BY BETH KAISERMAN
Whiskey enthusiast Spike McClure worked closely with the brasserie’s chef to create the menu. McClure hosted the meal and instructed us to take a bite of each dish, swallow it, and then sip the designated scotch. McClure said it was acceptable for guests to water down their whiskey if they wanted to.
Single malts are the most individualistic of all Scotch whiskeys; each is produced at a single distillery, rather than being blended with whiskeys from other distilleries.
The meal began with an amuse bouche of boiled country ham cooked with hay and jumbo asparagus. The hay complemented the herbal notes of the light gold Glenkinchie, a 12-year malt from the Lowlands of Scotland.
Next came my favorite whiskey of the evening, Cragganmore Distillers Edition 18-year from Speyside, the epicenter of Scotland’s distilleries. Paired alongside roasted quail with grapes and white wine sauce, this amber-colored scotch tasted of prunes, raisins and fruit juice, with a toffee finish. With a cool spring breeze flowing in the restaurant’s door, sipping this whiskey was simply lovely and relaxing. This is light and mellow enough for the warmer months ahead.
My favorite dish of the evening was the second course: roasted halibut, onion rings and kale. The fish was cooked perfectly, and the kale was bursting with onion flavor. This was paired with Oban Distillers Edition 16-year from the Western Highlands. This salty single malt paired well with the salt from the onion rings and fish.
The third course was beef tenderloin, blue cheese, and English peas paired with the oaky Lagavulin Distillers Edition 17-year from Islay, which McClure called a good “special occasion” whiskey.
Finally came what McClure called the “most interesting” of the pairings. Talisker Distillers Edition 12-year from Skye offered a maple-glazed bacon taste, paired with a chocolate, chestnut and coffee ice cream sundae. It was certainly the most surprising pairing of the evening, aligning with the popular match-up of chocolate and bacon in the pastry industry the past couple years.