On Invitation wine and spirits

Johnnie Walker Double Black at Blue Bar

Tuesday, June 09, 2015Sudhakar

The Johnnie Walker Double Black

It was whiskey time again! I started my love for the whiskey at the tasting at Highland Nectar at ITC Gardenia a few years back where I was introduced to single malts. Later I was further educated on the art of making Bourbons and American Whiskeys by Shatbhi Basu at a talk by her at Vivanta by Taj on MG Road. Here I also learnt the art of blending whiskey and how it is just as good as the single malt.

Bartender and Brand Ambassador Zbigniew Zapert (Zibi)

I was once again invited to Blue Bar at the Taj West End. This particular evening was hosted by Johnnie Walker and the whiskey of the evening was the Double Black. Presenting it in its various avatars was master bartender Zibi! He started the evening with a message that drinking too much alcohol is not only dangerous for ones’ health, but also affects people around them, relationships, logic, fair judgment, etc. According to Zibi a drink can be enjoyed only when you have great company and great food. Bangalore’s Restaurants endorses this.

The evening started with nibbles being passed around. The Double Black is the smokier and more intense version of the Black Label from Johnnie Walker. The smokiness comes from maturing the whiskeys in deep charred oak casks. Zibi aimed to highlight each finish of the whiskey by blending the perfect cocktail to bring out that flavor.

The first flavor he wanted to bring out was that of Raisins and the cocktail to do that was the Double Black Raisin Sour. Besides the standard lemon juice and Egg white, this version also had a bit of crushed grapes and some homemade raisin syrup. This cocktail was paired with a platter of cheese with prunes and pickled shallot garnished with microgreens. The sweetness from the raisins definitely cut through mixing with the smokiness from the whiskey. It had a hint of orange zest to cut through the egg whites.

Double Black Raisin Sour

Cheese Platter

The Double Black also has a palate or Apples, pears, Orange zest, vanilla and spices. The Double Black Oaky Apple brought out these flavors from the spirit. The whiskey was blended with port wine, lemon juice and apple foam. Perfectly paired with cold cuts and figs the cocktail tasted light, fresh and fruity.

Double Black Oaky Apple

Smoked Ham and Fig

The next to follow was the Double Black and Berry. This was a mix of Double Black, Blackberry Syrup, Lime Juice and Ginger Ale with a wedge of Orange. This was my combination went well to bring out the smokiness with a strong hit of ginger. The berries however didn’t stand out as the ginger ale took over most of the taste along with the whiskey. The cocktail was paired with a Grilled Lamb chops. The pairing was fantastic. The lamb was grilled well and complimented the smoky flavor of the whiskey.

Double Black and Berry

Grilled Lamb

The last cocktail to follow was the Double Black Maple Masala Old Fashioned. This was the one that really made everyone stand up. Homemade Garam masala Maple Syrup, Angostura and Double Black! Zibi passed around the masala infused maple syrup and the smell was like a spice market in a bottle. This was aptly paired with a Galouti Kabab. The rose essence in the galouti along with the garam masala in the cocktail was a marriage meant to last.

 Double Black Maple Masala Old Fashioned

Galouti Kabab

He also passed a round of Double Black and water just so that we can try an recall all the flavors and palate and finish. The taste was definitely intense. It was peaty and darker and definitely spicier than the Black Label. To end the pairing a round of German Chocolate cake was paired with this. The rich chocolate and intense whiskey complimented well with each other.

German Chocolate Cake

The dinner was light. I had scallops grilled to perfection along with some cheese. The food that evening was perfectly curated to compliment the whiskey without overpowering  any of it's flavors.

The evening was packed with lots of information on tasting whiskey, the process of making and blending, busting a few myths, fun trivia, perfectly paired food and great company.

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