Here’s some whisky-related cocktail fun to compliment the heatwave gracing much of Europe this week. Notes today come from the Campbeltown Malts Festival of 2019 and Glengyle’s well thought out & executed Kilkerran Cocktail Masterclass – an unexpected surprise.
The online info read: ‘We have teamed up with an experienced mixologist [Chris] to showcase the alternative way to enjoy Kilkerran. During the tasting, you will enjoy Kilkerran cocktails as a member of our Sales Team [Cameron McGeachy] guides you through each of the whiskies used‘.
It’s not easy preparing and serving cocktails for 40-50 people in real-time whilst presenting, but both Chris and Cameron pulled it off with aplomb.
We start with a Kilkerran 12yo Highball
Consisting of 50ml whisky, 5ml of sugar syrup, fresh lime, fresh ginger, and ice, topped with [Fever Tree] ginger ale and an extra squeeze of fresh lime as it settles.
- C: Very refreshing. For my taste, I’d add even more lime. I love the double ginger aspect. The peat smoke doesn’t come through too strongly which is just fine.
Kilkerran 8yo Negroni
Second up is a negroni using whisky rather than gin using even parts [50ml] of whisky, Campari and [Antica Formula] sweet vermouth. Add a squeeze of lit [with a lighter] orange peel, the peel left in and ice added. Stirred not shaken makes the cocktail cold without diluting it.
- C: This one simply gets better and better as the sweetness comes through and I acclimatise to Campari’s bitterness. For me the orange element here is key. The sweet vermouth allows a sweet caramel-like edge to balance out that bitterness.
Kilkerran Raspberry Loch
Focusing on whisky and fresh fruit, the title is an ode to the Campbeltown Loch song:
Ingredients: 50ml whisky [I don’t recall which Kilkerran they used here], 10ml sugar syrup, [Chambord] raspberry liqueur, raspberry purée, and fresh lemon. Add ice and top up with soda.
- C: I’m struggling with the confectionary-style raspberry flavour in this example, but wonder what a fresh raspberry daiquiri made with whisky rather than rum would taste like?
Lastly: Kilkerran’s ‘House Cocktail’, bottled as a takeaway
Ingredients: 50ml Kilkerran [12yo], 20ml Scottish honey, 10ml fresh lemon juice, 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Our instructions were to top with soda at home. “Don’t shake it” says Chris, once you’ve added the soda that is.
After nearly two years sitting in my fridge [that’s how long it took for me to buy in soda], it’s time I activated this wee cocktail. Could it have gone off? I guess the fresh lemon juice is the most susceptible element, followed by the whisky. Dearie me! Let’s see.
- N: Honey sits on top, the [herbal- Angostura] bitter smoked barley juice lies underneath. The lemon juice [like orris in gin] appears to act as the binder and the crucial balancer to this recipe, much like a lime’s function in a daquiri.
- T: Pretty much tastes how it smells. Think I’ll add a squeeze of fresh lemon though, as it feels like the original ingredient rather collapsed over those two years. That’s the ticket, a fresh squeeze of lemon giving the cocktail a well-needed boost. Now we’ve more than the sum of its parts. Smoke and bitters attempt to overwhelm the honey but the appropriate 20ml dose remains firm. Carries on through with plenty of malty honeyed sweetness. Kilkerran’s deep peatiness is full-on though, dominating slightly.
- F: Sugar-sweet – from the honey and the malt – make for a smoky soft toffee effect.
- C: Possibly divisive with the use of peated/smoky whisky, but I’d be up for trying a fresh version any time.
Now fully refreshed after those cocktails, I tag on to the back of a Glengyle distillery tour before a scheduled Kilkerran Warehouse tasting HERE