LA Times’ Spirits of the Times sponsored a whiskey tasting at Sassafras Saloon on Repeal Day last month. I’ve enjoyed previous tastings in the past such as Artisinal Spirits and a gin tasting. They are $20 and well worth the price of admission for food, unlimited tastings and a bit of education if you want it. On Repeal Day though, the mood was a bit more celebratory and joyous rather than studious.
Over at the Hirsch Whiskey table, Maurice Chevalier for Anchor Distilling was serving up the Le Colonial Punch (Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Whiskey, Oleo-Sacchrum, Pommeau Normandie, Clos Norman Brut Cider, Black Walnut bitters, freshly grated nutmeg).
This was a tasty punch and I appreciated the trouble Maurice went to make the oleo-sacchrum (a classic punch ingredient) and it had a nice fizz between the Pommeau Normandie (a type of eau de vie) and the cider. He also very carefully grated nutmeg on each glass.
As with previous tastings, the crowd crowned their favorite which happened to also be my favorite. Robin Jackson from Oldfield’s Liquor Bar created the Triple Threat punch with Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Scotch, Bonal Gentian Quina, ginger syrup, lemon, champagne, sparkling mineral water and persimmon.
I spent a lot of time over at the Balvenie table as it is one of my favorite Scotches. Brian Summers, Brand Ambassador for Balvenie and bartender at The Parish, was conducting tastings. I asked him to start me out with what he thought I should try first. This tasting, I enjoyed the 12 Year Doublewood and then the Caribbean cask as well. Sharing his table was Monkey Shoulder. Bartender Yuval Soffer from Neat created a hot drink which stood out against the many cold punches this evening. Monkey Shoulder Hot Holiday Punch (Monkey Shoulder Scotch, unfiltered apple juice, Snap, Gran Marnier, Holiday spices, gooseberries, orange zest, lemon zest, gingerbread bitters) was so good, I would have kept getting more but then remembered I had some other tables to check out.
I consider Rebel Yell an inexpensive mixing bourbon to keep on hand since I can find it at my local Trader Joe’s. For this tasting, they brought out their reserve and did a tasting. Their cocktail was a simple Rebel Yell, orange juice and grenadine.
I love Templeton Rye so I was excited they were at the tasting. They were doing a Templeton Milk Punch (Templeton Rye, Vanilla bean, Sarsaparilla root, milk, nutmeg, lemon). This punch was a bit bitter for me (and I like bitter!) but possibly because it was nearing the end of the tasting. Knob Creek actually ran out of their punch so I couldn’t taste it. They even then ran out of bottles so they couldn’t do tastings anymore either.
Over at the Macallan and Highland Park table, I tried the Orcadian Autumn (Highland Park 12 year, apple cider, fresh lime juice, cinnamon syrup). You could also do individual tastings of the various expressions as well.
But probably the best single dram I tasted this night? Johnny Walker Blue. Boom.
Other Spirits of the Times Recaps
© The Minty // LA Cocktails 2013