DAVID WOLOWIDNYK A Certified Specialist of Spirits and a founder of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association, David is accredited nationally and globally, holding titles such as “World’s Most Imaginative Bartender” (Bombay Sapphire), “Canada’s Best Mixologist” (Grey Goose) and “Bartender of the Year” (Vancouver Magazine). David is an influential veteran in Canada’s cocktail culture.
There’s a never-ending journey exploring dark spirits, so mix up a cocktail or sip them on their own to open a world of flavour.
A s temperatures drop in fall and winter, the popularity of dark spirits increases. They tend to evoke a feeling of warmth and comfort, similar to the foods we eat at this time of year. There is great diversity among dark spirits, covering many shades and intensities of colour and even more differing flavours through the categories of whisky, brandy, rum and agave spirits. So, how are dark spirits made and why do they share some common flavour profiles regardless of the ingredients used to make them? All spirits are clear and colourless when they are first made and may be introduced to colour and flavour through the post-distillation process. Prior to distillation, there is also an opportunity to introduce flavours such as the smoky character of peat, the ingredients used and distillation
evolve over time. Much like people, age and maturity are two different things. Age refers to the amount of time that a spirit spends in the barrel, and maturity refers to when the spirit is finished aging and has reached the peak of its intended development. Depending on the spirit, a producer will make barrel decisions required by category or regional rules, or simply to achieve a desired style of spirit. The specific chemistry involved in the maturation of spirits is quite complicated and involves six processes, which we will look at in detail: extraction, evaporation, oxidation, concentration, filtration and colouration. Further influence will depend on if the barrel is
brand new, previously used for other spirits, toasted with a flame or heavily charred. Sometimes a producer will choose to increase the complexity of a spirit by transferring that spirit between multiple barrels, each of which will impart different characteristics. Take, for example, the Bear Face Triple Oak Canadian Whisky featured in the Honey Bear cocktail on page 29. This whisky starts out in used American oak, ex-bourbon casks adding
SMOKED APPLE RICKEY 1½ oz (45 ml) The Famous Grouse Smoky Black Blended Scotch Whisky ¾ oz (22 ml) Apple Cinnamon Cordial * ½ oz (15 ml) lemon juice 3 oz (90 ml) sparkling apple juice oatmeal cookie, for garnish (optional) In a mixing glass with cubed ice, add peated whisky, apple cordial and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Strain into a chilled Collins glass, add sparkling apple juice then fill glass with cubed ice. Garnish with an oatmeal cookie, if desired. *To make Apple Cinnamon Cordial, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 cups (500 ml) unsweetened apple juice with 2 cinnamon sticks broken into a few pieces. Reduce apple juice by half to yield 1 cup (250 ml), about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove larger pieces of cinnamon and strain through a coffee filter to remove all particulates. Rinse saucepan and combine apple-cinnamon mixture with 1 cup (250 ml) sugar. Simmer to dissolve. Store refrigerated, up to 1 month. Makes 1¼ cups (310 ml).
techniques. Moist, malted barley is exposed to peat smoke before
THE FAMOUS GROUSE SMOKY BLACK BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY United Kingdom $30.99 752006 Expertly blended from the houses of The Macallan and Highland Park with a generous addition of rare peated malt, this smooth, aromatic whisky delivers dried fruit and rounded barley right to the finish.
fermentation and that flavour profile will remain with the spirit throughout distillation and post-maturation. The smoky character can be a wonderful contrast or complement to a cocktail. Experience it firsthand with the Smoked Apple Rickey cocktail featured here. Oak barrels are responsible for a lot of the colour that is seen in dark spirits and will also introduce distinctive flavour profiles. Spirits can be aged in oak for anywhere from several months to several decades allowing the spirit to
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