The drab, grey skies have been sending forth a constant dreary drizzle all day. Gusts of cold, blustery wind shake the curtains as a rumble of thunder rings out. A dismal gloom, punctuated by a steady pitter-patter on the windowpane, descends on your otherwise cheery living room.
On days like these, all you really want is to curl up under a duvet with a novel and a glass of fine whiskey for warmth. What better way to revive your spirits when it’s pouring outside, than with a dram of smoky, peaty scotch? Pair with a slice of richly spiced tea-cake, and you’ve got a combination even gods would envy.
A robust scotch that can stand up to the pervading scent of wet earth, such as the Macallan 12-year-old Sherry Oak, holds several delightful possibilities. This full-bodied whiskey is reminiscent of Christmas pudding—fraught with elements of marmalade, golden raisins and candied peel.
A homemade fruit cake, such as the Dundee cake—a traditional Scottish recipe—makes for a divine pairing with the Macallan. Big, firm notes of sherry and oak in the scotch complement this sweet, zesty cake which is baked with currants, sultanas and almonds. These ingredients, in turn, serve to bring out the undertones of nutmeg and spice present in the Macallan.
Alternatively, a rich ginger cake makes for an equally worthy accompaniment to the Macallan. The Macallan’s crisp notes of sweet oak balance the piquant, buttery ginger without detracting from it. The mélange of spicy ginger and honeyed sherry oak is pure manna, especially during inclement weather.
If you’re in the mood to truly indulge, a decadent slice of warm chocolate cake is bound to fulfill your cravings. It is hard to go wrong when pairing whiskey with chocolate. The richness of dark cocoa and the earthy smokiness of peat come together in heady, almost sinful harmony. Serve with vanilla custard for an added depth in flavor. How about serving some Ardbeg? The vanilla in the cake brings forth the latent aroma of nutmeg in the scotch.
The rains never need be a dampener again.
As the weather warms up, it is tempting to take cooking and dining outdoors.
Country ham and bourbon make a great pairing for several reasons. Certain commonalities render them extremely compatible on the palate, such as its smokiness. Bourbon attains a smokiness from its barrel’s char layer, while ham derives it from its own ageing process.
Typically, a whisky connoisseur is a man of habits. He sits with a glass of Jim Bean after a heartwarming dinner, sharing a weekend round with equally discerning peers – or relishing a solitary moment with his single-malt and bedroom slippers.
Fortunately, Eastern customs are turning this picture upside down.