Patricia Noonan on some of her favourite late January drinks…

In January, many Scotch drinkers celebrate Robbie Burn’s Day. It’s all about the famed poet, the haggis and whisky of course! And where would Scotch be if it hadn’t been for the blending process? It’s wonderful to experience the diversity of the Scottish regions through a tasting glass, but when there’s a Burn’s Day party going on, then blended scotch whisky is a party in a glass. It gives you all the regions with highlights of a many distinct single malts, married up with grain whisky from the Lowlands. And the master blender maintains the profile of the blend year in and out, so the consumer always knows what to expect.  Many single malts are used to make up a brands flavor profile.

Thinking about the classic regions, Speyside, the Highlands, Islay and the Lowlands, is a lesson in taste. What each delivers is different, and the many distilleries provide something unique.

Lowlands – soft, smooth, almost always triple distilled

The Highlands – shows more peat

Speyside – malts are sweet, honeyed and often delicate

Islay – rich, full-bodied, peaty and sea salt aromas

Typically, blends are used in cocktails but more exploration with single malt mixology means more ways to experience that wonderful malt diversity, should 

The following cocktails are courtesy of Corby

The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve is a wonderfully easy-going whisky. The chamomile brings a gently floral aroma, balanced with the refreshing zip of lemon and the spritz of soda. The perfect way to unwind…

Small Voice of Calm

50ml The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
25ml chamomile syrup*
10 ml lemon juice
100 ml soda water

Pour the whisky, lemon juice and syrup into a cocktail shaker and lightly shake to mix the ingredients. Strain over cubed ice in a short glass and top up with chilled soda water. Garnish with chamomile flowers or a wedge of lemon.

*Chamomile Tea Syrup
Take 10g of dried chamomile flowers and infuse for 5 minutes in 300ml of boiling water. Strain and remove the flowers and mix the tisane with 300g of  sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. 

The story of the original whisky coffee has many beginnings, with the most common recipes featuring Irish whiskey. The Glenlivet 12 Year Old has both the character to stand up to coffee and the approachability to work with a combination of softer, sweet and creamy flavours. This recipe uses dark chocolate and hot pepper to integrate with the whisky and hot coffee, topped off with a finish of cold unsweetened cream.

Speyside Spiced Coffee

40ml The Glenlivet 12 year old
15ml liquid chocolate
10ml simple syrup
75 ml Americano coffee/ strong filter coffee
1 small pinch cayenne pepper
40 ml lightly whipped double cream

Warm a small wine or snifter glass with boiling water. Pour out the hot water. Mix the chocolate, whisky, coffee, syrup and cayenne pepper together in a heated glass. Gently pour the cream over the back of a spoon to create a creamy layer. Garnish with chocolate shavings, adding another small pinch of cayenne pepper.

Enjoying scotch any time of year is easy with a cocktail like this one, courtesy of Diageo Bar Academy.

Scotch & Lemonade

50 ml Johnny Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky
175 ml Lemonade
1 wedge of lemon

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour the Johnny Walker Red Label and the lemonade over the ice and garnish with lemon wedge. My personal change on this recipe is to add a spritz of club soda in a taller glass, if you are in the mood for bubbles.

One of my favourite ways to tweak a glass of prosecco is a splash of scotch. It can work surprisingly well if it’s a blend. The Johnny Walker 18 Year Old is just the ticket, with notes of citrus and almonds and vanilla from the maturation. Simply fill a  flute glass with your favourite prosecco and add a splash or two of scotch.