Between the ‘Back to School’ ads and just before the Easter Eggs , there is one of my LEAST favourite “commercial” days – Valentine’s Day. The price of flowers goes up, the price of chocolates and champagne goes up and the shops are filled with red and pink hearts and soppy messages. There is so much pressure! With all this commercial pressure, it feels like we loose the important point of just having fun. And Valentine’s Day should be fun! A day that you enjoy with friends or with your significant other. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. What a perfect excuse to invite some friends over for a lunch and serve fun cocktails. To make it easy, I have tested out a few fun cocktails that are straightforward to make and will amaze your friends or significant other. Have fun on Valentine’s Day. Life is to short for anything else!
The annual event of Ardbeg Day is great with much fanfare and whisky drinking. When possible, we visit Dullstroom for this event. During our 2014 visit, John managed to taste the Auriverdes, but we have not had a formal “Whisky of the Week” tasting for this release. When this dram for came up for tasting, we decided to invite a whisky friend around. Paul (pswhisky) joined us this past Friday to share in the exploration of this limited release Ardbeg. Auriverdes was launched for Ardbeg Day 2014. The name Auriverdes has Portuguese connections and loosely translates as Auri (to shine like gold ) verdes (Green). It refers to the golden whisky and the iconic Ardbeg green bottle.
The Knockdhu distillery is a whisky distillery in the scenic village of Knock in Aberdeenshire in the Scottish Highlands. Together with Old Pulteney and Balblair, anCnoc is owned by Inver House Distillers Limited. They in turn are a subsidiary of the Thai Beverage Company. John Morrison purchased the Knock Estate in 1892. He saw that the surrounding land was ideal for the growth of barley and had an abundance of peat. It was also helpful that the Great North Railway line ran nearby. Shortly after he bought the Estate, he uncovered a spring on Knock Hill’s southern slopes. He discovered that the water had a wonderful flavour and sent it to a Laboratory owned by Distiller’s Company Limited in Edinburgh for evaluation.
After a relaxing holiday, 2016 started with new opportunities. And a chance to try out more whisky and cheese pairings. During December 2015, Checkers brought out a new cheese brochure, which I read from end to end. It had all kinds of amazing cheese ideas and I kept it for further inspiration. The front page had a picture of the cutest little Ile de France Brie cheeses. You might say that Brie cheese should not be described as cute, but when you see these little delicate Ile de France morsels, you would agree.
I can’t even remember where we got this bottle. It has been in our cupboard for ages. I think John picked it up in Dubai, when he was traveling to India. It is such a beautiful bottle. The rectangle shape with the gold embossing and the XR raised on the glass. Different than the regular square shaped bottle A perfect bottle to use as a decanter when it is empty. John “Johnnie” Walker began selling whisky from his grocery shop in Ayrshire, Scotland. After his death in 1857, Alexander Walker inherited the company. Alexander, with his son Alexander Walker II, began marketing Walker’s Old Highland. They also introduced the now iconic square bottle in 1860. This meant more bottles fitting the same space and fewer broken bottles.