World Whisky Day: Understanding the difference between a single malt whisky and a blended scotch

Also indulge in a whisky based cocktail and ice-cream

Afzal KabaUpdated: Sunday, May 29, 2022, 07:37 PM IST
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Has it ever been difficult for you to choose the right whisky among the countless varieties available in the market? If yes, then let me help you decode the types of whiskies. 

The flavor of whisky depends on many different attributes where the weather plays an important role. Whisky comes from diverse regions with each having a specific temperature. Region plays the role in how fast or slow a whisky is maturing till the right flavor has been achieved. The colder the climate, slower the maturation and warmer the climate faster the maturation. That means faster or slower whisky being aged will achieve flavors however, if the climate is warmer, there will be more evaporation of whisky from the cask (Fun fact: regions where whisky is being matured, whisky is in the air). Maturation also depends on which cask is being used, as it provides 30-70% of flavors.

Type of cask can be new, refilled, old. And if refilled then what was previously aged in it- was it whisky or wine because that will have a major influence on the final flavors. Let us have a look at the varied whiskies available in the world.

Most popular in the world is the Scotch whisky. The primary varieties of Scotch whisky are:

Single Malt

A single malt whisky is made from malted barley in a single distillery, usually using copper stills. Regions in Scotland making single malts are:

Highland: Dry fruits, spicy notes, smoky, peaty

Islands (A sub-section of the Highland region): Peaty, smoky, fruitcake, heather

Speyside: Fruity, rich textured and floral

Lowland: Lighter with sweet and floral notes

Campbeltown: Sweet, smoky

Single Grain

A single grain whisky is made in a single distillery using a mix of grains including barley in a continuous still and has a subtle flavor. It is called single grain as it is made in single distillery. This is rarely available in the market but used as a part of a blend by whisky blenders.

Blended Malt

A blended malt scotch whisky is a skillful mix of two or more single malt whiskies, made from malted barley and distilled in different distilleries.

Blended Scotch

This is the most popular in the world. It is a blend of more than two malt and grain whisky to create a uniquely flavored whisky.

Whisky from the other lands

Irish Whisky: Considerably popular these days, this has a different method than the neighboring Scotch. The main difference between the two is the distillation technique. The Scotch is distilled twice, and the Irish is distilled thrice.

Bourbon: Bourbon’s 51% mash (mix of grains) is corn. Aged for minimum of 2 years and the second mandatory factor is new oak casks. Only then does a whisky qualify to be called bourbon.

Japanese Whisky: Uses same technique as scotch in making whisky, they tend to be fruity as they do not have a malty cereal flavor that are common in scotch whisky.

Canadian Whisky: Inclusion of rye in the mash is typically Canadian. However, they have a decent amount of corn to add the smooth finish.

How to drink

It is primarily your choice how you choose to drink. However, If you want to understand the flavors of the whisky it’s best to smell aromas first and drink it with equal amount of water (1:1 whisky and water)

The most popular trend of drinking whisky around the world is to drink it in highball. Whisky served in a tall glass over ice and soda. One can also make a flavoured highball by adding 20-30ml of flavoured cordial to enhance the flavours of whisky.

(Afzal Kaba is the Brand Ambassador, Diageo India)

Recipes

Black and Orange

Recipe: Take a highball glass and add ice cubes. Pour 60 ml whisky and top it with 180 ml ginger ale. Stir gently. Garnish with a spray of orange oils from the peel of orange and leave the peel on top of the drink.

Black Cumin seed Old Fashioned

Take a glass and pour 60 ml whisky. Add 15 ml black cumin and honey syrup*, ice cubes and stir. Spray oils from orange peel. Garnish with the peel on top of the drink.

Note: For black cumin and honey syrup, boil 600 ml water and add 100 grams of black cumin seeds. Let water get flavours and then mix 500 ml cumin water to 500 ml honey. Mix and rest till it reaches room temperature.

(Recipe courtesy: Afzal Kaba, Brand Ambassador, Diageo India)

Cocktail: Jamming

Pic courtesy courtesy Kishore Thapar

Ingredients:

100 ml Whisky

2-3 Fresh apricots

3 Fresh Peach

100 grams granulated sugar

200 grams honey

100 ml Rice wine vinegar

4 Fresh peach slice

2 Fresh Rosemary sprig

Method: Add two-three fresh apricots in 100 ml of whisky in a decanter and clean wrap. Keep it in a bowl filled with hot water (helps the fruit to release its colour and flavour faster; you can also keep it over-night). Make peach compote by adding fresh peaches, sugar and honey. Remove the peach pits and chop the flesh into chunks. No need to peel. Add the peaches to a pot, along with honey, lemon juice and water. Boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for seven minutes or until the peaches begin to collapse.

Make rice wine shrub, by adding rice wine vinegar in a sauce pan, and equal parts of water and honey to it. Simmer it at slow heat for 10 mins and reduce the mixture, store the mix for cocktails later.

Add all the ingredients in a shaker: 60 ml infused whisky, two spoons of peach compote, and 15 ml of rice wine shrub. Hard shake for 45 seconds and fine strain in a cocktail coupe on an ice ball.

Garnish with fresh peach slices and a rosemary sprig at the side. With a blow torch, burn the sides of the rosemary sprig for more smokey flavour.

(Recipe courtesy Kishore Thapar, Director, Barsolutions LLP Mumbai)

Boozy Whisky and Brownie Ice Cream

Pic courtesy Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji

Ingredients:

½ cup Whisky of your choice

2 cups full-cream milk

1 cup Sugar

¼ tsp Kosher salt

12 Egg yolks

2 cups Heavy whipping Cream

1¼ cup Brownie Chunks, chilled

75 gm Bitter Chocolate chips

1 cup Cocoa Powder

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method: In a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan, warm the milk, heavy cream and cocoa together. It should be hot but not boiling. Remove from the flame. Add chocolate chips and stir till they melt. Whisk egg yolks, salt and sugar with a stand mixer, until well-combined. Place the milk mixture on simmer. Pour the egg mixture to the milk, stir continuously until it coats the back of your wooden spoon. Add the whisky and vanilla extract, mix and set aside. Strain and cool the custard completely over ice bath.

In a glass bowl add the brownie chunks and the custard. Stir well and place it in the freezer, cling wrapped, overnight. Next day churn it. Place in a loaf pan, cling wrap. Freeze it for another five to six hours. Scoop and serve chilled as and when desired.

(Recipe by Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji, Culinary Expert and Chef Consultant)

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