Last year when I wrote about World Whisky Day, we had recently gone into lockdown and things looked rather uncertain. However, who would have thought a year later we’d still be in partial lockdown. The good news though, is that on Monday restrictions will be eased a lot more, so there is every good reason to celebrate World Whisky Day tomorrow 15th May, in anticipation of being able to hug your loved ones again and actually enjoy a drink in a bar or pub and eat a meal inside a restaurant that you haven’t had to cook yourself or order in.
We have therefore put together a selection of four whiskies from around the world that you can enjoy at home this weekend and celebrate being able to get back to doing some of things we all remember doing before lockdowns began.
J&B Rare Whisky Sour
Our first stop is Scotland, where J&B is today, the world’s sixth bestselling scotch whisky and J&B Rare Whisky is one of Europe’s favourite blends. We therefore thought we would put it at the top of our list as a rather unexpected cocktail ingredient, with its consistent high quality of the blend, light in colour and with a smooth and elegant taste, making it the perfect whisky for cocktails and longer drinks.
J&B Rare Whisky is distilled, blended and bottled in Scotland and made with a blend of 42 malt and grain whiskies. The heart of J&B Rare is formed from the finest Speyside single malts: Knockando, Auchroisk, Strathmill and Glen Spey and is blended to create an approachable, rich and complex flavour. J&B Rare gets its distinctive character from the round, fruity, unique and distinctive taste of the fine malt whiskies that are delicately balanced by carefully chosen grain whiskies.
So, to prepare a delicious J&B Rare Whisky Sour you need to add 35ml J&B Rare, 10ml lemon juice, 10ml sugar syrup and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake all the ingredients and then dry shake it without the ice. Finally fine strain the contents into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with some maraschino cherries for the perfect Whisky Sour.
Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky
English whiskies are growing ever popular and so the second whisky on our list is the award-winning Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, which was first launched back in 2017 and was the first whisky ever to be distilled in the Cotswolds. It is rich, fruity and sippable with notes of honey, Seville orange marmalade and dark red fruits, making it the perfect drink for whisky lovers.
Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Malt Whisky
Next, we head over to India and the Rampur Double Cask Single Malt, which is a hand-crafted single malt whisky matured in hand-selected American Bourbon barrels as well as European Oak Sherry casks that are chosen by Master Distiller Anup Barik.
Distilled in traditional copper pot stills, the malt is matured for two-thirds of its life in the American Bourbon Barrels and a third of its life in European Oak Sherry Casks before being non-chill-filtered and bottled at 45%. Rampur’s unique distilling and the double cask maturation process gives this luxury Single Malt delicate balsamic vanilla notes that come from the American white oak that complement the full-bodied aroma of tropical fruits, smooth malty tones and oaky notes, whilst rich caramel, dried dark fruits and spiced tonality come from the European oak and add to the depth of flavour of this whisky.
Storywood Speyside 14 Añejo Tequila
We finally head to Mexico for a whisky with a difference. Storywood Speyside 14 Añejo Tequila offers an alternative to our first three more traditional whiskies and last year won a Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It is aged for over 14 months in Scottish Speyside whisky casks, giving it notes of toasting oak, roasted nuts and treacle toffee. It can be served neat, on ice or in an Old Fashioned Cocktail. To prepare, add ice to a rocks glass, pour in 50ml of Storywood Tequila Speyside 14 Añejo and garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.
So, whichever whisky you choose to celebrate this year’s World Whisky Day with, let’s raise a glass to life getting back to some sense of normality once again after what has been one hell of a year.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.