and also sets his sights on the lovely Linda.  It’s a funny, sweet film, one that I enjoy watching year after year.  I adore those old musicals, don’t you?

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Several days ago I came across a recipe in Scotsman Food & Drink for a Scottish hot toddy.  It is one version of this widely varied drink.  There is no standard recipe, but it is consistently made with some type of liquor (generally Scotch or bourbon), a sweetener (such as sugar or honey), a warm base (like water, tea, or apple cider), and lemon.

Since we’re having our first snow of the season today, it seems like the perfect time to give this festive, Scottish version a try.

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A Brief History of Whisky

The word ‘whisky’ is derived from the Gaelic term “uisge beatha” (“oosh-keh beh-ha), meaning “water of life”.

The Scottish Gaels called it “uisge beatha”.  In Latin, the phrase is “aqua vitae”.  Both translate to “water of life”.  What is this “water of life” to which they refer?  It’s whisky, my friends.

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Whisky’s beginning is not 100% definitive, but in my research I found there to be a pretty solid consensus as to how historians believe this rich and complex liquid came to be. (Do keep in mind, though, that there exists slightly differing opinions on the matter.  We are, after all, talking a very very very long time ago!)

The national drink of the Scots, whisky most likely originated over 1,000 years ago after traveling monks crossed into both Scotland and Ireland from mainland Europe, bringing their knowledge of distillation with them.  Whisky’s story begins long before that, however, a long way from Scotland in the world of the Mesopotamian ancients.

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