Fall for Scotch whisky in Edinburgh this Whisky Month
20 May 2016
- food and drink
We’re in the midst of Whisky Month and people across Edinburgh, Scotland – and the world – are rejoicing in a celebration of the ‘water of life.’ As if any further excuse to raise a dram was necessary, there’s also World Whisky Day on the 21st of this month. Arriving as it does before the summer festivals; it’s the perfect time for whisky novices to jump headfirst into Edinburgh’s whisky culture.
Edinburgh is full of places to enjoy a dram or two and experience the history of Scotland’s national drink. Julie Trevisan Hunter of The Scotch Whisky Experience has five excellent suggestions for getting into the ‘spirit’ and joining the ranks of the #WhiskyConverts.
Find the region or style that’s right for you
Even though Edinburgh does not have any distilleries in the city centre, it is still a great place to explore whisky in the many surrounding bars and restaurants. There are hundreds of different Scotch Whiskies, distilled in the five whisky-making regions across Scotland, meaning there’s something out there for everyone. For example, there’s a big difference between a light and citrusy Lowland whisky and a peaty one from Islay, so try one from each region until you start to recognise the characteristics that you enjoy. Ask one of the experts in an Edinburgh whisky bar to find you the perfect dram for you.
Choose the perfect setting
Whisky can be enjoyed anywhere and Edinburgh is home to some amazing places to enjoy a dram. Since environment has been proven to influence taste, take advantage of the city’s great outdoors and stunning vistas, traditional fireside settings (or outdoor seating weather permitting!) in pubs, contemporary bars, or simply enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. As part of the Scotch Whisky Experience tours, visitors taste what is often their first dram amid the amber glow of their fabulous whisky collection. If that doesn’t convince people, what will?
Discover Edinburgh’s whisky history
You enjoy your dram all the more when you appreciate the heritage behind it. The history of whisky isn’t all about the Highlands and Islands - signs of Edinburgh’s whisky heritage are all around our city, and maybe even in places you wouldn’t expect. When passing through Haymarket station, look up and you’ll find what remains of the Caledonian Distillery. Or marvel at the beauty of the Usher Hall, which was donated to our city by the father of whisky blending, Andrew Usher. A more extensive list is featured here.
Try it out with food
Whisky pairs well with a variety of delicious foods and Edinburgh has a wealth of restaurant options offering Scotch whisky recommendations alongside your meal. Try somewhere that really utilises the breadth of Scotland’s larder and see how whisky can complement or even amplify the flavours. You can also discover whisky and food matching at home by stocking up on local delicacies from one of Edinburgh’s weekly markets and artisan producers. Artisan cheese and high-cocoa chocolate are two excellent partners for Scotch whisky, and there’s more information in the YouTube videos here if you’d like to delve deeper!
Don’t be put off if you ‘feel the burn’
So many people give up on the delights of Scotch whisky because they feel the initial impact of the spirit on the nose on the palate and conclude that whisky is not to their taste. They’re missing a whole world of pleasure! Bottled at a far higher alcohol by volume than wine, it’s not surprising that whisky has something of a kick, but the trick is to go back to your dram for repeated ‘nosing’ and to hold the whisky on your palate for a good length of time. Upon subsequent sips, you’ll be acclimatised to the spirit, and a wealth of other aromas and tastes will come to the fore. Adding a little water can also be helpful.
Mix it up a little
Initially somewhat daunted by the complexity of Scotch whisky as a mixer, more and more mixologists are experimenting with Scotland’s national drink, with delicious results! Edinburgh is well-served with amazing cocktail bars, so why not pop into your favourite and request a Scotch whisky cocktail or long drink in honour of Whisky Month? Or if you prefer the DIY approach, try some recipes from The Scotch Whisky Experience’s resident mixologist here>
Be enthused by someone’s passion
The Scotch Whisky Experience theme this month is creating #WhiskyConverts! They are offering their top whisky tour the Morning Masterclass, usually £40, at two for the price of one this month. It’s great to see people taking this opportunity to share their passion for Scotland’s national drink. More information can be found on their website.
However you choose to celebrate Whisky Month and World Whisky Day, enjoy your whisky responsibly and ‘Slàinte mhath’!
Content and imagery courtesy of the Scotch Whisky Experience.