My sophisticated drink of choice during college in California was a Gin and Tonic. Spring, summer, fall and winter. Always a G & T. Sometimes I would remember to call my gin of choice, usually Bombay. On Christmas Eve, 1981 my drinking life changed. I had been invited to join a friend for Christmas in New York. Her mother lived in Manhattan, her father in White Plains. It was in White Plains that my brown liquor epiphany occurred. We were about to open Christmas presents when Mr. O asked what I would like to drink. Being the sophisticate I was I promptly replied “Gin and Tonic!” A perfect host is never flustered. And Mr. O was a perfect host. “Well….I know we have gin but I’m not sure about the tonic. And I am sure we don’t have any limes”. He called out to Mrs. O who was in the kitchen “Do we have any tonic?” For the next ten minutes my gracious hosts scoured their cupboards for tonic. I wasn’t sure what the fuss was about. And then I realized that the ‘no limes’ was a hint. G & T was a cool summer drink. I was in a place that had real seasons. Could this have been my first encounter with ‘seasonality’? Sensing the fuss that I had caused and wanting to remain a good guest I said ‘Why don’t I have what you are having?”. Two things happened. The first was that I was about to drink my first Johnnie Walker Red and the other is that I was about to drink with someone who really enjoyed drinking their Johnnie Walker Red. Mr. O poured me the strongest drink I had ever had. And kept pouring as the evening continued. To this day I am not sure how I made it to midnight mass without passing out. A true Christmas miracle.
As the years have gone on there have been other brown liquors in my life. But lately, I have settled on the smoky, peaty whiskies of Scotland. Especially Laphroiag. When the invitation for WHISKYFEST arrived I was happy to see that there was going to be a ‘Chocolate and Scotch’ pairing event – featuring Laphroaig and Scharffen Berger Chocolate*.
The tasting was led by the charming Simon Brooking, Global Brand Ambassador for The Dalmore and LAPHROAIG and Ray Major, Master Chocolate Maker (stepping in for John Scharffenberger) for SCHARFFEN BERGER CHOCOLATE.
Here are the pairings they presented “'WHERE THE FOOD OF THE GODS' MEETS 'THE WATER OF LIFE'”…
-THE DALMORE CIGAR MALT PAIRED WITH 82% CACAO EXTRA DARK CHOCOLATE*
- THE DALMORE 12-YEAR OLD WITH 70% CACAO BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE
- LAPHROAIG QUARTER CASK WITH 62% CACAO SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE
- LAPHROAIG 10-YEAR OLD WITH 41% CACAO EXTRA RICH MILK CHOCOLATE
- LAPHROAIG 30-YEAR OLD WITH ANTILLES CHOCOLATE (LIMITED EDITION)