Whisky Magazine Issue 14
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Gary Regan is currently in hog heaven. Critics believe that he desecrated 'precious malt whisky' live on American television, but malt whisky cocktails aren't quite as strange as you may think
It was a cold winter's night some seven years ago when I got the call. I had gone to bed that evening envisaging a good night's sleep only to be woken by the shrill tones of the telephone. It was the producer from the Television Food Network (TVFN) who frantically explained that a guest due to appear on their Food, News, and Views show had failed to show up. Could I step into the breach, think of something to talk about and be there in, say, 11 minutes? What sticks in my mind most about these moments of blind panic is that I noticed that six inches of snow had accumulated while I slept (or napped in this case).
After arriving at the studio in my car-cum-bobsleigh, I planned to give a basic run-down on the attributes of Highland, Lowland, Islay and Campbeltown bottlings. Nothing earth shattering about that but the producer wasn't satisfied, so he asked if I could possibly think of a more outrageous topic. “Sure, I'll make some single malt cocktails on air,” I said.
I was the butt of many a joke for a few weeks after I desecrated those precious malts, and more than a few eyebrows were raised at various social functions when the topic was discussed. “Single malt cocktails, indeed!” said one luminary of the food world, rolling her eyes as she brushed by me. I was in hog heaven.
Not everybody hated the idea of my using precious malts in mixed drinks, though. Shortly after my appearance on TVFN I bumped into Willie Phillips, then distillery manager at The Macallan Dist...